Some how, some way the Seahawks improve to 7-1

Posted Oct 28, 2013

Despite being outplayed in most statistical categories, the Seahawks’ defense stopped the Rams when it mattered most to escape with a 14-9 victory on "Monday Night Football" in St. Louis.

ST. LOUISEarl Thomas prides himself on never getting tired in a game.

But after a 14-9 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Monday night, even the Seahawks’ All-Pro free safety had to admit that he was mentally exhausted and physically drained.

“This is the most physical game I’ve ever played,” said Thomas, slumped in front of his cubicle in the Seahawks’ locker room at the Edwards Jones Dome after leading the prolonged defensive effort with a team-high 10 solo tackles. “I’m mentally tired, I’m mentally drained and I’m physically drained.

“But I’d rather be that way with a win than a loss.”

The victory extended the best start in franchise history, and at 7-1 the Seahawks remain a game up on the San Francisco 49ers (6-2) in the NFC West entering the second half of a season that includes a December 8 rematch with the 49ers in San Francisco as well as a December 2 game against the New Orleans Saints (6-1) at CenturyLink Field.

But this latest road victory – the Seahawks’ fourth in five road games during the first half of the season – defied logic.

The Seahawks ran only 40 plays, compared to 71 for the Rams. The needed points came after All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted a Kellen Clemens pass and returned it 38 yards to the Rams’ 26-yard line to setup Russell Wilson’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate; and then an 80-yarder from Wilson to Tate when the second-year QB rolled to his right and flung the ball back across the field to Tate, his final option on the play.

“I’ve played in some close games before, but winning this game in that fashion against a very, very good defense … I think we just found a way,” Wilson said after completing 10 of 18 passes for 139 yards and the two TDs, but also being sacked seven times. “The defense just stepped up, and it’s always going to be a team effort.”

The defense limited the Rams to just three field goals. They managed to keep the Rams out of the end zone despite allowing 339 yards – including 200 rushing; 23 first downs; and more than 38 minutes in time of possession.

“We’re very fortunate to get out get out of here tonight (with a win),” coach Pete Carroll said. “The Rams played a great football game and did a lot of good stuff – ran the ball right down our throat. … We just couldn’t get going as an offense. Fortunately our defense hung together and gave us a chance to win the game.”

This one was not over until the last play of the game, when Clemens’ fourth-down pass to Brian Quick in the end zone fell incomplete. That drive had started on the Rams’ 3-yard line and they had a first-and-goal from the Seahawks’ 6 with 46 seconds left. On first down, defensive end Chris Clemons pressured Clemens into an incompletion. On second down, Thomas stopped Daryl Richardson after a 4-yard gain. On third down, linebacker Heath Farwell had the first hit on Richardson and Thomas finished the play for a 1-yard loss.

It was an odd finish to a bizarre game. But, in the end, it was another Seahawks’ victory – win No. 7, which ties the Seahawks’ victory totals from Carroll’s first two seasons as coach. And last season, when they finished 11-5, the Seahawks didn’t claim their seventh victory until their 12th game.

“This shows that we can win ugly ball games,” Sherman said. “I think we’ve showed that a couple games in a row now, that we can win ugly. That’s what it’s about. The championship teams are able to win the ugly games.”