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Seahawks go 8-0 at home, head into postseason
Russell Wilson slapped an exclamation point on his stellar rookie season on Sunday afternoon by running for a 1-yard touchdown with less than two minutes remaining to give the Seahawks a 20-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field.
Wilson also threw his 26th touchdown pass, tying the NFL rookie record set in 1998 by Peyton Manning.
Wilson's late heroics lifted the Seahawks to 11-5, and they will travel to the winner of tonight’s Dallas at Washington game next week in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
The victory allowed the Seahawks to achieve several milestones: They finished 8-0 at home for only the third time in franchise history, joining the 2003 and 2005 teams; they won 11 games, joining the 2005 (13-3) and 1984 (12-4) teams as only ones in franchise history to win more than 10; and they won their fifth consecutive game, which ties the 1986 team for the longest streak to end a season, is also the longest streak since winning five in a row in 2007 and ties for the third-longest in club history.
The Rams finished 7-8-1 in their first season under coach Jeff Fisher. They also failed to go unbeaten in the division (4-1-1) and missed posting their first winning record since 2003.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, but the Seahawks drove to the Rams’ 28- and 42-yard lines on their two first quarter possessions, only to go the wrong way after that because of three sacks of Wilson and a pass interference penalty.
Chris Clemons, the Seahawks’ Leo end, was very active in the first 15 minutes. On the Rams’ first possession, Clemons stopped Steven Jackson for a 2-yard gain on first-and-10 and then hit QB Sam Bradford as he was throwing on third down to force an incompletion. On their second possession, Clemons stopped Jackson for no gain on second down to help force another punt and a three-and-out for the Rams.
The Seahawks scored a touchdown on Wilson’s 28-yard pass to tight end Zach Miller. But a pass interference penalty on No. 2 tight end Anthony McCoy nullified the score and forced the Seahawks to punt after Wilson was sacked on two of the next three plays.
The Seahawks broke the scoreless tie on a 43-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka with 10:40 left in the half, but even that came begrudgingly as the “drive” covered 17 yards in five plays – despite the drive starting at the Rams’ 42-yard line because Johnny Hekker’s 33-yard punt went out of bounds and Marshawn Lynch breaking a 24-yard run on the first play.
The Rams then took the lead with six minutes left on Bradford’s 2-yard TD pass to Austin Pettis to cap an eight-play, 76-yard drive that got a huge boost on Bradford’s 37-yard pass to Chris Givens to the Seahawks’ 4 on third-and-5. Bradford was 5 of 6 for 55 yards in the drive, and also was 5 of 6 for 47 yards on a half-closing drive the ended with Greg Zuerlein missing a 51-yard field goal.
The Rams sacked Wilson five times in the first half, one more than the previous season-high on Wilson for an entire game.
The Seahawks took the second-half kickoff and drove 55 yards in seven plays to a 49-yard field by Steven Hauschka. The big play was Russell Wilson’s 49-yard pass to tight end Anthony McCoy on a third-and-2 play, as the Seahawks netted 1 yard on their other five offensive snaps.
The Rams took the ensuing kickoff and drove 60 yards in 11 plays to a 39-yard field goal by Zuerlein that made it 10-6 with 5½ remaining in the quarter. The drive included a 15-yard run by Steven Jackson and Bradford’s 8-yard pass to Austin Pettis on third-and-7.
The Seahawks regained the lead, 13-10, when Wilson passed 10 yards to fullback Michael Robinson for a touchdown to cap a six-play, 65-yard drive. The big play was Wilson’s 31-yard pass play to Golden Tate on third-and-5.
Wilson was 4 of 5 for 61 yards on the go-ahead drive.
But the Rams tied the score at 13 with 11:23 left in the quarter on a 25-yard field goal by Zuerelin to cap an 11-play, 52-yard drive that began at the end of the third quarter.
The Seahawks came back and drove 90 yards in 10 plays to a 1-yard scoring run by Wilson with 1:39 left. The big play was Tate’s leaping catch of a 44-yard pass from Wilson at the Rams’ 29. The Rams drove to the Seahawks’ 29 in the closing seconds, but Sherman intercepted Bradford’s fourth-down pass at the goal line.
Before he made his big catch, Tate recovered a Lynch fumble on the second play of the drive. Wilson passed and then ran the Seahawks to the winning score. Facing a third-and-5 from their 27-yard line on the game-winning TD drive, Wilson went to Tate, who made a leaping grab over cornerback Trumaine Johnson for a 44-yard gain to the Rams’ 29.
The quarter also included two big plays that did not count. Facing a third-and-9 from their 35-yard line, Wilson uncorked a deep pass that Doug Baldwin came down with for a 49-yard gain to the Rams’ 16. But a holding penalty on tight end Anthony McCoy nullified the play, and the Seahawks had to punt. Then, it appeared Clemons came up with a fumble-forcing sack of Bradford and Malcolm Smith returned the ball for a touchdown. But the officials reviewed the play and determined it was an incomplete pass.