St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford threw for 289 yards and a pair of touchdowns, lifting the Rams to a 20-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
By winning back-to-back games for the first time since 2008, the Rams ended a 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks, as well as a 15-game losing streak against NFC West opponents. The Rams have also moved into first place in the NFC West.
Bradford wasn’t perfect, but received outstanding efforts from wide receivers Mark Clayton (5-72) and Danny Amendola (5-46), who the rookie targets on 22 of his 41 pass attempts on Sunday. Rams wide receiver Brandon Gibson chipped in with three receptions for 50 yards, including a 15-yard strike on a 3rd-and-10 that gave the Rams a 7-0 lead they would not look back from.
St. Louis running back Steven Jackson, slowed by a groin injury and a stout Seahawks’ run defense, gained 70 yards on 22 carries, passing Marshall Faulk for the second-most rushing yards in franchise history. Despite the groin injury, Jackson turned in the game’s biggest offensive play, rumbling for 49 yards on a screen pass early in the 3rd quarter.
Three plays later, Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur dialed up another screen to beat an aggressive Seattle defense, with Bradford finding back-up running back Kenneth Darby, who followed his fleet of blockers into the end zone to extend the Rams’ lead to 14 points.
For the second consecutive week, the Seahawks’ offense struggled in the second half.
After totaling 174 yards of total offense and controlling the time of possession in the first 30 minutes, the Seahawks held the ball for under 10 minutes after the break. Seattle failed to convert on six third-down conversion attempts in the second half, leading to just 83 yards of total offense and a failure to advance the ball into St. Louis territory in the 3rd or 4th quarters.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was constantly under duress, completing 20-of-36 pass attempts for 191 yards. Three of Hasselbeck’s passes were tipped at the line of scrimmage, including one that was intercepted by Bradley Fletcher and returned to the Seahawks’ 3-yard line. Rookie safety Earl Thomas bailed the offense out, intercepting Bradford in the end zone to keep the Rams from putting points on the scoreboard.
Seattle’s offensive line was unable to keep the Rams’ pass rush from hitting Hasselbeck, who was sacked four times, including a strip-sack that led to the Rams’ final points. Seahawks first-round offensive tackle Russell Okung started at left tackle, but left the game in the 2nd quarter after his ankle become too sore to continue.
Seahawks running back Justin Forsett, who was expected to play a major role in the offense against a Rams defense that has struggled against the run, had a season-high 19 carries for 65 yards. Like the rest of the Seattle offense, Forsett disappeared in the second half, gaining just 16 yards on 8 attempts.
Newly signed wide receiver Brandon Stokley led Seattle with four receptions for 62 yards, moving the sticks on three of his receptions. Williams also had four receptions (for 32 yards), while Golden Tate added three receptions for 30 yards.
Seattle lacked execution on the most fundamental plays in their offense, so it’s not surprising that attempts at razzle-dazzle plays were a mixed bag.
Tate picked up 1 yard on an end-around in the first quarter, and fullback Michael Robinson, a college quarterback, completed a 28-yard pass to Leon Washington on a 3rd-and-1 play inside two minutes in the first half. When that drive stalled, instead of having Olindo Mare attempt a 51-yard field goal, punter Jon Ryan was allowed to attempt a running play to pick up the 10 yards needed for a first down on his own.
Ryan lost nine yards the play, providing the Rams with a short field to add three points of their own at the end of the half.
Seattle’s special teams units, which single-handedly won the Week 3 game against the San Diego Chargers, lost the battle to the Rams on Sunday.
Leon Washington averaged 26.7 yards on three kick returns, but his longest run was negated by a holding penalty, and the Rams employed a pooch kick to keep the ball out of Washington’s hands. Golden Tate averaged six yards on three returns, with a long of 18 yards. Seattle’s special teams units committed three of Seattle’s six penalties.
Rams punter Donnie Jones, a former Seahawks draft pick who jawed with Leon Washington prior to the game, pinned the Seahawks inside their own 20-yard line four times in the second half on Sunday, with rookie gunners Jerome Murphy and Mardy Gilyard providing excellent downfield coverage.
Linebacker Matt McCoy (3 tackles) and wide receiver Ben Obomanu (2 tackles) were solid in Seattle’s kick and punt coverage units.
Seahawks News & Notes: Chris Clemons had a pair of quarterback sacks, his 3rd and 4th on the season…A scoring change took a sack away from Aaron Curry and credited to Lawyer Milloy…Earl Thomas’ interception was his 3rd on the season…Will Herring notched his first career quarterback sack…Olindo Mare has now connected on 25 straight field goals…Running back Julius Jones was inactive on Sunday…Other inactives were tight end Anthony McCoy, offensive linemen Breno Giacomini, Allen Barbre, and Evan Dietrich-Smith, defensive linemen E.J. Wilson and Craig Terrill, and safety Nate Ness.