The Rams’ misplaced season ends Sunday, and although the defending Super Bowl champions won’t play within the postseason, they’ll nonetheless have an effect on the playoff race.
A Rams victory over Seattle at Lumen Field 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 scenario for an injury-ravaged, 5-11 staff within the closing stage of a Super 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 sport — dropping them from the No. 2-seeded staff to No. 4 for the NFC playoffs — however it in all probability helped them as a result of they prevented a divisional-round sport at frigid Green Bay. The Rams defeated Arizona, Tampa Bay and the 49ers en path to Super Bowl LVI, after which beat the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium for the title.
That championship was gained solely 11 months in the past, however 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 wish 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.”
Much of the dialog on the Rams’ facility this week centered on Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills security who went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the sector throughout a sport 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 Field.
During 10 seasons with the Seahawks, Wagner gained a Super Bowl and was voted All-Pro six occasions and to the Pro 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 Field for the season opener, however Wagner is predicted 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 enable himself to really feel when he walks into the stadium.
“The energy, the crowd, the moments that I had there,” he stated.
The need to assist Wagner beat his former staff 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 throughout the sport.
“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 may mark the tip 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 unbelievable victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. A month later, he can be taking part in in his fifth sport for a staff 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 Long Jr. and kicker Matt Gay are amongst different gamers within the closing 12 months of their contracts with the Rams.
So, the sport may very well be their final with the staff that drafted them or, in Gay’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 an alternative to concentrate on 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.”