Seahawks Insider Point After
Offensive player of the game: Running backJulius Jones had his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game, this one 140 yards on 22 carries (he had 127 last week), including a spectacular 29-yard touchdown run – spinning out of a scrum and getting a great block downfield fromMatt Hasselbeck that knocked out two players.
Defensive player of the game: LinebackerLeroy Hill was all over the field with 11 tackles, and nearly had an interception inside the 5-yard line.
Special teams player of the game: Olindo Mare continued to be almost perfect, making all four of his extra point attempts, plus field goals of 38, 38 and 28 yards. His kickoffs continued to be deep, and he has made all seven of his field goal attempts this season.
With six receivers down with injuries after starting the season 0-2 and the winless St. Louis Rams coming to town, the Seattle Seahawks had to come up with something special Sunday afternoon at Qwest Field.
It didn't have to be anything fancy… effective would do just fine.
So when quarterback Matt Hasselbeck began the game throwing darts to all of his receivers, it jump-started the offense, and running game took over from there to dominate the rest of the contest on the way to a 37-13 victory.
"I thought every facet of the football team had positives to it," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "Really, that is how we have to play to win. There were some great individual efforts, but I think what was most important to me was that every facet of the team contributed today to the win. They can all feel good about it."
The Seahawks pounded out 245 yards on the ground, led by the 140 yards from Julius Jones and 79 more from T.J. Duckett, as the Hawks defeated the St. Louis Rams for the seventh time in a row. Jones had a touchdown run of 29 yards, while Duckett busted into the end zone twice from 1 yard.
"We knew we had to play the game a certain way, I thought we did," Holmgren said. "When you challenge the players that way, and spread it out for them, you get to see what they are made of and who steps up. In the running game, we have worked very hard on improving our running game over last year, as you know. We did some good things. The offensive line, any time you get that many yards, they're doing something right. Duckett and Julius and Leonard Weaver, they all have their roles to play. They did a great job. I was very pleased with that part of it today.
Hasselbeck finished 12-of-20 for 172 yards passing, including a 10-yard scoring pass to Michael Bumpus, and Billy McMullen led seven Seahawks receivers with four receptions for 76 yards – tying his career best. Kicker Olindo Mare converted two field goals of 38 yards and one more of 28 to close out the scoring. Hasselbeck was particularly effective, twice making key scrambles on third down for first downs, as well as starting the game 7-of-9 passing.
"It feels great, it wasn't easy," Hasselbeck said. "This team is hard to prepare for. They give you a lot of different looks. We have struggled against them in the past. It took a lot of preparation, a lot of coaching and a lot of walkthroughs and pre-walkthrough walkthroughs. We got it done, though. Everyone did their work, and performed on Sunday. The statistics probably show that."
The Seahawks (1-2) had 407 total yards compared to just 240 for the 0-3 Rams, who got two field goals from Josh Brown and their lone touchdown came on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Marc Bulger to Dane Looker.
The 245 yards rushing by the Seahawks was the largest number on the ground since Oct. 16, 2005 when they rushed for 320 yards in a 42-10 win over the Houston Texans. Jones' 140 yards comes on the heels of a 127-yard effort last week, marking the first time a Seahawks back has had consecutive 100-yard games since Maurice Morris did the first two weeks of November in 2006.
"He is a great downhill runner," Hasselbeck said of Jones. "He is not as big as T.J., but he is a great downhill runner, he is a great inside runner, and the guys up front get energized and excited about that. We call smash-mouth, hit it downhill plays and they get going. You can see it after the play, the offensive line celebrating and clapping their hands, and they get going. I think it is a really good thing for our team."
The win moved the Seahawks to within one game of first place in the NFC West. They are off next week and then travel to New York on Oct. 5 to meet the Giants.
The Seahawks put the game away with a spectacular 15-play, 89-yard drive that ate up just one tick less than 9 minutes off the clock. A third of those 15 plays were on the ground, with Duckett carrying the ball the final 6 plays of the drive – the big one a 29-yard burst. It culminated with Duckett's second 1-yard touchdown run of the day.
