Sun Dec 8 11:38pm ET
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Troy Hill, left, celebrates after his interception with Marqui Christian, right, and Jalen Ramsey during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, right, scores past Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, left, runs past Seattle Seahawks strong safety Bradley McDougald during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Troy Hill breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LOS ANGELES (AP) Jared Goff passed for 293 yards and two touchdowns, Todd Gurley ran for 79 yards and a fourth-quarter TD and the Los Angeles Rams prevented the Seattle Seahawks from clinching a playoff berth with a 28-12 victory Sunday night.
Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp caught TD passes while the Rams (8-5) kept their playoff hopes burning and ended the Seahawks' five-game winning streak.
With an aggressive, inventive game plan on both sides of the ball, Los Angeles recaptured a measure of the excitement from its previous two seasons on offense while also playing superb defense against Russell Wilson, who was sacked five times.
The Rams won for the fifth time in seven games, while the Seahawks (10-3) fell out of first place in the NFC West with just their second loss since Sept. 22 and their first road defeat of the season.
Wilson passed for 245 yards amid constant pressure from the Rams. Quandre Diggs returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, but it was the Seahawks' only touchdown.
Woods had seven catches for 98 yards and his first touchdown of the season, and tight end Tyler Higbee had seven catches for a career-high 116 yards as the Rams looked like the thrilling offensive unit that dazzled the NFL during coach Sean McVay's first two seasons.
McVay called an inventive game full of jet sweeps and tricky plays, and he continued to give more late-season action to Gurley, who responded with a big game.
Los Angeles still trails Minnesota (9-4) by a game for the second wild card spot, but its chances improved with this critical division win.
Seattle dropped a game behind San Francisco atop the NFC West, tied with New Orleans and Green Bay at 10-3 in the jumbled conference playoff picture. The Seahawks host the Niners in the regular-season finale Dec. 29.
These NFC West rivals' first meeting of the season was decided by the Rams' missed field goal with 11 seconds left two months ago in Seattle. Los Angeles didn't let it get nearly that close this time.
After the Seahawks' opening drive ended with a field goal, the Rams' offense started off with two touchdown drives, showing the same improved form from its blowout win at Arizona last week. Malcolm Brown punched in the opening TD after Higbee's 33-yard reception put Los Angeles on the goal line.
Woods then caught a short TD pass to cap an 85-yard drive, extending his torrid performance since returning from a one-game absence for undisclosed personal reasons. The veteran wideout has 26 catches for 367 yards in the ensuing three games.
Goff led another TD drive late in the first half, connecting with Kupp from 10 yards out with 51 seconds left, while Wilson was left frustrated by the Rams' defense and his own receivers' drops.
But Goff and Woods miscommunicated at midfield on the opening drive of the second half, and Diggs returned it untouched for his second career touchdown and his second interception in his first four games with Seattle.
Diggs grabbed his third interception for the Seahawks on the next series, catching an overthrown pass by Goff. Former USC star Rasheem Green then blocked a field goal attempt by the Rams, but Seattle's offense was unable to capitalize, with Wilson repeatedly getting rocked by blitzing Rams.
The Rams seized control with a 95-yard TD drive to open the fourth quarter, capped by Gurley's 7-yard TD run with 11:07 to play.
This was likely the final NFL night game at the venerable Coliseum. The Rams move into their multibillion-dollar palace in Inglewood next year after four post-relocation seasons at the 96-year-old stadium, which staged the first Super Bowl and also housed the Rams and the Raiders at different times.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll also might have made his final coaching appearance at the stadium where he led USC to a decade of excellence.
Seahawks: RB Rashaad Penny injured his knee during the opening drive and was ruled out for the rest of the night. The busy backup running back had 203 yards rushing and two touchdowns in Seattle's previous two games. ... Two defensive starters - DE Ziggy Ansah and LB Mychal Kendricks - didn't play.
Rams: Gerald Everett missed another game with a knee injury, and the absence of Goff's top tight end target has led to more chances for Higbee, who surpassed his career high in yards receiving for the second straight game.
Seahawks: Visit the Carolina Panthers on Sunday for their final road game of the regular season.
Rams: Visit the well-rested Dallas Cowboys, who still lead the NFC East despite losing three straight, on Sunday.
Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell seems confident that the team will re-sign defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Jacksonville wants Ngakoue back, and Caldwell said something "should be done hopefully relatively easily." He'd become one of the top pass rushers available if he hits the open market after logging 37.5 sacks, 85 quarterback hits and 42 tackles for loss in 63 games since being a third-round pick in 2016. Retaining Ngakoue is the top priority for the Jaguars this offseason as they look to build their defense back up around the ferocious pass rusher.
Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said that linebacker Leighton Vander Esch's (neck) surgery "went well." "I feel really good about it. I feel really good about him making a full recovery and being ready to participate in everything," Jones said. The second-year linebacker should be good to go for the team's offseason workouts after missing the final five games of the 2019 season. He recorded a total of 72 tackles (43 solo), half a sack and one forced fumble in his nine games played. LVE was a beast his rookie season with 140 total tackles, and he could return to being an IDP force again in 2020 if he can just stay on the field.
Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said that quarterback Dak Prescott is the team's "No. 1 priority as we go into the offseason." Despite the Cowboys missing the playoffs in 2019, Prescott wasn't the problem. He had his best season with 4,902 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his fourth year in the NFL. The Cowboys continue to reiterate that Prescott is their QB of the future, so expect a contract extension to come soon. If that doesn't happen, the franchise tag is another option to retain him for 2020. Prescott finished as the No. 3 fantasy signal-caller last season, and he'll head into the 2020 campaign as a strong high-end QB1.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (shoulder) underwent a shoulder procedure last week that is said to involve "not a lengthy rehab," and Edelman is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, according to a league source. The 33-year-old was noticeably hindered by his shoulder to close out the year, but overall it was a very successful 2019 season. Edelman had 100 receptions for a career-high 1,117 yards and six touchdowns over a full season. It was the second time in his career that he reached the 100-catch mark as quarterback Tom Brady's only real trusted receiving option. Edelman's outlook may change if Brady isn't under center in 2020, but he should at least be a solid WR2 in PPR leagues.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (abdomen) underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to fix a core muscle injury. A full recovery is expected. OBJ didn't miss a game in his first season with Cleveland despite fighting through injuries. He caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and only four touchdowns in what was a very disappointing first year with the Browns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was extremely inconsistent behind a terrible offensive line, which didn't help matters for Beckham's fantasy owners. Another offseason to gain chemistry with Mayfield should help Beckham rebound in 2020, and he could be a nice value pick as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip) is not expected to undergo surgery, and he will play in the Pro Bowl. It's great news for a Browns offense that will be looking to shake off the disappointment of the 2019 season heading into 2020. Landry was the team's most consistent wideout last year, catching 83 passes for a career-high 1,174 yards and six touchdowns over a full season. In his six NFL seasons, Landry has had at least 81 receptions and four touchdowns and has never missed a game. He's a very consistent WR2/3 in PPR leagues, and the presence of Odell Beckham Jr. should continue to take attention away from him.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel combined for just three catches for 65 yards in the NFC Championship victory against the Green Bay Packers. Samuel added two rushes for 43 yards. The Niners opened up the game with a dominant running attack and a 27-0 lead, resulting in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes. While the stat sheet was underwhelming, both aerial playmakers made the most of their opportunities, picking up chunk gains on each touch. With the vaunted Kansas City Chiefs offense on deck, the Niners will conceivably need to throw the ball more in the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders failed to record a catch in the NFC Championship blowout win against the Green Bay Packers. With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempting just eight passes, Sanders saw only a single target. The clear third option in a low-volume passing game behind standout rookie wideout Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle, Sanders has just two catches in the playoffs. Hell likely be tasked with more work in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert exploded for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. He also caught two passes for six yards. Mostert was unstoppable on Sunday, converting three rushing scores of 36, nine and 18 in the first half. He capped his evening with a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The fifth-year breakout player was the star in the Niners easy 37-20 victory and will again lead the backfield into the Super Bowl in two weeks against the Kansas City Chiefs.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed just six of eight passes for 77 yards and no scores in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Garoppolo had little to do but watch running back Raheem Mostert annihilate the Packers rush defense for 220 yards and four scores. With two consecutive easy victories in the playoffs, Jimmy G has attempted just 27 passes this postseason. Sledding will surely get tougher in the Super Bowl against the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.
San Francisco 49ers S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) aggravated his injured ribs during the NFC Championship game but should be available for Super Bowl LIV.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the NFC Championship win over the Packers on Sunday. Coleman had his shoulder popped back into place and Shanahan thinks that Coleman has a chance to play in the Super Bowl in two weeks. Only time will tell if the 26-year-old will be able to play against Kansas City. He ran the ball six times for 21 yards before his injury and had a season-high 22 totes for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the Divisional win over the Vikings. Even if Coleman plays, he'll be second fiddle to Raheem Mostert, who ran for over 200 yards and four scores against Green Bay. Matt Breida would spell Mostert in the backfield if Coleman doesn't gain clearance.
Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) suffered a dislocated shoulder during the NFC Championship game but had it popped back into place, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. The team is still waiting on the results from Coleman's MRI.
Fantasy Spin: Coleman could be a game-time decision for the game, so fantasy players should keep an eye on his status over the next few weeks. He could be a starting fantasy option if he plays.
San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) has undergone an MRI on his injured shoulder, but the team is waiting for the results, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan said Coleman has a chance to play in Super Bowl LIV.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to keep an eye on Coleman's practice participation over the new few weeks to see if he has a chance to play against the Kansas City Chiefs. He will be part of a committee at running back if he plays and could be a starting fantasy option.
Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (rib) suffered a broken rib during the Divisional Round playoff game but continued to play in the game.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins could miss some offseason workouts but will be fine for the 2020 season. He is one of the top receivers in the NFL and will be an early round pick in fantasy drafts.
Tennessee Titans impending free-agent CB Logan Ryan said he would be interested in re-signing with the Titans this offseason but does not know what will happen in free agency.
Green Bay Packers impending free-agent TE Marcedes Lewis said he wants to continue his playing career and hopes to re-sign with the Packers this offseason because he felt comfortable with his role in head coach Matt LaFleur's offense.
Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers is set to become a free agent at the end of the league year and recently moved from San Diego to Florida in order to be closer to his family in Alabama. The combination of the two is fueling 'a lot of buzz' that Rivers may be a potential target for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora.
There has been buzz that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a possible landing spot for Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who will become a free agent in March. After his worst season since 2007, the aging gunslinger is unlikely to re-sign with the Bolts, and he recently moved his family from San Diego to Florida to be closer to his extended family in Alabama. The 38-year-old might have a year or two left of football in him if he continues to play, but the 2019 season showed that he's near the end of the line. Rivers would only be an option for Tampa if they choose not to bring Jameis Winston back for at least another season after he led all of football in passing yards last season.
Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has been fired, and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver has been promoted in his place, according to league sources. Houston's defense was a liability for most of the year, especially their leaky secondary. The Texans allowed 51 points and seven straight touchdown drives to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round loss. During the 2019 season, Houston's defense allowed 388.3 yards per game (fifth worst), 267.3 passing yards per game (fourth worst), 121.1 rushing yards a game and 24.1 points per game. Getting J.J. Watt back healthy for a full season will be a start to the Texans rebounding on defense under Weaver.