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What The Rams Said Following Their 30-20 Win Over The Seahawks In The Wild Card Round

Transcripts, interviews and press conferences from Seattle's Wild Card game vs. Los Angeles.


Opening statement:

"The thought process going into the game was our starting quarterback had thumb surgery. He did everything in his power to get himself ready. We felt like him being ready, even in a limited capacity behind John [Wolford] was going to be the best option. He handled himself incredibly well, showed great leadership during throughout the course of the week. We felt like John [Wolford] was really getting ready to get into a rhythm, and then Jared stepped in and handled things incredibly well. You could see that he just battled. But I was really pleased with his effort. This is a guy you're talking about who just had thumb surgery a couple of weeks ago so it's like déjà vu but I feel just a little bit happier right now. A real credit to him. I thought overall the defense showed up in a big way, had some big time special teams plays. Offensively, I love the way we were able to run the ball. It was great to get Andrew Whitworth and [Cooper] Kupp back out on the field. Cam Akers is a stud. We're excited about really competing to see who we play next and see if we can keep this thing rolling. We'll enjoy this. A lot of respect for the Seahawks too. Coach Carroll, I have tremendous respect for the consistency at which they operate. A lot of their players, they're a tough team. It's why they're the reigning division champs. We're excited about our opportunity to move on to the divisional round."

On John Wolford's status:

"He must be good because he was in the locker room smiling, looking good. I think it was really just a stinger. But we're hopeful. He definitely seemed good. He was just in the locker room so nothing too serious. We wanted to be as cautious as we could with something like that when you injure your neck. It looks like it's trending in the positive direction. I'll have further updates for you tomorrow or the following day, whenever we meet again."

On the hit that took John Wolford out of the game:

"I didn't see it, I was on the far side. What ends up happening is when he's out there as a runner and he's diving forward, you lose that protection that quarterbacks typically have. But I didn't see it, I'd have to go back and look at the film to be able to give you a better answer."

On an update on Aaron Donald:

"No update there. I will have more information for you later on."

On Jared Goff's performance:

"I think it says a lot about him. I think it says a lot about his ability to prepare himself mentally to be ready to go. [Offensive Coordinator] Kevin O'Connell and [Assistant Quarterbacks Coach] Liam Coen getting him ready. I thought he did a nice job handling things and really I thought our guys made some plays. You look at the down the field isolation where we had [Cooper] Kupp versus Jamal Adams and Cooper went up and got that ball for a big 44-yard gain. And then really as the game progressed, I thought Jared settled in. We were able to kind of identify where are the things that you feel good about play wise for us to activate because for him to be able to even throw the football is pretty impressive. There were a couple of limitations as you guys saw which was what led to the decision to go with John [Wolford]. I was really pleased with Jared and I think it's a real credit to him being able to handle this week the right way and have himself mentally ready to go and there you go, he ends up playing the majority of the game for us."

On if John Wolford is okay, who would start the next game:

"We're working through all this stuff. Jared did a great job today. He's our quarterback. A lot of that is going to be predicated on how does Jared's thumb check out, how does he feel, what are those limitations moving forward. If Jared continues to progress, you feel good about that, but as you guys saw, it's a shame for John to have gotten hurt. I'm really happy, I'm pleased with what Jared did today, but John was getting into a rhythm. I thought he was seeing the field really well. I'm really mad at myself for calling that stupid play that left him susceptible to getting injured."

On what it does for him as a play caller to have a defense that can shut down opposing offenses:

"It's unbelievable. It changes the way you feel like you have to call a game to win games. That's my role as a head coach. It's different than trying to just chunk up stats. It's about winning and losing. It definitely enables you. Make no mistake about it, we're going out to compete, we expect to score points. I'll never use that as an excuse for why we haven't been more productive offensively. But at the end of the day, you do play games to win them and when you get a feel for the flow of the game and the way our defense has played, I've been a tick more conservative than you normally would be in year's past that you guys have seen. But it is about winning. That's what we care about, that's what our players care about and that's why I love those guys so much."

On when he made the decision on the quarterbacks:

"I made it last week. I think it's a real credit to our players. I told the team early in the week. I thought it was the right decision just based on Jared coming back from an injury. He had thumb surgery and there were some limitations with when he was even going to be able to take a snap. As soon as we started our preparation this week, I announced it to the team and I think it's pretty good that it stayed in house. It's a real credit to the kind of guys that we have when there was a lot of people that knew about it and you guys were still wondering what the hell was going on.

