LOS ANGELES -- As soon as Alec Ogletree realized that the possession was his, and that a win over the Seattle Seahawks was complete, and that this city could finally celebrate, the Los Angeles Rams linebacker dashed to the other end of the field, found his parents, Allison and Al, and handed them the football.
"I wouldn't be here without them," Ogletree said. "I'm definitely thankful to have them both in my life."
Ogletree's game-ending strip and recovery -- with less than a minute to go and the Seahawks only 35 yards away from a potential game-winning touchdown -- culminated the dominant defensive effort that made an emotional, enthralling 9-3 victory possible.
Fitting, too, that it was Ogletree.
It was Ogletree -- more vocal, more boisterous now that he is the middle linebacker and signal-caller for this defense -- who called a player's only meeting the night before this game. He told his teammates that they needed to stick together and put the misery of a season-opening loss on Monday Night Football behind them. Most of all, he told them to savor moments like these.
"You play the game long enough, you realize how fast the time flies," Rams defensive end Robert Quinn said. "Every game is important. You have to realize it. You want to capture the moment because you don’t want to say, ‘We should’ve done this better, that better.’ He was basically just challenging each other to live up to their potential and not play like we did earlier this week."
The Rams were playing their first home game at the Coliseum since 1979 and more than 91,000 fans showed up for it. The Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a pregame concert, CeeLo Green sang the national anthem, Magic Johnson and LeBron James joined a slew of celebrities in the stands and a collection of Rams Hall of Famers -- Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Tom Mack, Orlando Pace, Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood -- helped light the Olympic torch.
The fans, Rams coach Jeff Fisher noted, "were incredible."
Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh said: "I felt the ground shaking a couple times."
The Rams wore their popular throwback uniforms, sporting the royal blue and yellow they wore when they last called this city home. Quarterback Case Keenum made sure to take it all in as he made his way out of the tunnel and onto the field.
"Just to savor that moment and remember," Keenum said. "I'm going to write that stuff down because I want to remember that forever. It was cool. It was really cool. It may not have been the prettiest game, but it was a lot of fun."
Keenum went from 17-of-35 for 130 yards, with two interceptions, in a 28-0 loss in Week 1, to 18-of-30 for 239 yards, with zero turnovers in Week 2. The Rams' passing attack was a lot more vertical against a standout Seahawks secondary, with Keenum completing five passes of more than 15 yards. But the Rams have yet to get in the end zone, largely because star running back Todd Gurley has rushed for a combined 98 yards on 36 carries in two games.
The defense had to carry them.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson got hit nine times and called the Rams' unit "one of the hardest defenses we will face all year." Quinn recorded a fumble-producing sack to end the first half. Fellow defensive end Will Hayes, who said he was "ashamed just to even be around the city" after the season-opening loss, picked up a sack, too. Star defensive end Aaron Donald hit Wilson a team-leading four times and recorded two tackles for loss.
And then, at the end, there was Ogletree, launching himself toward running back Christine Michael to pry the ball loose and give the Rams the win they so desperately needed.
"Proud of the guys in the locker room, excited for our fans," Ogletree said. "It’s an amazing feeling to be out there today. It’s a historical moment, and I was glad to be a part of it.”