Rams will try to end season by eliminating Seahawks from playoffs
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The Rams’ misplaced season ends Sunday, and although the defending Tremendous Bowl champions is not going to play within the postseason, they will nonetheless have an effect on the playoff race.
A Rams victory over Seattle at Lumen Area would finish the Seahawks’ bid for a playoff berth.
Not precisely stakes equal to enjoying for the Lombardi Trophy, however that’s the scenario for an injury-ravaged, 5-11 group within the closing stage of a Tremendous Bowl hangover.
“The primary factor is to beat Seattle in order that they are often going residence too — hold them out of the playoffs,” edge rusher Leonard Floyd mentioned.
It’s a stark distinction to the 2021 season finale, when the playoff-bound Rams performed the San Francisco 49ers.
The Rams misplaced that sport — dropping them from the No. 2-seeded group to No. 4 for the NFC playoffs — however it most likely helped them as a result of they averted a divisional-round sport at frigid Inexperienced Bay. The Rams defeated Arizona, Tampa Bay and the 49ers en path to Tremendous Bowl LVI, after which beat the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium for the title.
That championship was gained solely 11 months in the past, however it little question looks as if an eternity for coach Sean McVay.
“Finally that we’ve been via,” McVay mentioned, “these guys proceed to compete, they proceed to indicate up day in and time out and that’s made what’s been an extremely difficult 12 months for me rather a lot simpler — due to the resilience that they’ve demonstrated.
“I’ll endlessly be thankful for this group.”
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey mentioned the Rams nonetheless need to win.
“We ain’t essentially enjoying for a playoff spot or enjoying for none of that, however we’re making an attempt to win nonetheless,” Ramsey mentioned. “Each time we go on the market we’re making an attempt to win.
“I do know that it hasn’t occurred an excessive amount of for us this 12 months, however it’s all good. We’re going to go on the market and play quick, fearless, all of the issues that we at all times talk about.”
A lot of the dialog on the Rams’ facility this week centered on Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Payments security who went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the sphere throughout a sport Monday night time towards the Bengals.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner inspired teammates to speak about their emotions and feelings, whereas he additionally ready for what shall be an emotional return to Lumen Area.
Throughout 10 seasons with the Seahawks, Wagner gained a Tremendous Bowl and was voted All-Professional six instances and to the Professional Bowl eight instances. In March, on the identical day they traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks launched Wagner.
Wilson was booed when he returned to Lumen Area for the season opener, however Wagner is anticipated to be embraced by one of many NFL’s loudest fan bases.
To be positioned to spoil the Seahawks’ playoff hopes was “one thing price enjoying for,” Wagner mentioned.
He was requested what he would permit himself to really feel when he walks into the stadium.
“The vitality, the group, the moments that I had there,” he mentioned.
The will to assist Wagner beat his former team additionally offers motivation for the Rams.
Wagner made seven tackles, had two sacks and intercepted a go in a 27-23 loss to the Seahawks on Dec. 4 at SoFi Stadium. The usually non-demonstrative Wagner jawed with former teammates and coaches in the course of the sport.
“Bobby simply had a loopy sport,” defensive lineman Greg Gaines mentioned. “Tons of vitality, like tons of juice. I really feel prefer it’s solely going to amp up going again over there.
“So, we’re all making an attempt to feed off that.”
The sport may mark the tip of a number of gamers’ tenure with the Rams, maybe most notably quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The Rams claimed Mayfield off waivers from the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 6. Two days later, he led them to an unbelievable victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. A month later, he shall be enjoying in his fifth sport for a group that didn’t make the playoffs for under the second time in McVay’s six seasons.
“It’s been superb all of the issues that he’s been in a position to do in a brief period of time, constructing relationships along with his teammates, getting conversant in the best way that we function on a day-to-day foundation, and taking on and doing a variety of actually good issues on the sphere,” McVay mentioned. “I simply need to see him be capable to exit and play the best way that he’s able to, one play at a time, be within the second.”
Gaines, security Taylor Rapp, cornerback David Lengthy Jr. and kicker Matt Homosexual are amongst different gamers within the closing 12 months of their contracts with the Rams.
So, the sport could possibly be their final with the group that drafted them or, in Homosexual’s case, signed him as a free agent.
“I take into consideration that, however you by no means know,” Gaines mentioned. “It could possibly be my final sport, however it couldn’t be.”
Rapp mentioned he had not thought of pending free company, selecting as a substitute to concentrate on ending the season robust.
“I’m making an attempt to cherish this final week with these guys that I’ve been with right here for therefore lengthy,” he mentioned. “You by no means know what’s in retailer sooner or later.”