On if he's ever had to fight through this many injuries to win a big game before:

"Right now I can't really remember, especially losing so many key players. That was a tough, physical game. That's a tough, physical football team we played. I thought we matched their intensity. I thought our guys did a great job. They were ready to go. Like I said, we have so much respect, but we did come up here expecting to get this thing done and now we move on to the next round."

On how big it was to have a healthy Cam Akers:

"He was huge. I thought Jared [Goff's] best play of the day was on the third down where he stepped up, slide in the pocket and found Cam for the explosive. You see what a great athlete Cam is. He's tough. I thought he was really getting into a rhythm early on in the game. It was big. We were able to control the time of possession, able to just eat up yards a little bit at a time. He's a special player, he's really tough. I love the way Malcolm Brown came in and churned out some tough yards as well."

On having a tough defense in the playoffs and being able to run the ball when you need to:

"I think so. I don't know if that's what it's about in the postseason, but I think that's been the Rams formula for success this year. I think you have to be flexible year in and year out, play to the strengths of your team. We have a really tough, physical football team. I've been really pleased with the way the defense has played and when we're able to run the football, things do come up in those actions where I thought Jared did a great job of maximizing those opportunities, especially later on into the fourth quarter. That was a winning formula for us today and then we'll figure out who we'll play next and try to put it together in all three phases."

On how the defense was able to do so well against Russell Wilson:

"I think it's consistency. We've talked about it week in and week out, when you look at some of the plays Russell made, you have to tip your cap to him and say what an ability to extend plays, what a great job being able to change the platform and make some incredible throws. Our defense has been like that all year. Russell is a great player but we have a great defense and I think we play as 11 as one. I think our coaches do an excellent job. [Defensive Coordinator] Brandon [Staley] and his staff, they've done such a good job of putting together plans week in and week out to put our players in the right spots. The players are the ones who make it come to life. I love this group and I think you can see as the season has gone on, they love to be able to have that pressure of the expectations of living up to what they've done [by] being the top unit in the league. I thought they answered the bell in a big way today. Darious Williams' play like I mentioned, Jalen [Ramsey] continues to show why he's so special, John Johnson, obviously Aaron [Donald] is Aaron and Leonard Floyd, so many guys I could name. I think the depth of the unit as well is where the strength is. How exciting is it to see Nick Scott come over the top and bat a ball down on a play intended for [Tyler] Lockett down the field where Troy Hill is in tight coverage. I'm excited."

On the status of Blake Bortles:

"We just went with two quarterbacks. The good news is that Blake has played in a lot of significant games. If Jared's thumb was not able to respond the way that it did this week, he would've been our number two. But it's been great having Blake around. His presence, his experience and really just being around him, he's one of those guys that's hard not to like. That was just a coach's decision just having two quarterbacks up."

On how his thumb felt and how the team was able to gut through this win:

"I guess I'll get this out of the way first. My thumb is fine. And I'm not going to use it as an excuse for anything that didn't go my way today on any throw or anything. My thumb is fine. It's coming along. It's not 100% because it had surgery 10 days ago or 12 days ago or whatever, but it's in a good place. I'm very capable with what I have going on right now. From that, yeah I'm very proud of our team. It's an exciting game, it's an exciting day. Any time you get a playoff win, any time you get to come to Seattle and beat these guys in the playoffs. I think about two weeks ago, I'm sitting right here in this chair and I have a broken thumb lying to you guys. Coming back here and winning this game in a big way is meaningful. We saw everything. We saw the way that they celebrated, we saw what they did. Like Aaron [Donald] said, we wanted this one."

On what the management on this thumb will be like to reduce pain or swelling:

"There's no pain to be honest. There's no pain. It's got screws in it and it's a little bit swollen but the pain is not the issue."

On what it was like for him when he found out John Wolford would be the starter:

"It was tough. As a competitor, of course I wanted to be out there and I wanted to play. I felt like I could make a difference. It was tough. It was some long conversations that we had, but ultimately I respect [Sean McVay's] decision. He's the coach, he had to make a decision that he needed to make early in the week to get out in front of some stuff. I get it. But as a competitor, of course I wanted to play and I was ready to play."

On what it was like to see John Wolford get hurt and have to jump in the game:

"It's never what you hope for. I think John's a good friend of mine at this point and I thought he was doing some good things out there. [He] took a shot there and had to come out. But like I said, I was ready to go and I think my whole mindset throughout the week was to stay ready. You never know what can happen. I've played in big games before, I've played in playoff games before and have that experience so I tried to draw on some of that with the lack of reps and just trust myself."

