Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein won the NFC championship game last season with a 57-yard field goal.
He kicked three field goals against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night and was in position for a game-winner, but his 44-yard attempt with 11 seconds left barely missed, and the Rams lost 30-29 at CenturyLink Field.
“I thought it had a chance to come back in,” Zuerlein said, “but any time I swing like that it’s usually not a recipe for success.”
Zuerlein converted attempts from 47 and 32 yards in the first quarter and 36 yards in the fourth.
Gurley gets going
Running back Todd Gurley rushed for 51 yards and two touchdowns in 15 carries and caught three passes for six yards.
Coach Sean McVay got Gurley involved early in the game. He scored on runs of eight yards and one yard.
Throughout the first quarter of the season, McVay explained away Gurley’s limited use as a result of the rhythms of a game. He said multiple times that he had to do a better job of getting the 2017 NFL offensive player of the year involved.
Gurley carried the ball for nine yards on the Rams’ first play. By the the midpoint of the first quarter Gurley had five carries — as many as he had in the Rams’ 55-40 defeat by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday.
“It thought it was great,” quarterback Jared Goff said of Gurley’s early carries. “I thought it affected us positively.”
Inside linebacker Bryce Hager sat out because of a shoulder injury suffered against the Buccaneers.
Rookie Troy Reeder, an undrafted free agent from Delaware, started in Hager’s spot and made a team-best 13 tackles.
Rookie safety Taylor Rapp sat out because of an ankle sprain suffered against the Buccaneers. The injury prevented the Washington native and former University of Washington standout from playing before hometown fans.
Marqui Christian filled Rapp’s role and made three tackles.
Rookie defensive tackle Greg Gaines, a fourth-round draft pick from Washington, played as a backup to Sebastian Joseph-Day and made two tackles.
Rams linebacker Clay Matthews played for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll at USC.
When Matthews signed with the Rams in March, he turned a funny, Harry Potter-inspired line when asked if Carroll had wished him luck.
“Is that taboo around here?” Matthews said. “We don’t speak his name, like Voldemort?”
Matthews played against Carroll eight times during his 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, seven times in the regular season and once in the playoffs.
He recorded two tackles for losses in the regular-season games and had a sack in a 28-22 loss to the Seahawks in the 2014 postseason.
On Thursday, he had one sack and five tackles. He also drew a roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth quarter that kept alive a Seahawks drive.
Matthews, who had a career-low 3½ sacks last season, has six sacks this season, and 89½ in his career.
Paul Allen honored
The Seahawks held a pre-game ceremony to induct late owner Paul Allen as the 12th member of the team’s Ring of Honor.
Allen bought the team on June 30, 1997, after a public-private partnership was formed to build a new stadium, the current CenturyLink Field, to replace the aging Kingdome.
The previous owner, Ken Behring, threatened to leave the Pacific Northwest, and even moved the club to Anaheim for a week, where the Seahawks set up shop in the old Rams facility.
Credited with saving the Seahawks for Seattle, Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, oversaw the most successful stretch in team history, including a Super Bowl championship after the 2013 season. He died last October.
During his ownership, the Seahawks reached the postseason 13 times and won nine division titles.