Posted October 29, 2013

Seahawks hold Rams with goal-line stand to win ugly on the road

Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams
In a game that was ugly from start to finish, even Golden Tate's 80-yard touchdown had room for improvement. (Michael Conroy/AP)

In a game that was ugly from start to finish, even Golden Tate’s 80-yard touchdown had room for improvement. (Michael Conroy/AP)

No championship team has a constant string of obvious victories. Every team, no matter how good, will have to find ways to win ugly away from home despite sub-par performances from key players and groups. And in climbing to 7-1 on the season, the Seattle Seahawks did just that. They looked in no way like the team many expected before the season to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, but if you’re of the opinion that wins are all that count, Seattle’s 14-9 win over the St. Louis Rams makes the books in that regard.

The game had a weird feel from the start. The Edward Jones Dome was half-full at best because most everyone in St. Louis was concentrating on the World Series performance of the Cardinals, who were also in town — the first time a World Series and a Monday Night Football Game crossed paths in the same city since 1986. And both teams played to that strange feeling.

Seattle had gained minus-1 yard at the end of the first quarter, quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked seven times and hit ceaselessly by St. Louis’ fierce front four, and a Seahawks run defense that is usually fairly stout gave up 200 yards on the ground over 37 plays — three fewer than Seattle’s offense had overall. It was only because of a defense that came up big when it had to, against Rams backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, that the Seahawks were able to escape with a narrow victory.

The crucible for the Rams came on a goal-line stand that ended the game. St. Louis had the ball for the final 5:41 of the game, and got the ball to the Seattle six-yard line with 46 seconds left on the clock. Given that the Seahawks seemed to have few answers for the Rams’ run game, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s playcalling from then on was curious, to say the least. After a Daryl Richardson run for four yards, Clemens threw incomplete to receiver Chris Givens. Then, another Richardson run for no gain that put the ball at the Seattle 1-yard line following an offside penalty on defensive end Chris Clemons, the Rams went with a Clemens pass to Brian Quick, which had no chance.

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That final drive summed up a night of missed opportunities for the Rams — they outgained the Seahawks, 339 yards to 135, and brought four drives inside the Seattle 15. But all they could amass were three field goals, and that final burst of futility.

“Well, the defense did a tremendous job,” Wilson told ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the game. “That was a huge stop right there [at the end]. You just keep praying that something will happen, and you keep believing in your guys. We found ways to make plays on offense when we needed to — we were struggling, obviously, and their defensive ends were coming all day. We were just able to find a way.”

As it has been through the last few games, the Seahawks were upended time and time again by a patchwork offensive line missing both of its starting tackles (Russell Okung, Breno Giacomini), and backups Paul McQuistan and Michael Bowie were not up to the task of containing Chris Long and Robert Quinn, the Rams’ defensive end combo. Quinn and Long may be the league’s best duo when it comes to quarterback disruption, and Seattle’s offensive line proved to be an easy mark. Quinn finished with three sacks, four tackles for loss, and five total quarterback hits,  and Long matched Quinn’s effort with three sacks of his own. Wilson rarely had time to run the Seahawks’ staple pass play — the play-action deep ball — because he was trying to avoid getting hit on every play. Thus, screens and simple slants were the order of the day. And running back Marshawn Lynch, usually the epicenter of Seattle’s power offense, was muted — he gained just 23 yards on eight carries.

“We’ve got a long haul here,” head coach Pete Carroll said of his offensive line. “We’re halfway through the season, these are the guys we’re going with, and we’ve got to fix it. We knew that these guys would be a difficult matchup for us, and it just didn’t work out as well as we’d like. Russell did an excellent job again — he was pounded all night long. You could tell that he did a better job of being aware when he was getting hit, and getting the ball to the ground. Not a great positive, but it’s an improvement.”

The Rams defeated themselves more than the Seahawks did — they committed eight penalties for 53 yards, and several of those infractions wiped out big plays and killed extended drives. Their yards turned into empty calories, and the Seahawks proved to be the kind of team you don’t want hanging around for too long.

Clemens, seeing his first serious regular-season action since 2011, fared decently for his inexperience in place of Sam Bradford, out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee suffered against the Carolina Panthers last week. Clemens threw two howling interceptions, and appeared to be off track with his receivers at times, but he did enough to avoid losing. And the Rams’ running backs — who still haven’t scored a rushing touchdown all season — did enough to win.

Until it counted, that is.

Meanwhile, Wilson proved once again that even under constant duress, he will find ways to make it work. He completed just 10 passes on the night, but two were touchdowns to receiver Golden Tate. Of course, even the one pure splash play the Seahawks had still looked uglier than it should have. When Tate made an amazing jackknifing adjustment to catch Wilson’s pass in front of cornerback Janoris Jenkins with 3:45 left in the third quarter, he hot-dogged it all the way to the end zone, almost running out of bounds and nearly getting caught from behind on what eventually became an 80-yard score. Carroll did not hesitate to speak to Tate about it when Tate hit the sideline.

“That has nothing to do with our football,” the coach said. “That’s not the way we want to play. He has at times demonstrated more maturity than that, and we said something about it. He’s a playful, wonderful, spirited guy, but that was not the right thing to do. He knew it, and he apologized to everybody, but it kind of washes away a fantastic football play.”

And there were not enough fantastic football plays on either side to go around. For the Seahawks, the relief is that after a stretch in which they played four of five games on the road, they have three of their next four at home, and a bye to break it up. As for the Rams, their 3-5 record is a painful reminder of what might have been.