That raised the margin to 34-13, and put the Rams on their heels for good.
Three plays into the Rams next possession, Grant intercepted a Bulger pass and returned it 31 yards to the St. Louis 33 yard line, and the Seahawks went right back into clock-burning mode.
Hasselbeck began the following drive with an 11-yard pass and run to Courtney Taylor, but three more runs from Duckett and they settled for Mare's third field goal of the game – this one from 38 yards – with 4:46 left in the game and the score 37-13.
The Rams scored on their first possession of the second half, the key play a swing pass from Bulger to Stephen Jackson, who broke three tackles on the way to a 50-yard gain before Grant knocked him out of bounds on the 5-yard line.
The Rams then went backwards, with an offensive interference penalty, and then a fumble by Jackson (caused by Julian Peterson) that Jackson recovered for a 6-yard loss. But on third-and goal, Bulger hit Looker for a 21-yard touchdown pass. It was the first touchdown of the year for the Rams and it cut the Seahawks advantage to 27-13 just less than six minutes into the third quarter.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, were busy working the clock, grinding it out on the ground with Jones and Duckett as the quarter came to a close holding a two-touchdown lead.
Second quarter Seahawks Insider at the Half
Seahawks 27, Rams 6
The Seahawks dominated the halftime statistics leading in total yards (267-63), first downs (15-5), and time of possession (18:00-12:00).
Matt Hasselbeck completed 8 of 12 passes for 121 yards and 1 touchdown pass for a quarterback rating of 127.4, with Billy McMullen's 3 receptions for 58 yards the big ones. Running back Julius Jones carried the ball 16 times for 96yards, including a 29-yard touchdown run and a 32-yard run on the final play from scrimmage of the first half.
Stephen Jackson led the Rams with 33 yards on 12 carries, while quarterback Marc Bulger completed 6-of-13 for just 39 yards.
Play of the half: Seahawks running backJulius Jones spun out of a scrum and rambled 29 yards down the left sideline, with none other than quarterback Matt Hasselbeck knocking out two guys with a cross body block at the end of the run to guarantee the touchdown.
Turning point: After the Seahawks had taken a 3-0 lead on their opening drive, and then Seahawks linebacker Julian Peterson blitzed and stripped Rams quarterback Marc Bulger of the football on the Rams third play from scrimmage. That gave the Hawks the ball back on the St. Louis 24. Six plays later, Hasselbeck hit rookie wide receiver Michael Bumpus with a 10-yard touchdown to make it 10-0.
The Rams took advantage of a miscue from Seahawks punt returner Bumpus, who misjudged a punt and fumbled it on the Seahawks 23. The Seattle defense was up to the task, however, holding the Rams offense to negative two yards on the drive. That brought on former Seahawks kicker Josh Brown to convert the 43-yard field goal, who put the Rams on the board with 13:26 left in the first half, with the Seahawks lead at 17-3.
That score was just a minor distraction to the Seahawks offense. They responded with an 11-play, 83-yard drive that required just 4:47. T.J. Duckett barreled in from the 4-yard line, with the big plays: an 11-yard scramble from Hasselbeck on a third-and-11, and two plays later Hasselbeck hitting McMullen with a 34-yard strike down the left sideline to the St. Louis 6. Duckett required only two runs to take it the rest of the way and provided the Seahawks with a 24-3 lead with 8:39 left in the first half.
The Rams got into the red zone for the first time this season with a 12-play, 60-yard drive. But the Seahawks defense held at the 11-yard line and St. Louis settled for a 29-yard Brown field goal, making it 24-6 with just less than three minutes left in the half.
