SEATTLE — Jalen Ramsey’s two interceptions against the Seattle Seahawks were for Bobby Wagner. Taylor Rapp launched himself for a game-saving tackle and Leonard Floyd had an impactful hit on Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith — those, too, for Wagner. Wagner himself attempted to win the game with a hit on Smith in overtime.
It wasn’t enough.
After Seahawks kicker Jason Myers missed a potential game-winning field goal at the end of regulation time by hitting the right upright, Seattle completed a rally over the Rams with a 19-16 victory in OT Sunday at Lumen Field.
Myers redeemed himself with a 32-yard field goal to win it for the Seahawks, who were fighting for a playoff spot.
The Rams, who were eliminated from playoff contention in Week 15, were motivated for Wagner’s grand return to Seattle, where he played his first 10 NFL seasons.
But in the back of the Rams’ minds, they were probably also thinking: “Win it for Coach Sean McVay.”
Reports have emerged about McVay possibly walking away from coaching to accept a TV analyst job for next season. The Rams (5-12) completed their 2022 season, but now questions will rise about who will return for 2023.
“I’m not thinking about that right now,” McVay said after being asked whether he’ll be the head coach of the Rams for the 2023 season. “Nothing has changed from where we left things off on Friday. … That I’m right here right now and we’ll deal with that stuff at a later time.”
McVay was also asked why he hasn’t committed to coaching the Rams next season, and had this to say: “I’ll talk about stuff as it relates to the game. Anything as it relates to what is going to happen with me … I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m appreciative of the way these guys finished up this season, so any question of that nature I’m not going to answer.”
It’s fitting that the Rams’ season finale went to overtime, because maybe McVay is torn on whether he wants his coaching tenure in L.A. to end after six seasons. McVay told reporters Friday that he still has interest in being a TV analyst in the future.
Many of the Rams’ players wanted Sunday’s game to continue, hoping a game-changing play would occur for Wagner to leave his former home field on the winning end. Wagner was also hoping to spoil the Seahawks’ playoff hopes because he referred to them as the team that gave up on him. He was released by them this past offseason before signing with the Rams.
“I wanted that game for my brother,” Rams linebacker Ernest Jones said about Wagner. “We just couldn’t get it done for him. … For the most part, we hope he appreciates (the effort). We tried and we wanted to give it our all for him. We know what it means to him, but I feel like he’s happy.”
Rapp kept the game alive after his tackle forced the Seahawks to settle for a field goal to tie it 16-16 with 2: 19 left in regulation. But Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield failed to get a drive going, allowing the Seahawks to stay in the game.
Mayfield nearly had the game-changing play in overtime, but his downfield shot to Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson fell short and was intercepted by Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs. That set up Myers’ game-winning field goal.
Wagner got a standing ovation from the 60,000-plus fans in attendance after he walked to midfield for the opening coin toss, which he won to give the Rams the option to defer and receive the ball after halftime. The crowd chanted “Bobby, Bobby” and many had signs expressing their gratitude for Wagner’s 10 impressive seasons in Seattle.
Seahawks fans weren’t chanting Wagner’s name the second time he walked onto midfield for the coin toss in overtime, which the Seahawks won.
“It’s fun playing in that stadium,” Wagner said. “A lot of great years. I’m grateful for the fans, grateful for the love that they showed.”
Smith erased the Rams’ lead with a 36-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Lockett to tie it 13-13 with 9: 09 in the third quarter. Mayfield responded with lengthy completions to Jefferson and wideout Tutu Atwell to put the Rams in Seattle territory, but they again had to settle after Matt Gay’s 38-yard field goal to retake the lead 16-13 with 4: 13 in the third quarter. Gay had three field goals versus the Seahawks.
The Rams’ commitment to the running game paid off early in the second quarter after Akers broke free on the right side for a 32-yard run on third-and-1. It was the Rams’ first first down of the game. Akers extended his streak of at least 100 rushing yards to four games after he recorded 104 yards on 21 carries.
The Rams’ first “explosive” play from their passing game didn’t arrive until late in the first half after Mayfield connected with Jefferson for 35 yards on third-and-6. That led to an 11-yard touchdown run from wide receiver Atwell to give the Rams a 13-6 lead at halftime. Mayfield finished 13 of 26 for 147 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
“To be honest with you, last month and a half has been so dang crazy for me,” Mayfield said about his five starts with the Rams. “I miss my wife. I miss my puppy. Going to take some time just to decompress a little bit. Going to take some time away. I’m thankful for my time here. This place has been unbelievable for me.”
Ramsey was left frustrated the last time he played the Seahawks because he allowed the game-winning touchdown after he lost track of DK Metcalf in coverage.
On Sunday, Ramsey got some early revenge after he intercepted Smith’s pass during the first play of the game. Ramsey jumped the route on the throw that was intended for Metcalf and put the Rams’ opening drive on the Seattle 11-yard line. But the Rams went three-and-out and settled for a 22-yard field goal from Gay for a 3-0 lead with 13: 28 in the first quarter. With Ramsey shadowing, Metcalf didn’t record his first catch until the final minute of the first half.
Smith finished 19 of 31 for 213 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker rushed for 114 yards on 29 carries and Lockett contributed four catches for 54 yards and one touchdown.
The Rams fell short for the final time during a disappointing season. They went from winning the Super Bowl 11 months ago to 12 losses this season and possibly not having McVay on the sidelines next season.
“We’ll work through all that kind of stuff and you’ll have clarity on that sooner than later,” McVay said.