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Up next: St. Louis Rams
A look at the 3-4 St. Louis Rams, the Seahawks’ Week 8 opponent:
When: Monday, 5:40 p.m. PT, Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
Record: 3-4 after Sunday’s 30-15 loss to the Panthers in Carolina
Where they rank: No. 30 on offense (29th rushing, 18th passing); No. 21 on defense (30th rushing, 17th passing)
TV: ESPN and KONG 6/16, with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters
Series: Seahawks lead 18-11, but the Rams have won two of the past three games played in St. Louis
Star power: James Laurinaitis. With QB Sam Bradford on injured reserve after tearing the ACL in his left knee against the Panthers and all-time leading rusher Steven Jackson now in Atlanta, the pickings are pretty slim. But Laurinaitis is the Rams’ middle linebacker and leading tackler with 55, including 12 tackles and a sack against the Panthers. And the Rams’ second-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft is making a habit of playing some of his most-productive games against the Seahawks – nine tackles in St. Louis last season; 13 in St. Louis in 2011; 12 in Seattle in 2011; and nine in Seattle in the 2010 regular-season finale.
Unsung hero: Robert Quinn. No one in the NFC has more sacks than Quinn, and his seven sacks in seven games ranks him sixth in the NFL. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, because the 6-foot-4, 264-pound Quinn had 10.5 sacks last season. Three of his sacks this season came in the season-opening victory over the Arizona Cardinals, but the 14th pick overall in the 2011 NFL Draft also has two in the past two games.
On the spot: Kellen Clemens. With Bradford out, Clemens is in. He has started games before – three in 2011 for the Rams; and one in 2009 and eight in 2007 for the Jets. But Clemens is stepping for the player St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell has labeled the “$78 million face of the franchise.” And Bradford was off to the best start of his career – 61 percent completions (159 of 262), 1,687 yards, 14 touchdown passes with only four interceptions for 90.9 passer rating. By comparison, not to mention contrast, Clemens has completed 52 percent of his passes (198 of 382) with seven touchdown passes and 13 interceptions in 31 NFL games for a 62.2 passer rating. Monday night, he steps in against a Seahawks defense that is coming off a season-high seven-sack performance against the Cardinals and has held opposing quarterbacks to a 66.1 passer rating – second in the league behind only the unbeaten Chiefs (64.9).
Burning question: Can the Rams stop the run and run the ball against the Seahawks? The Rams have allowed three of the Top 7 rushing performances in the league – 175 yards by the Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray; 153 by the 49ers’ Frank Gore; and 141 by the Texans’ Arian Foster. Now comes Marshawn Lynch, who’s second in the league in rushing yards and has had at least 90 in four of the Seahawks’ seven games. The flip side is the Rams’ averaging 70.6 rushing yards a game and 3.2 yards per carry, and being the only team in the league without a rushing touchdown.
Numbers to know: 41-19, points allowed and scored by the Rams in the first quarter. … 6.8, Tavon Austin’s per-catch average on a team-high 29 receptions. … 4.2, Austin’s average on 20 punt returns. … 498, Rams’ rushing yards as a team, or 80 fewer than the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch has. … .309, the Rams’ conversion percentage on third downs, which ranks next-to-last in the league behind the winless Jaguars. … 18, sacks by the Rams, after they had a league-leading 52 last season.
Familiar faces: Backup QB Brady Quinn, signed this week after Bradford went down, was with the Seahawks in training camp. Backup OT Mike Person began the season with the Seahawks, but was released on Sept. 14 and claimed off waivers by St. Louis.
The last word: “We’ve been dealt a setback, but we’ll come around. They’re excited about having a chance to play Monday night against the Seahawks.” – Rams coach Jeff Fisher on the loss of Bradford