Takeaways from Seahawks 30-29 victory over Rams

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks

SEATTLE -- Two wins in five days have the Seahawks with a leg up over the defending NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams.

The Seahawks sweated out a 44-yard game-winning field goal try from Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein with 15 seconds to go that sailed just wide of the right upright as the Seahawks scraped by Los Angeles with a 30-29 victory over Thursday night. Wins over the Rams and Arizona Cardinals now have Seattle at 4-1 with a win over their presumptive stiffest competition in the NFC West and right on the heels of the 3-0 San Francisco 49ers.

The Rams now look more vulnerable than anticipated as well after giving up 85 points and two losses in five days to the Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Russell Wilson was a savant for Seattle on Thursday night. Wilson passed for 268 yards and four touchdowns with just six incompletions on 23 attempts. Four different receivers caught touchdowns for Seattle as Wilson worked his magic against the Rams defense.

Seattle's defense was carved up at times by Jared Goff and the Rams passing attack. But a couple key forced turnovers and a little luck helped the team squeak out a pivotal early season win against a divisional rival.

Here are the takeaways from the Seahawks thrilling win over the Rams on Thursday night:

-- Russell Wilson is performing at an MVP level and Thursday night was no exception.

The best quarterback in franchise history is off to the best start of his eight-year career.

Per NFL Research, Wilson has 1,409 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, and 0 interceptions through the first five weeks of the season. He is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era with at least 1,400 yards, 12 touchdowns, and no interceptions through his team's first five games.

Wilson completed 17 of 23 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns against the Rams on Thursday night.

"I thought Russell played one of the best games I've ever seen him play," head coach Pete Carroll said. "I've just never seen him - speaking of magic - all of the plays that he came up with his legs, running, for one, but also, not just to get out of trouble, but to find the receivers and make the throws just one after another after another.

"He stole the show tonight as he did so much. And on top of what he's done to start the season off in great fashion. So really fired up for him and our team."

Wilson has completed 73.1 percent of his passes through five games. His career-high is 68.1 percent set in 2015. His passer rating through five games is 126.3. The NFL record for a full season is the 122.5 of Aaron Rodgers in 2011 with the Green Bay Packers. Wilson's career-high is 110.9, which was set last season.

"He’s been playing MVP level all season, man," left tackle Duane Brown said. "He’s been doing this his whole career. I know a lot has been said about his performance thus far this season, but he’s been doing this every year. He’s just amazing."

Wilson has looked in complete control through the first five weeks of the season. When he extends plays, he almost always makes something happen. When he throws on time from the pocket, he's hitting receivers in stride. When he chooses to take off and avoid pressure, he's picking up key yards on the ground while keeping himself out of harm's way.

Wilson was sacked just once by the Rams on Thursday night and did a masterful job of buying time to make positive plays happen. The game-winning touchdown pass to Chris Carson on fourth-and-goal was available because Wilson moved up in the pocket, got cornerback Aqib Talib to commit to him as a possible runner and Wilson was able to float an easy 5-yard pass to Carson, which survived Carson's near drop for a touchdown.

He ran round the Rams defense in buying time for a 17-yard completion to Lockett in the second quarter and again on his absurd touchdown pass to Lockett late in the first quarter.

Carroll and Wilson both have said they don't believe Wilson has yet reached his full potential as a quarterback. That might be changing this season. If Wilson continues to play like this, Patrick Mahomes may have a battle for league MVP.

-- Wilson's touchdown throw to Tyler Lockett was one of the best singular plays of his career.

There have been plays that have meant more and came in bigger moments, but Wilson's 13-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett - and Lockett's catch - were among the most stunning plays of Wilson's career.

The Rams did their part. The play-action design from the Seahawks was completely covered up. George Fant was in as an extra tight end and Seattle was in a max-protect look off of play-action as Lockett and DK Metcalf ran matching mirrored deep crossing routes. Carson and Luke Willson were both covered when they leaked out as outlet options. Metcalf and Lockett were both blanketed downfield. The play was complete dead.

