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.
Recapping this one, the Seahawks won the coin toss, but deferred. The defense then stopped the Rams after six plays, but Johnny Hekker kicked the Seahawks into poor field position with a 55-yard punt that Golden Tate fumbled out of bounds at the Seahawks’ 7-yard line.
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.
The Seahawks had 27 yards nullified by two penalties on right guard J.R. Sweezy – an 11-yard pass from Wilson to Luke Willson and a 16-yard run by Marshawn Lynch.
The Rams continued to keep the Seahawks on their heels to open the second quarter and had a first down at the Seattle 46-yard line. But Richard Sherman intercepted an overthrown pass by Clemens and returned it 38 yards to the Rams’ 26.
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.