INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Matthew Stafford left the field hunched in pain after a disastrous flea-flicker ended with Stafford taking a massive hit to the chest while throwing an interception with his Los Angeles Rams already trailing by nine points in the fourth quarter.
When Stafford caught his breath, he got mad — and then he led the Rams to his first fourth-quarter comeback victory since he did it in the Super Bowl.
Lucas Havrisik made a 22-yard field goal 1:31 to play, and Jason Myers missed a 55-yard attempt for the Seahawks with 3 seconds left in Los Angeles' 17-16 victory over Seattle on Sunday.
Stafford passed for 190 yards in his return from a one-game injury absence and led two late scoring drives by the Rams (4-6), who snapped their three-game losing streak with their second win over the Seahawks (6-4) this season. Stafford was outstanding on the Rams' final two drives after responding with determination to the crushing hit by Mario Edwards Jr.
“I don't know if I need to take that level of a shot every week to get going,” said a grinning Stafford, who played with a brace on his sprained thumb.
“I know that late in the game, fourth quarter, we're within a score, I want the ball," he added. "It just so happened that I had my chest run through the drive before. I don't know if that's the thing that gets me going, but sometimes it's late in the game, you could be playing as poor a game as you want to play, (but) you play one great quarter, you've got a chance to win that thing.”
Los Angeles hung on only after Geno Smith returned from a late injury of his own and led a frantic last-minute drive into field goal range. But Seattle ran out of time and had to settle for a long attempt that was missed badly by Myers, who had already hit three field goals at SoFi Stadium.
Seattle appeared to be cruising toward its fourth victory in five games until Smith, who passed for 233 yards, was sidelined by a hit late in the third quarter from Aaron Donald, whose left arm made hard contact with Smith's throwing arm.
“Just trying to go out there and make plays and get us in position to win the game,” said Smith, who isn't sure if he’ll play against the 49ers on Thanksgiving night. “It was still hurting. Obviously didn’t do enough.”
After the Rams' defense got a quick stop following Stafford's pick, Darrell Henderson ran for a 1-yard TD with 7:38 left to trim Seattle’s lead to two points. Derion Kendrick intercepted Seattle backup Drew Lock’s long pass moments later, and Stafford drove the Rams to the Seattle 4 before they settled for Havrisik's short field goal.
Stafford looked sharp on a series of impressive late throws, none better than a picturesque 32-yard fling to rookie Puka Nacua.
“I thought (Stafford’s) toughness was on display,” coach Sean McVay said. “Maybe we should punch him in the gut right before the games, huh?”
Los Angeles' defense also kept the Seahawks out of the end zone in the final 50 minutes, and the oft-targeted Kendrick came up with its biggest play.
“I just felt like they were trying me a lot throughout the game, looking my way and trying to get easy completions,” said Kendrick, who was effectively benched in the Rams' last game two weeks ago. “I looked at their bench and said, ‘Stop playing with me. Quit trying.’ And then I had to go make a play.”
Smith made a 21-yard completion to DK Metcalf over the middle to the Los Angeles 39 with about 30 seconds left, but the Seahawks couldn't get closer for Myers.
Stafford hit Nacua for a short touchdown shortly before halftime for the Rams, but Seattle’s defense held Los Angeles to 123 yards in the first three quarters. The Seahawks ultimately couldn’t stop the Rams' ground game in the fourth led by Royce Freeman, who rushed for 73 yards.
Metcalf caught a TD pass in the first quarter for Seattle, which also committed 12 penalties for a whopping 130 yards.
“This was the most disappointing loss for us because of the way we did it," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We made it really hard on ourselves so many times in this game with the calls that were made. And I’m not disputing any of them. I’m just saying the penalties that happened were just out of line for us. We have not been good in that area during the season in general, and today it really blew up on us.”
Seahawks: S Jamal Adams sat out with a knee injury, and rookie S Jerrick Reed II went down in the second half with a knee injury. ... RB Kenneth Walker III incurred an oblique injury in the first quarter and didn't return. Rookie Zach Charbonnet had 47 yards rushing and six receptions for 22 yards.
Rams: WR Cooper Kupp didn’t return after injuring his right ankle in the second quarter. McVay had no postgame update on his Super Bowl MVP. ... CB Cobie Durant sat out with the aftereffects of a stinger incurred before the bye.
Seahawks: Host San Francisco on Thursday.
Rams: At Arizona on Nov. 26.
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