The Los Angeles Rams were very much the walking wounded on Saturday, but they walked out of their NFC Super Wild Card Weekend showdown in Seattle with a victory.
Jared Goff did not start Saturday's playoff game against the Seahawks, but the Rams' postseason was extended despite his ailing right thumb. Goff came on in relief of starting quarterback John Wolford and the Rams defeated the Seahawks, 30-20, despite some significant injuries, including a rib ailment sustained by Aaron Donald.
Wolford briefly was transported to a local hospital for precautionary measures after he suffered a neck injury on a shot to his helmet in the first half, but he was back in the locker room after the game, coach Sean McVay told reporters. McVay added it appears Wolford suffered a stinger and "it's trending in the right direction." Wolford was smiling and celebrating with the team after returning from the hospital, per McVay.
Goff had everyone smiling as he piloted the offense on four scoring drives -- five if you count when he first entered the game and was sacked ahead of a field goal. Though he completed just 9 of 19 passes for 155 yards, Goff threw a touchdown to Robert Woods, had zero interceptions and even handled a quarterback sneak (though it came up short).
"Jared did a great job, he's our quarterback," McVay said, via ESPN's Lindsay Thiry.
Though McVay proclaimed Goff as "our quarterback," he did not name a starting quarterback for the Divisional Round. McVay indicated he needed to see how Goff's thumb checked out following the day's action.
The negative injury news didn't end with Wolford for the Rams, as Donald injured his ribs in the third quarter and did not return to action. After leaving for the locker room under his own power, Donald returned to the sidelines but not the playing field. McVay provided no details on his injury after the game.
The injury occurred on a Donald hit of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and the star defender came up grabbing his right side after the play.
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp walked to the locker room late in the game with an apparent injury, but NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported all indications were it was a knee contusion and Kupp "should be fine."
Midway through L.A.'s second possession of the game, Wolford took a blow to the head from Seahawks safety Jamal Adams during a scramble and soon headed to the locker room. Wolford was later seen in an ambulance for transport to a local hospital. Wolford walked to the stretcher before he was placed in the ambulance, per the AP.
The sudden turn of events prompted the insertion of Goff, who didn't start the wild-card game after furiously rehabbing his surgically-repaired thumb. He and Wolford were the Rams' only two active quarterbacks, leaving punter Johnny Hekker as the emergency third option, per the FOX broadcast.
"My thumb is fine and I'm not going to make an excuse for anything that didn't go my way today," Goff told reporters, adding that he had screws put in 12 days ago and, admittedly, that the thumb is not 100%.
Goff's first series included just one play from scrimmage: A sack, yet resulted in a field goal for the game's first points. His tender thumb in the cold Seattle air is expected to present its challenges, less than two weeks after he fractured his throwing thumb in the same building. The Rams lost that game to Seattle, which saw their franchise QB struggle before his thumb collided with the helmet of a Seahawks defender.
Goff subsequently sat out the team's playoff-clinching victory against the Cardinals last week, his first missed start since 2017.
Leading into Saturday, it was unknown who would start between Wolford and Goff until not that long before kickoff, but McVay told the media after the win that he made the decision "last week."