SEATTLE - As the kick sailed just wide of the right upright, pandemonium broke out on the turf and in the stands at CenturyLink Field.
On a wild, back-and-forth night of football, the Seahawks barely hung on for a 30-29 victory over the Rams when Los Angeles kicker Greg Zuerlein barely missed a game-winning attempt from 44 yards out.
The game featured wild momentum swings, big plays by both offenses, two crucial turnovers forced by Seattle's defense, and an incredibly tense fourth quarter. With the win, the Seahawks improved to 4-1 and gained a game in the standings on the defending NFC West champs, who fell to 3-2.
Here are six rapid reactions to a big Seahawks victory:
1. Russell Wilson just put his name into the MVP conversation on national TV.
If Russell Wilson wasn't already in the mix of way-too-early MVP favorites, he is now.
Wilson was already off to the best start of his career through four games, but on a prime-time stage Thursday night, Wilson had his best game yet in an impressive 2019 campaign. Wilson completed 17 of 23 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns, giving him a 151.8 passer rating, and those numbers, as good as they are, don't begin to illustrate just how well he played.
Wilson made things happen with his legs throughout the night, extending plays such as his 13-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett (more on this in a second), and several other long gains. He threw some perfect deep balls, including a 40-yard touchdown to DK Metcalf and an impossibly accurate throw to tight end Will Dissly for a 25-yard gain, and he also added 32 rushing yards.
Through four games, Wilson now has 12 touchdown passes with no interceptions, and if the Seahawks keep winning, he's going to be in the MVP conversation going forward after Thursday's performance.
2. Wilson to Lockett was about as good of a touchdown as you'll ever see.
Yes, we just went over how good Wilson was on Thursday, but Wilson's first-quarter touchdown pass to Lockett was so absurd it needs its own separate item. As Wilson did with success throughout the game—and really, as he has done his entire career—the quarterback scrambled to buy extra time with his team in the red zone late in the first quarter, and as he rolled left, he let go of a pass that initially looked to be a throwaway. But then as the ball came down in the back corner of the end zone, Lockett appeared, dragged both toes and somehow secured the touchdown grab. It was such a great throw and catch, it's hard to say which was better.
In fact, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, that was the most improbable completion in the NFL over the past two seasons, with only a 6.3 percent chance of being completed, and with Lockett only 0.2 yards from the sideline and 1.1 yards from the back of the end zone when the ball arrived.
3. It was a mixed day for the defense.
There were times in Thursday's game when it seemed like the Rams offense was unstoppable, with Jared Goff finding his receivers for big gains, including completions of 20 or more yards to four different pass catchers. But at other times Seattle's defense stepped up and made big stops, starting with the first time it was on the field when it got a quick stop to hold the Rams to a field goal after a turnover, as well as late in the game when the defense held in the red zone to limit the Rams to a field goal when they were looking to take a two-score lead. The Seahawks also forced three three-and-outs, got two turnovers and hit Goff five times, but again, the Rams made enough big plays to move the ball and score 29 points while gaining 477 yards.
So yeah, the Rams got a lot of yards and 29 points, but then again…
4. Holy cow, Tedric Thompson caught that!
When the Rams got the ball back down one point with 2:28 left, Seattle's defense needed one more stop, and did enough to put the Rams in third-and-long before Tedric Thompson came up with the play of the night, non-Wilson-to-Lockett division. Goff looked to hit tight end Gerald Everett to keep the drive moving, but the ball bounced off of Everett's hands, and Thompson dove, somehow got one hand under the ball just before it hit the turf, then secured the interception as it came back down. It was initially ruled an incomplete pass, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll challenged and the call was overturned.
It was quite a way for Thompson to record his first interception of 2019, to say the least.
5. Chris Carson had a second straight big game.
Chris Carson responded to a rough start to his season with a big performance in last week's win at Arizona, and Seattle's running back backed it up with another big game Thursday. Carson rushed for a hard-fought 118 yards on 27 carries, and also had what ended up being the game-winning touchdown catch, though he gave half of Seattle a shock in the process, juggling the ball while wide open in the end zone before securing the touchdown grab.
6. Thursday was a night to remember before the game started.
While the game itself provided plenty of big moments, none were bigger than what took place about half an hour before kickoff when Paul G. Allen was inducted into the Seahawks Ring of Honor. The ceremony, which was emceed by Seahawks radio play-by-play man and former receiver Steve Raible, was attended by the 11 previous Ring of Honor inductees or by people representing them—family members, or in the case of the late Cortez Kennedy, his former teammate and friend Dave Wyman.
A touching video tribute, narrated by former Seahawks fullback Mack Strong, was shown on CenturyLink Field video boards, highlighting the late Seahawks chairman's many contributions to the region, not the least of which was stepping up to purchase the team in 1997 and save it from relocation to California. A few minutes later, Allen's sister, Seahawks Chair Jody Allen, raised the 12 Flag just before kickoff.
Seahawks Chair Jody Allen raised the 12 flag prior to Seattle's Week 5 game against the Los Angeles Rams. Jody's brother, former Seahawks owner Paul G. Allen, was inducted to the team's Ring of Honor before kickoff at CenturyLink Field.