But the Seahawks, although appearing content to run out the clock, had one more drive in them. Hasselbeck hit rookie tight end John Carlson for 16 yards, and then Julius Jones broke a draw play for 32 yards, setting up Mare's third field goal of the half – this one for 38 yards with 8 seconds left in the half. That allowed the Seahawks to take a 27-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Hasselbeck wasted no time getting the Seahawks going on offense following a 33-yard return of the opening kickoff from Josh Wilson. Hasselbeck mixed up some drop back passes with some play action bootlegs, hitting McMullen for a pair of big gains, with another to Bumpus in between for 19 yards. Jones mixed in a couple of good runs and they were suddenly at the St. Louis 16-yard line. But an incomplete pass in the end zone for Carlson and another to Jones in the flat – with a 6-yard run from Jones in between – resulted in a 28-yard Mare field goal.
The drive covered 57 yards on 9 plays to give the Seahawks a 3-0 lead with 11:19 left in the first quarter.
And that was just the start for the Seahawks, as they got the ball back a little bit more than a minute later on the Rams third play from scrimmage. Linebacker Peterson blitzed off the left edge. He stripped Bulger of the football and recovered it himself on the St. Louis 24. Six plays later, Hasselbeck hit Bumpus for a touchdown, the latter's first in the NFL. The big play of the drive was a 3-yard blast from Duckett on a fourth-and-1 from the 15-yard line. The 6-play, 24-yard drive was just a precursor of things to come with 6:44 left.
The defense stuffed the Rams for a 3-and-out, Bumpus provided a 10-yard punt return to get Hasselbeck the ball back. And it didn't take long, with Hasselbeck providing some unexpected spark. He scrambled for the initial first down, and then got them to the St. Louis 36 on a 22-yard pass on which Carlson made a diving catch.
Jones spun outside for 7 yards, then duplicated the feat out of a scrum to the outside racing down the sideline and the conclusive hit came on a diving block from Hasselbeck, of all people, taking out the final two defenders to complete the 29-yard touchdown run. That allowed the Seahawks to take a 17-0 lead into the second quarter.
This and that
Koren Robinson, with a sore knee, led the inactive players for the Seahawks, along with Brandon Coutu, Maurice Morris, Mansfield Wrotto, Red Bryant, Deion Branch, Doug Baldwin andSeneca Wallace served as the third quarterback. … Josh Wilson started at right cornerback in place of Kelly Jennings, who was nursing a fractured rib all week, but nonetheless came on the field in the nickel package. … Ray Willis continued to start at right tackle for Sean Locklear. … Defensive end Patrick Kerney came out of the game on the Seahawks first defensive series when he was poked in the eye. Darryl Tapp replaced Kerney. Kerney returned and played most of the afternoon. Kerney returned and played most of the afternoon. … Safety Deon Grant had his first interception of the season in the second half and should have had another that hit him in the hands in the fourth quarter. … Billy McMullen and Keary Colbert started at wide receiver Sunday. Neither was on the roster two weeks ago. … The Seahawks dominated the time of possession 34:58 to 25:02 for the Rams, highlighted by their 15-play, 89-yard drive beginning in the third quarter and ending in the fourth quarter that took 8:59 off the clock. Seattle had 24 first downs to 14 for St. Louis. … Floyd Womack injured his hamstring and Steve Vallos, also the backup center, replaced him at right guard late in the game.
Seattle now ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 166.3 (2nd NFC). They rank tied for second in the NFL with five rushing touchdowns. … The Seahawks' 46 rushing attempts tie for 11th most in club history and most since rushing 48 times versus Green Bay on 11/27/06. … The win marked Seattle's seventh-consecutive win over the St. Louis Rams. The streak ties a franchise record for most consecutive wins over one opponent. Seattle also had a streak of seven wins over the N.Y. Jets from 1977-83 and the San Diego Chargers from 1984-87. … With his 171st-career win (including playoffs) Holmgren tied Joe Gibbs for 10th all time. Bill Parcells is 9th with 183-career wins. … The 140 yards on 22 carries marked the fifth most yardage in Julius Jones' career. He has now played four-career games at Qwest Field (including postseason) and has averaged 144.1 yards/game. He has totaled 577 yards rushing and five TDs in four games. He currently ranks third in the NFL with 312 yards rushing. … T.J. Duckett had two touchdowns in one game for the first time in four years.