On how satisfying it was to win after overcoming many injuries:

"Extremely satisfying. I think guys like [Andrew Whitworth], [Cooper Kupp], Aaron [Donald] fighting through some stuff. Like I said, I was ready to go and fighting through some things in my own way. It was very satisfying. I think again I'll talk about two weeks ago being up here and losing this game in a bad way, them clinching the division against us and having that sour taste in your mouth. The next day I have surgery and I'm sitting here 12 days later winning a playoff game against the same team. It feels good."

On what it's like to have a defense that can regularly put points on the board:

"It's amazing, it really is. I've never played with a defense of this caliber. It's exciting. It makes what we do on offense, I don't want to say easier, but it gives us a lot more opportunities I believe. When Darious [Williams] is able to take a pick six, it's amazing. What they've been doing this year is amazing. We've been able to rely on them in some spots. I'm sure at some point they're going to have to rely on us. But we're playing some good ball right now on defense. It's really exciting to see."

On changing QB's with injuries and how that conversation goes in the offense:

"I think it was just an excellent job by everybody, coaches and players included. You look at it, two good quarterbacks that we have and kind of different styles. I think with us having a chance to have John Wolford in there was probably a little bit different plan than Jared (Goff) playing obviously with him coming back from his thumb, unsure how that's going to affect him. So, you're feeling good, it kind of felt like we got some stuff going, feeling pretty confident and then something happens like that and you have to imagine for a play-caller it's all of a sudden you're switching from really one style to another. And you're not entirely sure what we have there with the ability of Jared's thumb to be heeled that fast. I think it was one of those things that we knew up front it was going to take a great rushing day, be able to move the football on the ground and find explosives when we could."

On how he felt playing today:

"It's one of those things, I knew today was going to be about being a warrior. Obviously, teared my MCL and my PCL only eight weeks ago. I knew this was going to be rare territory and going to take a heck of an effort to get through the game and that was really the problem that you can't simulate. You go through the week and you can feel good doing things, but there's no way to know can I make it through a three and a half hour game and how to simulate anything similar to that. I knew it was going to take some grit and some determination to do that."

On Cam Akers and how his play fueled himself and the offensive line today:

"I think anytime you see in this league that you can run the football in playoffs, playoff football is about more than all of the fantasy things that you see in the regular season, it's going to be about imposing your will on each other. You'll see in playoff football all of a sudden one team will show up and it's like, 'man, they seem like a force out there.' You're going to need plays like that, where you see guys saying 'hey, it doesn't have to be perfectly blocked, I don't have to be out in the clear, but I can go fight for tough yards and turn a two or three or four yard game into something that's eight, ten, eleven, twelve.' Those will make the difference in a football game, and the more you do that to a team, the more it demoralizes them. I think that is something he is definitely capable of and definitely up front something we can do more of, if we continue to play with that kind of attitude."

On if he sensed Goff building confidence and comfort in the second half:

"I think it is important for him to build some confidence back there and get himself going again. When you've been out a little bit, it's the same kind of thing. I know for me, getting out there and having a chance to run the football well and feel confident doing that, have a couple pass sets that for me and my standard could be better. Although they weren't bad they could be better. Especially with my situation, I can imagine for him with his thumb, gripping a football and trying to spin it, it's one of those things where you might feel good, but it's like neurologically just get yourself to trust it and fire it and have the faith to pull the trigger, how fast that has to happen. I can imagine it's one of those things that is almost like there's nothing you can do about it, other than just keep going and as you warm up and as you feel better it will get better. For me it's the same thing, just trying to trust my leg and put it back there in places that it's hard to do. You can tell yourself you can do it, but you have to make yourself go through it a couple times to figure it out."

On what they need to do this week to improve in the red zone:

"I think it's been a number of different things. Whether it's been penalties, whether it's been conversions, converting some of those third and shorts, finding a way to just get it into the end zone when you get inside the ten. It's hard to give the regular season answer of 'we're going to learn how to get better, we're going to do these things…' because it's just not true. You watch playoff football, it's about guys making football plays, and guys make special plays down there to win you a game or lose you a game. To me, that's the biggest thing that I've been chirping to our guys and our players on offense, is the bottom line is it's going to come down to who makes the plays. Are you going to make a tough catch? Are you going to make a tough run? Are you going to do something where it's going to be covered, but we still come out on the positive end of it because you found a way to make the play? You watch playoff football, that's what it comes down to. You're not going to outsmart everybody, you're not going to have trick plays that work. For the majority of the time, it's going to come down to who wins those big opps, and we just have to keep focused on when it is time to be big and it's time to make those plays, make them happen. We had a big run down there for a score and one of those kind of opps in this game. It's one of those things that when you need it, you have to go get it."

