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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Geno Smith throws late touchdown as Seahawks snap losing skid with comeback win over Rams

Dec. 4, 2022 Updated Sun., Dec. 4, 2022 at 8:40 p.m.

DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Inglewood, California.  (Getty Images)
DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Getty Images)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – If the Seahawks were going to make anything of the 2022 season, this was their moment.

With 2:46 left and the Rams having just scored a touchdown to take the lead, Geno Smith walked into the huddle and knew he had to take command.

But to DK Metcalf, Smith acted the same as he did in a training camp practice in July.

“I mean he’s been doing it ever since he got here,” Metcalf said. “Whenever we put him in and asked him to carry the load of being a leader and a quarterback, he’s done them but exceed expectations.”

Smith certainly did that Sunday, leading the Seahawks on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that finished with an 8-yard yard TD pass to Metcalf that gave Seattle a 27-23 win over a tenacious, if depleted, Los Angeles Rams.

“For us, it meant a lot,” said Smith of a win that improved Seattle’s record to 7-5 and kept them a game behind the 49ers in the NFC West. “You know, right now we’re fighting to try and get in some playoff division game against a division opponent. It was a real tough game out there. As you guys can see, it was a real scrappy game out there. And also felt like, during the season, we had some opportunities where we could have done the same thing might have fell short. And so as we continue on late into the season, you want to show improvement, and I think that’s what it shows – a lot of grit and determination.”

Indeed, the Seahawks looked as if they could fold against a team that won the Super Bowl a year ago but which has been fallen apart due to a laundry list of injuries that included having to play Sunday with John Wolford at quarterback instead of Matthew Stafford.

Wolford played just well enough that he had the Rams with a 23-20 lead with 2:56 left thanks to a 6-yard run by Cam Akers, which also seemed to have the Seahawks on their heels.

What was left of a SoFi Stadium crowd of 71,802 was rocking in anticipation of the Rams finally breaking a five-game losing streak.

But Smith foiled those plans, completing 6 of 9 passes for 65 yards, including the TD to Metcalf that put Seattle ahead for good and quashed an image that Smith couldn’t “win the big one,” a reputation built in part on Seattle’s struggles in losses the past two weeks against the Buccaneers and Raiders.

“That’s the game,” Smith said, “It’s the game I grew up watching . Love it, man. Just watching how tough those games can be. And we wanted to do this for our fan base. We wanted to do this for our team.”

The win moved the Seahawks to the seventh spot in the NFC playoff positioning thanks to a tie between Washington and the New York Giants.

And maybe more so, it gave the Seahawks a sense of self again after the back-to-back losses that called into question just how good they really were.

The Rams took the opening kickoff and drove 77 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead in a drive that revived all the bad memories of the previous two weeks.

And even when Smith led the Seahawks to touchdowns on two of their next three drives, things still seemed precarious.

Seattle had no real running game with rookie Kenneth Walker III out for the game with an ankle injury that could sideline him for an extended period, leaving the Seahawks with Deejay Dallas and recently acquired Tony Jones Jr. as their running backs.

And the run defense seemed at times at risk, with the Rams rushing for 171 yards on 31 carries – by far their most of the season.

But Smith kept the Seahawks in it, answering every Rams scoring drive with one of his own.

When the Rams took a 10-7 lead early in the first half, Smith led an 11-play, 91-yard drive that ended in a 4-yard pass to Noah Fant to put Seattle 14-13 at halftime.

And when the Rams twice hit field goals by Matt Gay to cut the lead in the second half, Smith led drives to immediately keep the Seahawks in front.

And when the Rams moved 75 yards in nine plays to score on the Akers run to take a 23-20 lead – and Seattle’s chances to make anything of the season seemed precarious – Smith quickly led Seattle down the field.

Smith hit Lockett for 10 yards on a third-and-10 to put Seattle in field-goal position, and then with a first-and-goal at the 8, he fired a pass to Metcalf on a crossing pattern, getting a step on perennial All-Pro Jalen Ramsey, for what turned out to be the winning touchdown.

Smith made it all seem like no big deal afterward.

“Yeah, you know, the NFL is full of tight window throws,” he said. “You gotta have to be able to make those. You got great defenders out there. (Ramsey) is a great corner. And on that play. DK was lined up on the backside he came across on an over route. Ramsey was right on his back and there was a safety kind of right in front of them. So there wasn’t a huge window. But I mean when you’ve got DK Metcalf, you know, big 6-4 receiver to 220 to 230 (pounds). It’s gonna be hard for those guys to get to the ball before he does.”

The Seahawks held on, Cody Barton clinching the win with an interception in a game in which former Seahawk Bobby Wagner had two sacks and an interception of his own.

“Again we learned how hard it is to win in the league,” said coach Pete Carroll.

“It was really hard-fought football game today.”

One in which Smith ultimately made all the difference.

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