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Seahawks survive Rams, take NFC West lead heading into bye week

LOS ANGELES – As has become their custom, the Seattle Seahawks will get to savor their bye week.

It sure didn’t come easy though.

The Seahawks scrapped out a 16-10 victory over the Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum, improving to 3-2, taking over the lead in the NFC West and winning the game leading into their bye week for the seventh consecutive season. The Seahawks and Rams are both 3-2, but the Seahawks would hold the tiebreaker in the division thanks to the head-to-head win.

It wasn’t pretty, but Seattle’s defense forced a whopping five turnovers to outweigh a troubling trend of allowing the Rams to convert long third downs and the offense’s difficulty putting points on the board.

Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, whom the Seahawks traded for just before the season, had a monster day, recovering a huge fumble late in the fourth quarter and picking up his first career interception. So, too, did Earl Thomas, who forced a critical fumble in the end zone in the first quarter and came up with a massively important interception of his own in the fourth.

“These guys have been playing good football for a long time, and I think it’s just another statement that they will not relent,” Seahawks coach Carroll said of the defense.

Seattle’s offense got in gear for just long enough in the second quarter, as Wilson led a 15-yard play, 75-yard driver that was capped by something Seahawks fans have been holding their breath for all season – a Jimmy Graham touchdown reception in the red zone.

“The drive before half was crazy – the touchdown drive,” Carroll said. “Russell was just all over the place to make that happen.”

The Hawks then pulled even at halftime, 10-10, with a nine-play drive that took 1:28 and ended with a 48-yard Blair Walsh field goal as time expired in the second quarter.

That the Seahawks were still in it at that point was thanks in large part to the fact they got an early break – or, more to the point, Thomas earned them an early break.

Todd Gurley rumbled to the end zone for what the referees initially ruled a touchdown run, but after a lengthy review it was determined Thomas has knocked the ball out, and it went into and out of the end zone to give the Seahawks a touchback with 9:20 left in the first quarter.

Not so fortunate, however, was a trick play gone badly awry three series later. Wilson flipped the ball out to Tanner McEvoy, who attempted to hit a streaking J.D. McKissic downfield. The play took to long to develop though, and Cody David intercepted it to set up a 79-yard drive that ended with a Rams touchdown, the first score of the game.

Russell Wilson had a perfectly average day, completing 24-of-37 passes for 198 yards, a touchdown and an interception while getting sacked three times.

The Seahawks again failed to get much of a running game going. Thomas Rawls had the most yards on the ground with 20 yards on eight carries, while Eddie Lacy had one more carry with nine and one fewer yard with 19.

Graham was Seattle’s leading receiver with six catches for 37 yards, while Doug Baldwin had four catches for 37 yards.

Seattle will return from the bye week with a game in New York against the Giants (0-5) on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1:25 p.m.