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Rams DE William Hayes dragged the Seahawks back to Earth

Someone forgot to tell Williams Hayes and the Rams defense that their team had nothing left to play for this season. They ended up beating the hottest team in the NFL thanks to a Hoss-worthy performance from the veteran defensive end.

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Rams defensive end William Hayes had himself a day against the Seahawks on Sunday. The Rams were already assured of not having a winning season before the game, but here was a guy who only had 2.5 sacks on the season heading into Week 16, more than doubling his sack output with one game. Not only did Hayes end the game with either 3 or 3.5 sacks (pretty sure one of his half sacks may be turned into a full sack after film review), but he accomplished this while taking down Russell Wilson, one of the league's most elusive quarterbacks, maybe in in NFL history.

In addition to his production as a pass rusher, Hayes also wound up with six other total tackles by my count, including two tackles for a loss. Hayes and his backup, Chris Long, were platooning at left defensive end all game, so he stuffed the stat sheet like that whilst only playing just a little over half of the snaps.

Seattle right tackle Gary Gilliam got his ass kicked all day long. Hell, some of Hayes better pass rushes didn't even show up on the stat sheet because he'd beat Gilliam around the corner (again), but Wilson would either take off running or somehow find a way to complete a pass even while under extreme duress. The moves he used when he came home with sacks weren't too shabby either.

On Hayes' first shared sack of the game, midway through the second quarter, the Rams had a blitz coming that called for him to line up outside of Gilliam then stunt inside of him on the snap. Meanwhile a linebacker, in this case Akeem Ayers, looped to the outside for a contain rush.

Hayes was able to get under Gilliam with his rip move and beat him inside and up the field to put immediate pressure on Wilson. Once the quarterback felt the pressure from both Hayes and the unblocked Ayers he tried to escape out the back door, but he just couldn't get away from either guy as they both got to him simultaneously to split the sack. There just wasn't anywhere for Wilson to escape on third-and-8. That sack forced Seattle to end the drive with a punt.

The Rams scored their first offensive touchdown on the first and only play of the ensuing drive to take a 16-0 lead.

On his first full sack of the game, the Seahawks tried to let tight end Cooper Helfet block Hayes one-on-one on a play action pass for some reason.


Hayes walked Helfet right back to Wilson, then ripped off inside of to take Wilson down again before he even knew what hit him.

On Hayes' second shared sack, which I think should maybe count as a full sack, the Seahawks were facing a second-and-8 all the way down at the Rams' 15-yard line with a little over nine minutes left in the third quarter. If you didn't know, Hayes is mostly a power rush guy, so that's exactly what he came with on this play. He got into Gilliam's chest and bull rushed him back a few steps before finishing with a rip to escape off the block. Wilson zigged when he should've zagged, trying to avoid the rush and ended up losing 10 yards in the process as Hayes and his teammate, Eugene Sims, got him on the ground. Hayes was undoubtedly there first, and while Sims finished him off, Wilson never broke free of Hayes' grasp.

At least that would be my argument if I were Hayes. I'm just saying.

Hayes' second (or third) full sack came in the fourth quarter with the Seahawks down, 23-10, and facing a second-and-10 with very little time left to make up the deficit. This time Hayes again started off with a bull rush into Gilliam's chest, but instead of using a rip move to escape off the block, he actually used an arm-over which proved to be just as effective. Hayes was once again on Wilson so quickly that he simply couldn't avoid the collision, going down for a loss of another six yards.

Why the Seahawks didn't get Gilliam some help all game is one of the mysteries of the universe. It also didn't help their prospects of winning that game at all.

I know that some fans think when players know they have been knocked out of the playoffs they will just "give up," but that simply isn't true as this effort by Hayes reminds us. Guys have too much on the line to just roll over and play dead, not the least of which is making sure they aren't putting bullshit on film for other prospective employers to see should their current team use that high draft pick the following spring to replace them. This is Hayes' eighth year in the league, and he's a free agent after this season.

That's how you get a Rams team that knows they can only finish .500, at best, finding a way to dominate a division foe that is actually is headed to the playoffs and had been on one hell of a hot streak headed into last Sunday. All those plays William Hayes made definitely helped the Rams pull off that upset and was just damned impressive no matter what was on the line in that game. That is why he was an easy choice for my Hoss Of The Week for Week 16.

Fuck your draft positioning.