INGLEWOOD—In one of the most productive games of his career, Geno Smith needed one more big drive, and in one of his best moments yet as the Seahawks' quarterback, Smith led a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by a DK Metcalf touchdown reception, Smith's third touchdown pass of the day, to give the Seahawks a 27-23 victory over the Rams at SoFi Stadium.
A few minutes later, the Rams' final desperation throw in the final second was intercepted by Cody Barton, allowing the Seahawks to celebrate a victory that ended a two-game losing streak and improved their record to 7-5.
Here are six rapid reactions to Sunday's win over the Rams:
1. Geno Smith, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf came up huge to lead the Seahawks to a win.
If there was anything left for Geno Smith to prove in this remarkable season, it was to show he could lead a game-winning drive in the final minutes of a game. Smith got that chance after the Rams took the lead with just under 3 minutes to play in the game, and he and the offense came through in the clutch, marching 75 yards in 10 plays for the game-winning touchdown.
As he was all day on the way to passing for a career-high 367 passing yards, Smith was dialed in on the final drive, completing 6 of 9 passes for 65 yards, including a strike to DK Metcalf in the back of the end zone for a 8-yard touchdown that put the Seahawks on top for good.
And on a day when the Seahawks were beat up at running back, Metcalf and Tyler Lockett helped carry the offensive load, putting up nearly identical stat lines Lockett caught nine passes for 128 yards and a touchdown, giving him a touchdown catch in five straight games, tying a franchise record. Metcalf, meanwhile, caught eight passes for 127 yards, including the game winner with Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey all over his back.
2. The run defense still has work to do, but the pass rush was much better.
After giving up 161 rushing yards in a loss to Tampa Bay, then allowing 283 against the Raiders, the Seahawks defense was hoping to clean up their run defense starting with Sunday's game. And while the defense did do some things better in this game, including a more productive pass rush than they've had in the past two games, the run defense still gave up too many yards and big gains, with the Rams rushing for 171 yards and two touchdown, led by Cam Akers' 60 yards and two scores on 17 carries.
As for the pass rush, with Uchenna Nwosu leading the way with a pair of sacks, the Seahawks recorded four sacks and nine quarterback hits, a big improvement after getting just one sack in the past two games.
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3. Tariq Woolen just keeps making plays.
Teams having been testing Seahawks rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen very often in recent games, but the ball did come his way on a few occasions Sunday, Woolen once again took advantage.
In the second half, with the Rams driving, quarterback John Wolford tried to throw the ball across the field after rolling to his right, but Woolen was all over the misdirection, leaping to secure his sixth interception of the season, setting a franchise rookie record previously held by Earl Thomas and Michael Boulware.
Later in the game, Woolen made what made have been an even better play to break up a pass. Rams receiver Tutu Atwell initially got past Woolen and looked to be open deep, but by the time Wolford's pass arrived, Woolen's combination of speed and length allowed him to recover, leap and swat the ball away.
Woolen also added a pass breakup on the Rams' final possession to help protect the lead.
4. Uchenna Nwosu made the most of a trip back home.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Uchenna Nwosu played his college football at USC and then was drafted by the Chargers, so before signing with the Seahawks in free agency, Nwosu had called L.A. home for his entire life. So maybe it shouldn't come as a surprise that Nwosu, who has played at a Pro-Bowl level all season, had one of his best games yet while back at SoFi Stadium.
Nwosu's day included a pair of sacks, one of which also forced a fumble, though the Rams recovered, and the other of which ended a Rams drive in the red zone, forcing them to settle for a field goal. Nwosu also made a great play to chase down Wolford on a third-down scramble, forcing a Rams punt.
5. Seattle's running back depth was tested, and Tony Jones Jr. and a hobbled DeeJay Dallas stepped up.
The Seahawks came into the game with Travis Homer unavailable, then lost Kenneth Walker III to a second-quarter ankle injury. To make matters even worse, DeeJay Dallas injured his ankle on the final play of the first half, leaving Tony Jones Jr. as Seattle's only healthy back.
Dallas gutted it out and came back in the game despite being announced as doubtful to return, while Jones saw his first playing time on offense as a Seahawk. Neither put up big numbers in the second half, but both contributed enough to keep the offense going with the Seahawks down multiple running backs, including their starter.
6. Bobby Wagner had a big game against his former team.
During the week, Bobby Wagner downplayed the significance of facing his former team, but the longtime Seahawks great was incredibly fired up throughout the game, and he made a number of big plays for the Rams defense, recording two sacks, eight tackles, three tackles for loss and an interception.
Check out some of the best action shots from Week 13 at the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on December 4, 2022. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.