The Rams’ misplaced season ends Sunday, and although the defending Tremendous Bowl champions is not going to play within the postseason, they will nonetheless have an effect on the playoff race.
A Rams victory over Seattle at Lumen Area would finish the Seahawks’ bid for a playoff berth.
Not precisely stakes equal to taking part in for the Lombardi Trophy, however that’s the state of affairs for an injury-ravaged, 5-11 group within the remaining stage of a Tremendous Bowl hangover.
“The main thing is to beat Seattle so that they can be going home too — keep them out of the playoffs,” edge rusher Leonard Floyd stated.
It’s a stark distinction to the 2021 season finale, when the playoff-bound Rams performed the San Francisco 49ers.
The Rams misplaced that recreation — dropping them from the No. 2-seeded group to No. 4 for the NFC playoffs — nevertheless it most likely helped them as a result of they averted a divisional-round recreation at frigid Inexperienced Bay. The Rams defeated Arizona, Tampa Bay and the 49ers en path to Tremendous Bowl LVI, after which beat the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium for the title.
That championship was gained solely 11 months in the past, nevertheless it little question looks as if an eternity for coach Sean McVay.
“In spite of everything that we’ve been through,” McVay stated, “these guys continue to compete, they continue to show up day in and day out and that’s made what’s been an incredibly challenging year for me a lot easier — because of the resilience that they’ve demonstrated.
“I’ll forever be grateful for this group.”
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey stated the Rams nonetheless need to win.
“We ain’t necessarily playing for a playoff spot or playing for none of that, but we’re trying to win still,” Ramsey stated. “Every time we go out there we’re trying to win.
“I know that it hasn’t happened too much for us this year, but it’s all good. We’re going to go out there and play fast, fearless, all the things that we always speak about.”
A lot of the dialog on the Rams’ facility this week centered on Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Payments security who went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the sphere throughout a recreation Monday evening in opposition to the Bengals.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner inspired teammates to speak about their emotions and feelings, whereas he additionally ready for what can be an emotional return to Lumen Area.
Throughout 10 seasons with the Seahawks, Wagner gained a Tremendous Bowl and was voted All-Professional six occasions and to the Professional Bowl eight occasions. In March, on the identical day they traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks launched Wagner.
Wilson was booed when he returned to Lumen Area for the season opener, however Wagner is anticipated to be embraced by one of many NFL’s loudest fan bases.
To be positioned to spoil the Seahawks’ playoff hopes was “something worth playing for,” Wagner stated.
He was requested what he would permit himself to really feel when he walks into the stadium.
“The energy, the crowd, the moments that I had there,” he stated.
The will to assist Wagner beat his former group additionally gives motivation for the Rams.
Wagner made seven tackles, had two sacks and intercepted a go in a 27-23 loss to the Seahawks on Dec. 4 at SoFi Stadium. The usually non-demonstrative Wagner jawed with former teammates and coaches through the recreation.
“Bobby just had a crazy game,” defensive lineman Greg Gaines stated. “Tons of energy, like tons of juice. I feel like it’s only going to amp up going back over there.
“So, we’re all trying to feed off that.”
The sport might mark the top of a number of gamers’ tenure with the Rams, maybe most notably quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The Rams claimed Mayfield off waivers from the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 6. Two days later, he led them to an inconceivable victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. A month later, he can be taking part in in his fifth recreation for a group that didn’t make the playoffs for under the second time in McVay’s six seasons.
“It’s been amazing all the things that he’s been able to do in a short amount of time, building relationships with his teammates, getting familiar with the way that we operate on a day-to-day basis, and taking over and doing a lot of really good things on the field,” McVay stated. “I just want to see him be able to go out and play the way that he’s capable of, one play at a time, be in the moment.”
Gaines, security Taylor Rapp, cornerback David Lengthy Jr. and kicker Matt Homosexual are amongst different gamers within the remaining 12 months of their contracts with the Rams.
So, the sport might be their final with the group that drafted them or, in Homosexual’s case, signed him as a free agent.
“I think about that, but you never know,” Gaines stated. “It could be my last game, but it could not be.”
Rapp stated he had not considered pending free company, selecting as a substitute to deal with ending the season robust.
“I’m trying to cherish this last week with these guys that I’ve been with here for so long,” he stated. “You never know what’s in store in the future.”