SEATTLE -- In the minutes before halftime of a closely contested matchup against the division rival Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night, the Los Angeles Rams briefly held their breath as they watched quarterback Matthew Stafford work with trainers and test the index finger on his throwing hand.
To their relief, Stafford took the field for a final knee before the half, then led four scoring drives after the break to give the Rams a 26-17 victory at Lumen Field.
After the game, Stafford expressed uncertainty about what happened to his finger.
"I looked down at a certain point on the drive in the second quarter -- the one we kicked the field goal on -- and I just looked down, felt a little pressure, maybe got it on a hand off or a snap or something like that," Stafford explained. "Felt a little pressure in there and it was just a little bit out of place and was able to put it back in and keep going. It didn't affect me too much, to be honest with you."
When asked if he felt any pain in his finger, Stafford said, "No, I mean, not really. I'll be alright."
And when Stafford, who has played through myriad injuries to his throwing hand and body in 13 seasons, was asked if he was bound to say that about his latest ailment regardless of how it felt, he chuckled.
"It's worked for me so far," he said, smiling.
Despite an uneven first half that included an interception and several miscues with his receivers, Stafford completed 25 of 37 passes for 365 yards and a touchdown.
"He's a heck of a quarterback, he's playing good football, even when there's ups and downs, he finds a way to still make good throws and make good decisions that put us in position to score points," said defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who sacked quarterback Russell Wilson once and became the Rams' all-time sack leader. "Like I always said, happy he's on our team."
After a quiet four games for receiver Robert Woods, who entered Thursday with 15 catches and two touchdown receptions on 25 targets, Stafford established a connection with the ninth-year pro.
Woods caught 12 passes for 150 yards, and said after the game that he had an inkling that he would play a larger role in the offense after he initiated a meeting with coach Sean McVay earlier in the week.
"Had a little talk, just trying to get involved in the offense, me and McVay spoke, said he was going to get me some touches, was able to find the ball," said Woods, who had season-highs in targets, receptions and yards.
"It was the most unselfish call you could get from a player," McVay said about his conversation with Woods. "It was a pretty cool thing to show the maturity, leadership and composure that he possesses ... and I thought it was great for Matthew and Robert to show that rapport."
Woods earned a game ball for his effort.
The Rams improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in division play as they go into a long weekend. Next Sunday, they will travel to face the New York Giants.
"We'd love to be 5-0," Stafford said. "But we are where we are and I think the fun thing is being 4-1 and knowing that my best game of football hasn't been played yet."