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Gurley, Donald dominate as Rams steamroll Seahawks


Riding a career performance from Todd Gurley, the Los Angeles Rams raced out to a 34-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 42-7 dismantling of the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15. Here's what we learned in Sunday's crucial NFC West showdown:

1. Los Angeles' statement game heralds a changing of the guard atop the NFC West. Led by a dynamic Gurley, an unblockable Aaron Donald and a dominant special teams unit, the Rams steamrolled the division end boss, roaring out to the largest halftime road margin in franchise history -- and the second-largest such deficit Seattle has ever faced at home. Gurley outgained the Seahawks 158-59 by himself in the first half, calling it a day in the middle of the third quarter with 180 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns. Barring a faceplant against the Titans and 49ers in the season's final two weeks, the Rams will take home the NFC West crown for the first time since 2003.

2. The convincing nature of the Rams' victory will have an impact on the NFL Honors awards as well as All Pro balloting. Overseeing one of the most dramatic transformations in NFL history, Sean McVay should be viewed as the leader in the clubhouse for Coach of the Year accolades. After Russell Wilson praised Donald as the best defensive force in football, the Defensive Player of the Year candidate wrecked Seattle's offensive line to the tune of three sacks, four QB hits, two more tackles for loss, a forced fumble and countless pressures. A Comeback Player of the Year favorite, NFL touchdown leader (17) Gurley might just enter the MVP discussion as Tom Brady's competition after watching Carson Wentz and Antonio Brown suffer injuries. On pace to break David Akers' single-season record for most points by a kicker (166), Greg Zuerlein is in for an All Pro spot. The same can be said for game-breaking return specialist Pharoh Cooper, who bedeviled Seattle's return coverages for 180 all-purpose yards. As we've highlighted several times of late, John Fassel's special teams unit is a difference-maker entering January.

3. The Seahawks were undone by the same issues that have haunted them all season long: penalties, shaky offensive line play and a slow start for Wilson's imbalanced offense. After tossing a trio of interceptions in last week's loss at Jacksonville, Wilson missed key third-down throws early in Sunday's game as the Rams pulled away. As impressive as his fourth-quarter wizardry has been this season, Wilson's subpar performances with the playoffs on the line will inevitably undermine his MVP case. To maintain realistic hopes at reaching the NFC tournament, Seattle desperately needs a Tampa Bay upset over Atlanta on Monday night.


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