NFL

Who won Thursday Night Football week 5?

The LA Rams 26-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks sees them pull ahead in the the NFC West in a game where screens, fingers and that punt were all the talk

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Who won Thursday Night Football week 5?
Joe Nicholson USA TODAY Sports

In a game that promised such explosive offense, in the end it turned out to be a very much more sedate affair.

Both quarterbacks seemed to do their best work while scrambling, sometimes by design as Russell Wilson ran the unprotected bootleg several times. Both teams found success with the screen pass for big gains, and both teams missed first-half scoring opportunities through mistakes. Seattle in electing to run the ball behind the center for no gain on fourth down rather than kick a chip-shot field goal, and Los Angeles through taking the chip-shot and shanking it wide left. Together with a Seattle touchdown called back on a holding penalty turned out to be the difference in the final score. 

Russell Wilson’s finger injury on his throwing hand halfway through the third quarter saw him leave the game to be replaced by backup QB Geno Smith. The Seahawks won’t speculate on the length of time that Wilson might be out, even going so far as to refuse to rule out rumors that he would need surgery. Geno Smith looked impressive in the backfield, if perhaps lacking game snaps, immediately taking the Seahawks offense on a 98 yard march topped off by 23-yard pass to Metcalf.

The game stayed within reach until the final 2:02, when Smith’s pass intended for Tyler Lockett was picked off by Nick Scott, allowing LA to ice the game. The Seahawks had all the momentum in their favor having kicked a field goal and held the Rams to a three-and-out to get the ball back with plenty of time in hand. Nick Scott appeared to interfere with Lockett on his way to the ball, so perhaps this game could have ended in a missed call by the officiating staff. It wouldn’t be the first one.

In a postgame interview, Matthew Stafford, who had an equally impressive night scrambling in the LA backfield, admitted that he had actually dislocated a finger during the game as well. Though clearly not as serious an injury as Wilson’s, it is all the more impressive when you see his 25 completions for 37 attempts and 365 passing yards on the evening.

And in perhaps the strangest incident of the evening, a punt was blocked and then re-punted in a move that seemed to flummox everyone in the stadium. Even the game commentators got it wrong when they confidently announced that it was definitely a penalty and would absolutely be coming back. Even the on-field officiating crew seemed to oblige by dutifully throwing a flag on the play before eventually coming to the conclusion that there was in fact no penalty. The play resulted in perhaps the strangest 68-yard punt you are likely to see for some time.

The win puts the Rams at 4-1 and sees them just behind the undefeated Cardinals who face the 2-2 San Francisco 49ers this Sunday.