Golden Tate wasn't about to let any taunting come back to haunt him.
Throughout today's regular-season finale at Century Link Field, the St. Louis Rams were determined to make Tate pay for his taunting penalty he incurred late in the two teams' last meeting. There was constantly chippy play - a staple of this divisional matchup by now, but today brought things to a whole new level.
In the third quarter, Rams DT Kendall Langford was ejected from the game after making physical contact with an official. I say "physical contact" because though it didn't look intentional, it was still enough of a violation of the rulebook to earn the standard punishment. Langford's case was worsened after he threw his helmet on the field after the call.
That was just one example of the way the game went today. The Rams had 12 penalties for a total of 87 yards, and the Seahawks added seven of their own for 65 yards. The second quarter seemed to stretch on into eternity because of this. Head official Jeff Tripplette had his work cut out for him today, make no mistake.
Despite all this, the result for the Seahawks was a 27-9 victory. Save a few minor differences, it was the kind of game we've all been used to seeing from the Seahawks by now - power run game, suffocating defense, solid special teams. Nothing was overly flashy or overstated unless you count Golden Tate's career-best 129 yards on eight catches. Russell Wilson was held to 172 yards and a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch looked positively beastly, running for 97 yards and a touchdown of his own.
In short, this was the Seattle Seahawks getting back to Seattle football.
Consider this a huge boost of confidence going into the playoffs, because the next time the team plays, it will be in the same building against an opponent to be determined in two weeks, because the team earned a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. They are the #1 seed in the NFC, and the NFC West division champions yet again.
Anything can happen in the playoffs, but with a week of rest, the comfort of home, and the defense playing better than it has all season, the Seahawks are confidently rolling into the 2014 NFL playoffs.