INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Going against his former team for the first time, Bobby Wagner had one of the best games of his NFL career.
The only thing he couldn't do was deliver the Los Angeles Rams a victory.
The Seahawks rallied late in the fourth quarter for a 27-23 victory in a game during which Wagner had two sacks, an interception and seven tackles against Seattle on Sunday. The six-time All-Pro selection spent 10 years with the Seahawks, including their championship season in 2013, before he was released in the offseason. He wasn't a free agent for long, signing with his hometown team.
Wagner said throughout the week leading up to the game that he was keeping his emotions in check. There wasn't time to reflect with the Rams shorthanded, including Aaron Donald missing his first game due to injury.
"I'm a master of controlling my emotions and I controlled them very well during the week and the game," Wagner said. "Honestly, I felt like we had a lot of guys out. I wanted to try to provide a spark for the team and help us find a win."
It is the third time in his career that Wagner has had multiple sacks in a game. He has five this season, which ties a career high. He also had three tackles for loss and two quarterback hits.
Wagner's greatest impact came on back-to-back plays during the third quarter. On first-and-10 from the LA 36-yard line stopped Tony Jones Jr. for a 2-yard loss. On the next play, Wagner ripped the football away from Jones on a screen pass for the interception.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll thought Jones was down, but replay upheld the call. Walt Anderson, the NFL's Senior Vice President of Officiating, said in a pool report Jones did not have possession as he was going to the ground — and Wagner made a clean strip.
"He gets a pick on a play that we're still arguing about," Carroll said. "I can't wait to see him so I can argue to him, too, because I'm going to tell him he didn't catch it and he's going to tell me he did.
"Today to rise up like that and play like that, that's something he's gonna remember. So what else is he gonna do? Of course he's gonna do something like that, so hat's off to him."
Wagner and his teammates couldn't stop the Seahawks late in the fourth quarter as Geno Smith found D.K. Metcalf for the go-ahead touchdown with 36 seconds remaining. It is the sixth straight loss for the defending Super Bowl champions and at 3-9 guarantees their first losing season in Sean McVay's six years.
"I'm a winner and I want to win and so it didn't happen, so it's never really a good thing," Wagner said. "This is a game you should have won and you allowed a good team to make plays and they did."
Wagner met up with former teammates on the field before and after the game. Metcalf said it was fun facing the Rams knowing Wagner was lining up on the other side.
"He's one hell of a linebacker, hell of a competitor, and just great to go against him," Metcalf said. "He has all my respect coming into this game, but after this game, I've got much more respect for him."
McVay said the coaching staff and teammates knew how important this game was to Wagner. He also said he appreciates what Wagner has been able to provide on and off the field in the midst of a disappointing season.
"He is as consistent and steady as any player I've ever been around," McVay said. "I'm learning from him and I'm grateful because of the example that he sets."