Jamal Adams reached for his victory cigar resting to his right at the conclusion of his postgame press conference. The Seahawks star safety took two big puffs and exclaimed, “it’s a celebration” to everyone watching virtually.
Seattle has plenty to celebrate, indeed, after clinching the NFC West title with a 20-9 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16. The defense carried the Seahawks throughout with a dominant performance that limited the Rams to just three field goals.
Jared Goff completed just 24-of-43 pass attempts for 234 yards and one interception. No Rams pass catcher topped 66 yards. Los Angeles went just 9-of-19 on third down. Quandre Diggs had a pick. Jarran Reed had two sacks with Alton Robinson chipping in one as well.
The showing added credibility to a stretch of impressive games against the Eagles, Giants, Jets and Washington Football Team, and Adams made sure everyone knew it.
“They’ve got to start putting some respect on this defense’s name,” Adams said boldly. “This defense is playing lights out. To me, we’re the best defense in the league. You can quote that. You can do what you want to do with it, but at the end of the day I believe in these guys. I believe in this coaching staff.”
Seattle’s signature moment was a goal-line stand late in the third quarter with the Seahawks leading, 13-6. Pete Carroll called it a sequence he’d never forget.
Jordyn Brooks blew up Malcolm Brown’s first down run for a loss of two. Adams made a touchdown saving tackle on Brown’s second down run. Brooks and K.J. Wright stuffed Jared Goff’s QB sneak on third down. Then Brooks stonewalled Brown again on fourth down.
“There was no way that I was going to let him walk into that end zone,” Adams said of his clutch stop. "It’s whatever it takes.”
Adams attributed Seattle’s success to a productive week of practice and game-planning. He credited the coaching staff with picking up on the cues and tendencies of the Rams’ offense. That was evident in the way that Los Angeles had to labor over every yard. The Seahawks played assignment-sound football and didn’t fall prey to the window dressing and pre-snap motions that usually trip up Seattle’s defense.
The Rams entered the game winning five of the last six meetings between the two teams. Sean McVay’s offense has notably had the number of Carroll’s defense. Those realities added an extra layer of satisfaction to the Seahawks’ win on Sunday.
“100%,” Wright said. “It felt like every year this team is always in our way. It seems like there was always a challenge to get over the hump with this team. They’ve scored a lot of points on us, they’ve won the division a few times, so to beat this team felt really good. Hats off to them, we may see them in the playoffs again but, to win this game felt really good.”
After clinching the organization’s first division championship since 2016, Carroll asked Wright to address the team amid the hoopla in the locker room.
“I said, just cherish this moment because it doesn’t come around too often,” the veteran linebacker shared. “Cherish this moment because it’s been a while since we have been NFC West champs. This team is special. Our brotherhood, our togetherness brought us to this moment. I’m so proud of everyone that is on this squad, from the coaching staff, to the equipment guys, and the training staff on down. A complete team effort and this feels really good.”
Seattle has earned the right to host the Wild Card Round at Lumen Field. If Los Angeles beats Arizona in Week 17, there will be a rubber match between the Seahawks and Rams to open the postseason.
Regardless of the opponent, Adams has faith that this defense is capable of replicating Sunday’s performance. That could be the key to a potential run through the NFC playoffs and into the Super Bowl.
“We’re going to continue to get better,” Adams said. “We haven’t even played our best football yet, and that’s the scary part.”