Win has Seahawks flying into bye

Seattle shows it is still team to beat in NFC West




RENTON — By toppling one of their more troubling opponents, the Seattle Seahawks went into their bye week on Monday back in control of the NFC West.

Yes, the Seahawks continue to have their own issues. But the 16-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday followed what’s been Seattle’s blueprint early in this season — relying on a stifling defense that held the Rams 25 points below their season average while doing just enough on offense to get out of Los Angeles with a victory.

It was a significant early win. A loss to the Rams would have left Seattle (3-2) two games behind and with Los Angeles holding the tiebreaker. Instead, the Seahawks are tied for the division lead headed into their break.

“We were able to keep them from being effective in the ways they had been effective and we’ll see how many times people hold them to 10 points,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “They started fast and got off to a real good roll and our guys rallied and came back and played three quarters of really great football and kept them down. They’re good. They’re doing a lot of really good stuff. It took us some special plays and good fortune.”

Seattle slowed down the Rams by containing Todd Gurley. The do-everything running back for Los Angeles was held to 43 yards rushing and had just two catches for 7 yards.

Gurley was also at the center of one of the biggest plays for Seattle when safety Earl Thomas chopped Gurley’s arm just short of the goal line and forced a fumble that went off the pylon and became a touchback for Seattle. It happened on the first drive of the game and by the end was a massively important play.

Thomas made a similar play in a 2014 game against the Rams. The Seahawks have held four of their first five opponents under 20 points, the one outlier being a 33-27 loss at Tennessee.