SEATTLE — Four quarters of brilliant football from Russell Wilson and the best play of Tedric Thompson‘s career were about to be wasted — as was a chance for the Seattle Seahawks to gain some early ground on the defending NFC West champs.
Thompson’s interception of a Jared Goff pass that he picked off the turf looked as if it could have sealed a Seahawks victory until Goff put the Rams in position for a winning field goal attempt. But Greg Zuerlein missed the attempt from 44 yards out — by no more than a foot or two — to let the Seahawks escape with a 30-29 win.
Exhale, Seattle. The Seahawks are 4-1 with a game in hand over the Rams, who still look like their biggest threat in the division even with the San Francisco 49ers sitting at 3-0.
QB breakdown: Wilson continues to outdo himself. Already off to the best four-game start of his career, Wilson continued his MVP-level play with four touchdowns, zero interceptions and 268 yards on 17-of-23 passing. He added 32 yards in eight carries, coming up big with his legs in the fourth quarter as he tends to do. According to NFL Next Gen Stats research, Wilson threw for 130 yards on the run, his highest total in a game in the past four seasons. He has now thrown 12 touchdown passes with no picks through five games.
Pivotal play: Thompson’s interception with 2 minutes, 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter was initially ruled an incomplete pass. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll challenged, which he could do since it was just outside of two minutes. It was a redemptive moment for Thompson, a third-year safety who badly misplayed a ball in Week 1 that resulted in a long touchdown.
Pivotal play, Part II: It was a pivotal decision, really. With 94 seconds left in the first half, Carroll’s team faced a fourth-and-1 in Rams territory and opted for a 48-yard Jason Myers field goal try that would have put Seattle up 17-6. Myers’ miss gave the Rams a short field that they turned into a touchdown to cut Seattle’s halftime lead to 14-13. The Seahawks gave Myers a big deal in free agency coming off his Pro Bowl season and had a replacement at right guard in Jamarco Jones — whose natural position is tackle — against Aaron Donald. That makes it a defensible decision to try a field goal even though Wilson was playing lights out. Chris Carson had just been stopped for no gain on third-and-1 on the preceding play.
Promising trend: The Seahawks remain exceedingly tough to beat in prime-time games, especially at home. They’re now 27-5-1 in prime time since Carroll arrived in 2010, with this victory improving the NFL’s best winning percentage in such games. That includes an 18-2 record at home and a 9-1 record on Thursday night. The Seahawks have four more prime-time games on their schedule: Week 10 at San Francisco, Week 13 at Philadelphia, Week 14 vs. Minnesota and Week 15 in their rematch with the Rams in Los Angeles.
Eye-popping NextGen Stat: Wilson’s first touchdown throw in the back corner of the end zone to Tyler Lockett had a completion probability of only 6.3%, the lowest on any passing TD across the NFL in the past three seasons. It actually looked like a throwaway at first glance, but Lockett made a toe-tap grab while falling out of bounds. As great of a throw as it was from Wilson while moving hard to his left, it was just as brilliant of a catch by Lockett, who has made a nice transition to Seattle’s No. 1 receiver following Doug Baldwin’s departure.