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It wasn’t pretty, but win over Seahawks is important for Rams

The Rams' Aaron Donald sacks Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter.
The Rams’ Aaron Donald sacks Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter. The Rams have held Seattle to 20 or fewer points in six consecutive games.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

It probably was too much to ask for high artistry.

The Rams endured a week that featured nearly 30 players going onto and coming off the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, ravaging their roster and forcing the league to push their game against the Seattle Seahawks to Tuesday night.

So, it wasn’t exactly a smooth operation at SoFi Stadium.

But for one moment, the Rams were perfect.

Matthew Stafford’s magnificent 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Cooper Kupp early in the fourth quarter was the key play in the Rams’ 20-10 victory before a crowd of 71,565.

On a record-setting night for Kupp, Stafford connected with him for two touchdowns and the defense neutralized Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in a victory that improved the Rams to 10-4 and moved them into a first-place tie with the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West.

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“This was a heavy week of navigating through all the things that we went through,” coach Sean McVay said. “This was a big-time win.”

Cooper Kupp is having a record-breaking season, and the Rams wide receiver’s big game against the Seahawks proves he’s truly a top-level athlete.

The Rams don’t have much time to rest.

They play the Vikings on Sunday in Minnesota and then finish the season with a trip to play the Baltimore Ravens and a home finale against the San Francisco 49ers.

But the Rams were savoring their second win of the season over the Seahawks (5-9), especially after the trials and tribulations of the last two weeks.

The Rams’ coronavirus outbreak began in the days leading up to last week’s “Monday Night Football” matchup against Arizona. Five players were put on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and tight end Tyler Higbee only hours before their victory over the Cardinals.

That was only the beginning of an onslaught that affected players, coaches and staff.

“There were some times during the week, for sure, where it was just every day felt like half our team was getting added to the list,” Stafford said.

Rams receiver Cooper Kupp makes a catch in front of Seahawks cornerback Sidney Jones in the third quarter.
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp makes a catch in front of Seahawks cornerback Sidney Jones in the third quarter. He made nine catches and set a team record for most in a season with 122.
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

Ramsey, running back Darrell Henderson and star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. returned to the roster in the days leading up to the game, and star outside linebacker Von Miller got word Tuesday morning.

Higbee, right tackle Rob Havenstein and safety Jordan Fuller were still on the list Tuesday.

Fortunately for the Rams, Stafford and Kupp stayed out of harm’s way.

Stafford completed 21 of 29 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He has passed for 35 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp spearheaded a second-half offensive surge to led the Rams to a 20-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday.

Kupp, who was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time, caught nine passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. His 122 catches are the most in a season in Rams history, breaking Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce’s record of 119 in 1995.

The Rams also got a solid performance from running back Sony Michel, who rushed for 92 yards in 18 carries and also had a 24-yard reception.

But the offense appeared affected by the lack of practice time caused by the outbreak.

McVay said that defensive coordinator Raheem Morris jokingly compared it to the Lakers having a couple of shoot-arounds and then rolling out the balls and playing a game.

The lack of practice time seemed to affect the offense, which consistently stalled in Seahawks territory before Stafford connected with Kupp for a six-yard touchdown in the third quarter that tied the score 10-10.

Breaking down the notable numbers behind the Rams’ 20-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks at SoFi Stadium on Tuesday — scoring and statistics.

That was a precursor for the play of the game in the fourth quarter.

The Rams kept a drive going with three consecutive plays that featured noteworthy second efforts. Henderson ran the ball and carried a pile of would-be tacklers to gain a first down. Van Jefferson did the same on a reverse. And Kupp did it again after a short catch to move the ball to the Seahawks’ 29-yard line.

That set up the play of the game.

“Sean got guys into a great play call,” Kupp said.

“Damn right,” McVay said.

Stafford dropped back and fired a perfectly thrown pass, threading it between defensive players and into Kupp’s hands on a crossing route. Kupp kept running into the end zone.

“Matthew’s a really good football player,” Kupp said. “That’s my analysis of that play.”

And Stafford’s?

“A whole lot of trust,” the quarterback said.

The Rams also relied heavily on a defense led by Ramsey, lineman Aaron Donald, and outside linebackers Leonard Floyd and Miller.

Ramsey broke up several passes, and Donald, Floyd and Miller each sacked Wilson. It was Miller’s first sack for the Rams.

“It’s been a crazy week,” Miller said, adding, “unprecedented times.”

Safety Taylor Rapp preserved the victory when he intercepted a pass in the end zone with less than a minute left.

“We’re trending in the right direction,” Ramsey said.

Now they turn their attention to the Vikings.

McVay said he was physically and emotionally exhausted but ready to get back to work.

After losing all three of their games in November, the Rams have won three games in a row.

“Every single week represents a chapter in the book — and these guys are writing a special book right now,” McVay said. “I think some of the adversity that we experienced in the month of November makes these moments that much sweeter.”


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