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Seahawks escape with 14-9 victory over Rams
ST. LOUIS – Whew. The Seahawks are 7-1, but that seventh victory did not come easily.
The Seahawks escaped with a 14-9 victory over the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on Monday night in a game that was not decided until Kellen Clemens’ fourth-down pass into the end zone fell incomplete on the final play of the game.
The Seahawks’ offense did just enough, and the defense did more than could be expected on “Monday Night Football.”
The victory extended the best start in franchise history. It also kept the Seahawks a game up on the San Francisco 49ers (6-2) in the NFC West entering the second half of the season that includes a Dec. 8 rematch with the 49ers in San Francisco as well as a Dec. 2 game against the New Orleans Saints (6-1) at CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks held the ball for only four plays on a possession that also included two penalties against the Rams and one on the Seahawks. Jon Ryan’s 37-yard punt gave the Rams the ball at the Seahawks’ 46. The Rams took advantage on a 33-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein with 4:37 left in the quarter. The big gain on the seven-play, 31-yard drive was Kellen Clemens’ 26-yard pass to Austin Pettis on third-and-9.
The Rams were driving again, but Bruce Irvin intercepted a Clemens pass at the Seahawks’ 15.
NFC sack-leader Robert Quinn and Williams Hayes had sacks on Russell Wilson in the opening quarter, but the Rams defense came after the Seahawks’ QB in a variety of ways and gave him no time to find his receivers.
Sherman’s interception, his fourth of the season, was vital because the Seahawks had few answers for what the Rams were doing on defense and offense. So Sherman’s pick and return – with an assist from a big block by strong safety Kam Chancellor – helped out both units. It stopped another Rams drive and gave the offense field position it had not been able to generate.
It wasn’t easy, but the Seahawks scored on Wilson’s 1-yard pass to Golden Tate with 5:37 left in the half on a third-and-goal play. Wilson ran for 17 yards on the second play of the drive, but also was stopped for no gain and a 1-yard loss before throwing the TD pass to Tate.
Quinn had sacks on Wilson on back-to-back plays at the end of the half. The Rams’ defensive end beat center Max Unger on the first and left tackle Paul McQuistan on the second – giving him three in the first half. The sacks were a glaring indication of just how much pressure Wilson was under the entire half.
The Seahawks went three-and-out twice to open the second half, with Russell Wilson being sacked for the fifth and sixth times in the game. And the Rams also had a three-and-out.
Quicker than you could say Golden Tate, however, Wilson rolled to his right and flung a pass back to Tate on the left side for a touchdown that made it 14-6 with 3:45 left in the quarter. Tate also was penalized 15 yards for taunting because he was waving as he ran toward the end zone, and it was assessed on the kickoff.
The Seahawks had 42 yards of offense before picking up 80 on that one play – and extending their lead to eight points just after the Rams had cut it to one.
An 11-play, 69-yard drive that began at the end of the third quarter ended with Greg Zuerlein kicking his third field goal, this one a 27-yarder that made it 14-9 with 12:51 left in the game.
After the Seahawks’ third three-and-out of the second half, Zuerlein missed a 50-yard field goal attempt – that’s the same Greg Zuerlein who kicked 60-, 58- and 48-yard field goals against the Seahawks at the Edward Jones Dome last season. The Seahawks did not take advantage, however, as Chris Long got to Russell Wilson on third down for the Rams’ seventh sack.
The Rams then drove 96 yards against a weary Seahawks defense, but Clemens’ fourth-and-goal pass was incomplete on the final play of the game.
With the game on the line – literally – Earl Thomas stopped Daryl Richardson for a 1-yard loss on third down to set up Clemens’ final incomplete pass. Thomas also had three other tackles on the last possession.