Rams vs. Seahawks matchups: Matthew Stafford looks to bounce back
Breaking down how the Rams (3-1) and the Seattle Seahawks (2-2) match up heading into their game at 5:20 p.m. Pacific time Thursday in Seattle. The game will be carried on Fox (Channel 11).
When the Rams have the ball: The Rams and quarterback Matthew Stafford are looking to bounce back after scoring only one touchdown before the outcome was all but decided in a 37-20 defeat at home to the Arizona Cardinals in an NFC West game. Stafford has passed for 11 touchdowns, with two interceptions. Receiver Cooper Kupp remains Stafford’s favorite target. Kupp has 30 catches on 46 targets. Receiver Robert Woods has 15 receptions on 25 targets. Tight end Tyler Higbee also has 15 catches. Running back Darrell Henderson returned from a rib injury that sidelined him for one game and rushed for 89 yards in 14 carries against the Cardinals. He appeared on his way to more until coach Sean McVay abandoned the running game. Henderson could play a more prominent role against a Seahawks defense that is giving up a league-worst 152 yards rushing per game. Perennial All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner is a cornerstone for a unit that also features safety Jamal Adams, the NFL’s highest-paid player at his position. Defensive end Darrell Taylor has three sacks. The Seahawks have recovered three fumbles but this is not a typical Pete Carroll defense causing multiple turnovers. Safety Quandre Diggs has the Seahawks’ only interception.
When the Seahawks have the ball: Former Rams assistant Shane Waldron is in his first season as offensive coordinator and play-caller for a team that features quarterback Russell Wilson. The 10th-year pro has passed for nine touchdowns without an interception. Wilson most often looks for receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, both of whom are capable of big plays. Metcalf and Lockett each have 20 catches and have scored three touchdowns. Running back Chris Carson is the leading rusher, but Carson is listed as questionable because of a neck injury. If Carson does not play, Alex Collins could have a larger role. Former Rams tight end Gerald Everett has eight catches, one for a touchdown, but his status is uncertain after sitting out a victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday because he was on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Tight end Will Dissly has six catches. Rams lineman Aaron Donald has 13 of his 87½ sacks against the Seahawks. He also sacked Wilson twice in an NFC wild-card playoff victory last season. Edge rusher Leonard Floyd sacked Wilson five times in two regular-season games in 2020 and twice in the playoff victory. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey is expected to match up against Metcalf, and Darious Williams could focus on Lockett.
When they kick: Matt Gay made eight consecutive field-goal attempts for the Rams before missing wide right on a 46-yard attempt against the Cardinals. Washington native Johnny Hekker has placed four punts inside the 20-yard line in the last two games. Jason Myers has made two of three field-goal attempts for the Seahawks. Michael Dickson averages 47 yards per punt.
Gary Klein’s prediction: It will be noisy at Lumen Field, but most Rams players are accustomed to playing in the environment. Matthew Stafford will rebound with a solid performance and lead the Rams to victory.
RAMS 27, SEAHAWKS 20
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