Until it wasn't.

Wilson rolled out to his left to evade pressure from Dante Fowler Jr. and launched the ball over 30 yards across his body to the very back of the left corner of the end zone. Lockett barely had any space as Rams safety Eric Weddle had been all over him in the back in the end zone. Somehow he found just enough space to make a catch and keep his toes in the field of play for a stunning touchdown that gave Seattle the lead.

"Man, that was a crazy play," Weddle said. "You can play the coverage perfect, took him, covered him up and he throws it up and makes a play. Those things happen. You just chalk it up as a great play by Russ and a great play by Tyler. I'm not going to lose sleep over a play like that. It's an amazing play."

Willson had a front row seat to the catch as it sailed over his head to Lockett in the back of the end zone.

"Holy s---, that was crazy as s---," Willson said.

"I was right there, man. It was shocking. I don't know if you can tell by my reaction, I haven't see it yet, but it was like jaw-dropping for me and I was literally in the middle of the play. I didn't realize he was there at first. I thought the ball was overthrown to me and I turned and I saw Tyler dive, touch both feet and catch the ball and I was like 'oh my god.' I mean, what a play."

Even Weddle had to tip his cap to Wilson and Lockett for the play. There wasn't much of anything he could do different.

"Man, that was a crazy play," Weddle said. "You can play the coverage perfect, took him, covered him up and he throws it up and makes a play. Those things happen. You just chalk it up as a great play by Russ and a great play by Tyler. I'm not going to lose sleep over a play like that. It's an amazing play."

Lockett didn't think the ball was being thrown away and thought Wilson would give him a chance.

"Any time the DBs are facing you and his back is turned to Russ, Russ is going to throw it and he’s going to give us a chance to make a play," Lockett said. "The best thing about that throw was that if I didn’t get it, nobody was going to get it. Just the fact that he trusted me enough to be able to give me a chance and I was able to secure the catch and get my feet in, that was a big-time play."

-- Jamarco Jones gets first game action at position he's never played against Aaron Donald.

Seahawks offensive lineman Jamarco Jones hadn't played a single snap along the offensive line in a regular season NFL game before Thursday night. He'd never played a football game at any position other than tackle. And yet, two series into the meeting with the Rams, he was called upon to jump into the lineup at right tackle and try to block Aaron Donald, perhaps the league's most dominant defensive player at the line of scrimmage.

"It was great," Jones said. "Coach [Mike Solari] and the other guys in the O-line room have helped me prepare and learn the things I need to learn to be able to go out there and step up in that moment and to be able to go out there and help the team get a win is a great feeling."

Jones was called upon after D.J. Fluker went down in the first quarter with a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for the rest of the game. Jones missed his entire rookie season due to a bad high-ankle sprain last preseason that required surgery. He appeared in three of the first four games of the season as a reserve on special teams units but had not taken a snap on the offensive line until Thursday night.

And his first task in his first game at a foreign position is to try to find a way to keep Donald from wrecking their evening.

"You got Aaron Donald on the other side, arguably the best defensive lineman ever to play the game. And he handled things great. I thought he was poised, a big-time player. We love his work ethic," Wilson said.

The Seahawks allowed just one sack all game even with Jones in the lineup in reserve duty. The offense put up a total of 429 yards and the team rushed for 167 yards as Chris Carson went for over 100 yards with 118 yards on 27 carries.

"Hasn't played much football for us and he's playing guard and there's one of the best players in football across from him and to hang in there play a good football game and survive it was a beautiful performance for him," Carroll said. "It's exactly what you hope happen as a staff, that your guys step up and once they get the call they go in get the job done. Really proud of Jamarco's effort tonight.

Jones enjoyed his first game action and the test that Donald provided.

"He's a great player. He's the best defensive lineman in the NFL for a reason. Getting those type of game reps against such a quality player was good," Jones said.

Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 03: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Los Angeles Rams at CenturyLink Field on October 3, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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