The Seahawks are 7-1 after an ugly 14-9 victory over the St. Louis Rams Monday at the Edward Jones Dome, and extremely fortunate to have finished the first half on a positive note. Seattle needed a goal line stand on the game’s last possession to close out a night when its offense was almost non-existent.
The Rams ran seven plays in the red zone in the final 1:23, including five inside the Seattle six-yard line, but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. The final play, in which Seattle executed an all-out blitz, was a pass from quarterback Kellen Clemens intended for WR Brian Quick that sailed over his — and cornerback Brandon Browner’s — head as time expired.
“The defense did a huge job there, coming up with that stop,” said Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
The victory marked Seattle’s 15th in its last 17 meetings with the Rams, its 14th win in 16 games overall, and extended the best start in franchise history, which includes a 3-0 record in the NFC West. But it also showed that the Seahawks cannot get back starting tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini soon enough.
The Rams sacked Wilson seven times, a career high, three each by ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long. The pair so overwhelmed backup tackles Michael Bowie and Paul McQuistan that the Seahawks were limited to seven first downs and 135 net yards of offense, 80 coming on one play — a touchdown pass from Wilson to Golden Tate in the third quarter that was the game-winning score.
Wilson also threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Tate, but overall hit on 10 of 18 passes for 139 yards. Wilson couldn’t even scramble, gaining 16 yards on three carries.
“Their defensive ends were just coming all day,” said Wilson, who survived an 11-hit clobbering aside from the seven sacks. “Their defensive line just kept making plays. But we were able to come up with that big play at the end.”
Snapshot of Wilson’s night: In one sequence in the first half, Wilson dropped to pass five times and was sacked four times. Snapshot of the Seahawks’ offense: In their first 31 plays, they gained only 42 yards.
Marshawn Lynch might as well have not bothered to fly to St. Louis. He had only eight carries for a net of 23 yards, his weakest effort — through no fault of his own — since he gained 11 yards on six carries against Pittsburgh Sept. 18, 2011.
Seattle’s defense made the big play at the end and also came up with a pair of interceptions, but uncharacteristically allowed the Rams to rush for 200 yards, including 134 by rookie Zac Stacy.
The Seahawks were also flagged 10 times for 83 yards, including a taunting call on Tate that rated a sideline chewing out from head coach Pete Carroll.
“It’s not always going to be pretty,” said cornerback Richard Sherman. “You have to be able to win ugly.”
In the first quarter, Kicker Greg Zuerlein capped a seven-play, 30-yard drive with a 33-yard field goal, giving St. Louis a 3-0 lead. The Rams a chance to add on the next possession, but LB Bruce Irvin made his first career interception as the first period ended with Seattle having done nothing offensively. The Seahawks registered minus-one yard of offense in the opening quarter, the lowest in any first quarter since 2007.
Richard Sherman made his fourth interception at 8:18 of the second quarter, setting up the two-yard TD to Tate. Wilson had a 17-yard run during the drive, which St. Louis abetted by getting flagged three times on one play.
From the one-yard line, Wilson twice — inexplicably — ran read-option keepers with Lynch in the backfield.
Quinn dominated the first half with three sacks and a tackle for loss. The three sacks came up one shy of the NFL record for a half. Wilson completed six of 11 passes for 37 yards, and Lynch ran four times for eight yards. The Seahawks had 38 yards of offense while St. Louis had 131.
Zuerlein booted a 28-yard field goal at 4:01 of the third, slicing Seattle’s lead to 7-6, but Wilson then made the biggest play of the game, hitting Tate with an 80-yard touchdown. Tate was so jacked over the offensive breakthrough that he taunted the Rams DBS for the final 30 yards after his catch and received a 15-yard penalty, assessed on the ensuing kickoff.
Zuerlein kicked his third field goal, a 27-yarder, ending a drive that Seattle absurdly extended when a holding penalty on Browner on third-and-16 on play gave the Rams a first down. But in the Rams next-to-last possession, Zuerlein, after 14 consecutive makes this season, missed his first, from 50 yards wide right, meaning St. Louis’s last possession required a touchdown to win.
Starting from their own 3, they made it 95 yards. They needed 97.
NOTES: The Seahawks return to CenturyLink Field Sunday to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7), thrashed 31-13 in their last outing . . . Wide receiver Sidney Rice suffered a knee injury and and a blow to the head in the second quarter. He did not return to the game, and there was no immediate word on his condition.