On how he was able to diagnose the screen play and intercept it for a touchdown:

"I saw it a couple of times, I think we got it last week. With Jalen [Ramsey] being as dominant as he is, they have to try and move [DK] Metcalf around to get him away from Jalen and basically feature him. That's a play that I knew was going to happen. I knew that they were going to try and feature him and get him the ball somehow, let him break tackles. And I just ran and jumped it."

On it being a high risk, high reward play and how he diagnosed when to go for the interception:

"When I film study, I just memorize plays real good. I think that's what helped me. I knew he was going to motion all the way over to one. The guys were tight and the big guy out there, I knew they were going to try and get him the ball and let him work."

On what it means to score five defensive touchdowns this year:

"It's big. Like I always say, it tells you the talent that we have in our locker room. Everybody can make plays. Every single body. From the front seven or front however many to the back seven, everybody can make plays. So I think that's huge. Especially when you have an offense, I mean, our offense is good. Don't get me wrong. They've been balling. But when you have a defense that can go out there and score, it just gives them all that more confidence."

On what the defensive mindset was going into today with the quarterback situation:

"We always have each other's backs. The defense, we always have our offense's back, our defense, if we're ever struggling, they have our back. I wasn't really worried about the quarterback situation. I know [Jared Goff] has proven himself, he's a hell of a guy. Obviously John [Wolford] had his [opportunities] and he killed his [opportunities]. I don't think I looked past it. I just think our defense always has our offense's back and our offense always has our back."

On if having the starting QB go out early lit a fire for the defense:

"We're going to fight for whoever is under center. We knew they were both prepared to play and it actually happened and went that way, unfortunately John (Wolford) went down. It was a seamless transition, but we were going to fight hard for whoever was playing."

On how the interception changed the early momentum for them:

"It's a momentum game. Anytime you score on defense it's a huge boost, not just in the scoring column but just for the moral on the sideline. A turnover period is big, but getting in the end zone is even bigger. Tip my hat off to Darious (Williams), he's been playing pretty well all year long."

On if seeing a player on offense like Akers play hard helps get the defense motivated:

"For a young guy, a rookie to come in and just do his thing is unreal. I tip my hat off to him, tip my hat off to Coach Brown for getting all the running backs ready. If you can run the ball in these playoffs it can help the defense get rest and help you win games, so you got to keep that rushing attack going."

On the defense carrying this team this season and if they felt like they had to go out on their own and win this game:

"I think we feel like that every game. Regardless of what's going on on the other side of the ball, we want to come out, be a staple, want to be aggressive, want to limit yards, limit big plays. That's what we've been doing all year, so regardless of what the offense is doing we know we have to hold each other down and just play hard for one another."

On what the defense's attitude was like when Aaron Donald went out:

"You hate to see him go down, but we're just hoping he's okay, ready for next week. It's next man up, obviously it's impossible to replicate what he does, but next man up, hold his own, make sure you get your job done and keep moving forward. Hopefully he's okay."

On how much it pumps him up to see his Head Coach Sean McVay running down the sideline to celebrate a play:

"It's kind of hard for a head coach to keep his composure, but when he gets excited like this it fuels the whole team. That's our leader and he's going to keep leading us. It's big time, especially when he can run! Some coaches in this league couldn't make it up and down the sideline, so we got young, energetic coach who is behind us and setting the tone for us. It's great."

On why they are able to have success repeatedly against this Seattle offense:

"It's familiarity. This is the third time we've played them this year. I can't even count how many times I've personally played against Russell Wilson and this team. If you keep him in the pocket, try to limit him from extending plays, you're going to have success. We've got a secondary that's been lockdown all year, not giving up too many deep balls, that's the recipe to beat this team and that's what we showed today."

On if Seattle was doing much different than they had the previous two times they matched up this season:

"They have an identity. I think they want to run the ball first, period. That's just who they've been even back to Beast Mode. They want to run the ball first. If you knock the run out, Russell (Wilson) tries to get in his bag and be a Houdini, so just keeping him in the pocket, not letting him extend plays. You know the receivers are going to get open for him, so we really just try to keep our eyes on our luggage and make plays down the field and limit the explosives. That's been the recipe for as long as I can remember."

The best photos from the Seattle Seahawks' Wild Card game vs. the Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field. Fueled by Nesquik

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