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Rams keep playoff hopes alive with win over Seahawks

LOS ANGELES — Remember the fun Los Angeles Rams? The ones who lit up the scoreboard and ignited the NFL on their way to the Super Bowl last season?

Those Rams — not this season’s impostors who have been teetering on the verge of playoff elimination — made an appearance Sunday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The result? A 28-12 takedown of the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks.

The Rams improve to 8-5 as they continue to chase the Minnesota Vikings in the wild-card race. They’ll likely need to win their remaining three games, which include road contests against the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers and a regular-season finale against the Arizona Cardinals, to earn a playoff bid.

But after a dominant win Sunday, a playoff run appears within reach.

QB breakdown: Jared Goff looked the part of a franchise quarterback Sunday — at least in the first half, when he passed for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Goff finished 22-of-31 for 293 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, including a pick-six. The performance served as a reminder of why the Rams signed Goff to a four-year extension with $110 million in guarantees before the season. On the Rams’ opening possession, Goff orchestrated an eight-play, 75-yard drive that included 19- and 15-yard passes to receiver Robert Woods and a 33-yard pass to tight end Tyler Higbee. On the team’s second possession, he found an open Woods for a 2-yard touchdown pass, and later in the first half, he delivered a strike to receiver Cooper Kupp for another score. In the third quarter, safety Quandre Diggs intercepted passes from Goff on back-to-back series, but the QB later rebounded to lead a seven-play, 95-yard scoring drive to take a 28-9 lead.

Promising trend I: The Rams’ defense was 8:35 away from posting a shutout last weekend, but that was against rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and the struggling Cardinals. Against the Seahawks, who are among the top-rated offenses in the league, the defense wreaked havoc for Russell Wilson, as Samson Ebukam and Dante Fowler Jr. each sacked him twice, and Aaron Donald also added a sack. The Seahawks did not score a touchdown on offense.

Promising trend II: Two games, two career-best performances for Tyler Higbee. Last week, in a 34-7 win over the Cardinals, Higbee caught seven passes for a career-best 107 yards. That was a breakout performance. Against the Seahawks, he caught seven passes for a career-best 116 yards. He is suddenly becoming a key playmaker in McVay’s offense. Higbee’s 33-yard reception in the first half was his longest of the season. He averaged 29 receiving yards per game in his first 11 games of the season, according to ESPN Stats & Information Research.

Pivotal play: The Rams’ offense appeared to be headed for a three-and-out on its opening possession after Todd Gurley II rushed for 6 yards on consecutive carries. But on third-and-4, Goff completed a 19-yard pass to Woods, and from there, the offense took off. Running back Malcolm Brown capped the eight-play, 75-yard opening possession with a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Rams a 7-3 lead.

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