Sidestepping another road block

Posted Nov 29, 2009

Pretty it wasn’t, but the Seahawks found an unorthodox way to finally win on the road in their 27-17 victory over the Rams in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS - No one wanted to make more out of the Seahawks’ 10-point victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday than what was there.

“Nobody will call it pretty, expect the guys in that locker room,” is the way coach Jim Mora put it after the Seahawks emerged with a 27-17 win at the Edward Jones Dome.

But it was a win, on the road – a victory that allowed the 4-7 Seahawks to match the team’s win total from last season and snapped a six-game road losing streak.

It also was a win over a now 1-10 team that was playing without its starting quarterback and the right side of its offensive line. But the Rams will get no sympathy from the Seahawks, who host the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday at Qwest Field.

One week after rushing for a franchise-low 4 yards in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Seahawks not only rushed for a season-high 170, the running game outgained the passing game (102). Justin Forsett ran for 68 yards in the fourth quarter to finish with 130 – and two touchdowns.

Josh Wilson intercepted a pass that was tipped by fellow cornerback Kelly Jennings and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. Olindo Mare, who was criticized in September after missing two field goals in a six-point loss to the Chicago Bears, hasn’t missed since – including 29- and 38-yarders against the Rams that ran his string to 16 in a row, tying the franchise record.

The defense – led by a 13-tackle performance from free safety Jordan Babineaux – weathered the thundering thighs of Steven Jackson, the NFC’s leading rusher. Jackson got 89 yards, but it took 23 carries for a 3.9-yard average. They also turned up the heat on Kyle Boller, who was starting for the injured Marc Bugler. The Seahawks sacked Boller four times and applied more pressure than they were able to in recent road losses to Brett Favre and the Vikings and Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals.

Pretty? Maybe not. But needed for a team that last won on the road here last December? Definitely.

“I don’t want us to make it more than it is,” Mora said. “We accomplished our objective – we went on the road and we won a game. Now, we’ve got to go home and win. We’ve got to go find a way to bet the San Francisco 49ers.”

As for the pass rush, defensive end Darryl Tapp offered, “We had a major sense of urgency.” In addition to the sacks from David Hawthorne, Leroy Hill, Patrick Kerney and Cory Redding, the Seahawks hit Boller a season-high 13 times.

As for Wilson’s interception return, which provided a 10-point swing in the second half, he smiled and said, “I was looking at Kelly and saw the ball come off his hand. That’s when I thought, ‘The ball is coming straight to me.’ I was like, ‘Hurry up. Hurry up.’ Because I knew it was going to be a race to the end zone.”

As for Forsett’s little-big-man performance, center Chris Spencer pointed out, “Justin is a smaller guy back there. He can piggyback behind the linemen and it’s hard for the defense to find him.”

And when they did, Forsett more often than not made the defenders miss.

“The fullbacks and the line did a great job today,” Forsett said. “We’re all just striving to find some consistency in this league.”

As for Mare’s steadiness since being called out by Mora in Week 3, his coach said, “Olindo is having a tremendous year. The guy responded like a champion to the criticisms I leveled at him.”

That’s what this day – and this game – was all about. There was nothing overly stunning, but just enough to finally get a win on the road for a team that continues to strive for improvement and consistency.