42 comments
terrace420
terrace420

Lots and lots , ha ha ha , go troll elsewhere . This is hawks

News a win is a win , go hate on other teams. Whiner fans know how tuff rams can be ,

They beat em and tied em and whiners went to sb. GO HAWKS !!!!!!

DougL
DougL

How embarrassing for the Seattle OC. He should be fired. It's unnacceptable for a running team to only use your star RB 8 times in a game like this and instead allow your franchise QB to get pummeled over and over. That goal line series was ridiculous and the Seahawks were luck to get a td out of it. Lynch should have at least 1 carry in that.



CharlesTerrito
CharlesTerrito

And they're ranked in the top 5! how?  It seems like Wilson is average lately, their running game is not that good right now.All they have is a good defense. So, how do they keep getting ranked in the top 5?

friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

First Russell Wilson is having a Big Ben start to his career winning because of a great defence.. This is why i rarely rate players, ever situation is different, especially QB's whom face different scenarios good or bad and some rarly have to deal with the negatives base on the team they are on..

Last night's goal line stance is a perfect example of what i stopped watching the NFL except for a team or two... same reason i stopped watching baseball,  too many brainless in game decisions by coaches ,  i saw this in Carolina too often.. Why do teams even need D-coordinators, the inept play calling by opposing coaches is all the help your team needs.. (perfect example the Skins game.... if you get two gift touchdowns, that is the time to put your feet on the gas, especially if you have 25th rank defense... i turned my TV off after Shanny jr, ran the ball on 1st and 2nd down for two yards up by one touchdown at the 50 yard line putting you QB in a 3rd and long pass play... if you do not know by now i will tell you...  teams rarely win when the pass plays are predictable... third down should be a bonus down , not a down you intentially put yourself into...)These coaches do not adjust and rarely think ahead, once they install a game plan come hell or high water they are sticking to... lol

They only way i would come back as a full time fan, if 99% percent of college and pro football head coaches hired someone to make in game adjustments.. to say no coach that is a dumb idea try this....lol e.g., ... Seattle has a top rank defense, we are near the goal line Let's bunch everyone to together and try to run through a mass of bodies... lol you have two inclose shots , spread them and run you QB or back up the middle the last thing i would EVERY do is have an inexperience QB in shot gun, he is not manning or Brady. he did not have enough sense on the last play to give his receiver a chance, interception or not  

PurityPrydain
PurityPrydain

What?!  There's still defense in this pass-happy, arena-football-level-scoring NFL?!

Frotoon
Frotoon

The Rams have a history of playing Seattle tough. The Seahawks had a down day. Not sure this game was so surprising.

The Seahawks should coast through their next three games (TB, Atlanta, Minnesota), get Harvin and Okung back, rest up on the bye week... good luck to the Saints coming into Seattle after the bye week.

6marK6
6marK6

One week I feel for sure that the Seahawks are Super Bowl bound and then you have games like last night and you just get the feeling that offensively, they are very limited. 

Jake21
Jake21

The politics in the NFL are amazing. The Rams had the perfect opportunity to win the game last night if they had a competent back up quarterback. They had a 1st goal situation with less than a minute left in the game at home and couldn't get it done. Kellen Clements couldn't seal the deal, but Vince Young is sitting out here without a job. Why???

modsuperstar
modsuperstar

Seattle keeps squeaking out games to opponents the Niners are crushing. You can only keep winning by the skin of your teeth for so long Sneaky Pete. The Niners will catch Seattle for the NFC West lead.

DavidHarte
DavidHarte

Mediocre Seattle offense, at best.  And what in god's name was Jeff Fisher thinking?

Pathetic.

matt37
matt37

A win is a win.  But some are better than others.  I wouldn't be feeling good about this victory if I was a Seattle fan.

Rumrunner11
Rumrunner11

@DougL Yes, it was just a weird game.  Horrible O line play (thank goodness Okung will be back soon), but really bad play calls?  Want to protect the QB? Run that ball; do some quick slants off 3 step drops; screen passes.  If that wasn't bad enough, how about getting to the goal line and running it with Wilson TWICE - the guy you're trying to protect.


It was a real head scratcher game and easily their worst game of the season by a wide margin.  Losing Rice is tough, but I think it opens up more time for Baldwin, who has been their best receiver and in danger of losing snaps to Harvin.  They lose a big target with Rice, but the speed and route running should help make the offense more dynamic - once Wilson actually has time to throw....

GarySimonson
GarySimonson

@CharlesTerrito Here is why they are top 5:

Through Week 8:

Offense: Scored 205 points (25.6/g), 9th of 32 in the NFL. 
Defense: Allowed 125 points (15.6/g), 3rd


Rumrunner11
Rumrunner11

@CharlesTerrito One game........it was one game.  They're top 5 because they are #2 on offense, #10 on Defense and #6 ( I think) on Special teams.  They have one of the top running games in the NFL.  You're putting a lot of stock into one game, which admittedly was a horror show. 

DougL
DougL

@CharlesTerrito  Their running game is fine if the OC would call running plays. He almost lost this game for them.

Also,  most of these issues have to do with the seahawks weak offensive line but the coaching staff doesn;t do anything to adjust and make plays happen.

yadda71
yadda71

@Frotoon Saints have to go to Seattle and the 49ers are at the Saints. toughest game left on the schedule for both teams if you don't count the head to head match up in Dec.


pk_sea
pk_sea

@Jake21 Clements is a veteran and he did a decent job. I'm sure he had nothing to do with calling that last play and was doing what he was told. They should have ran the ball. 

modsuperstar
modsuperstar

@Jake21 Because he already burned his bridges with Jeff Fisher 5 years ago.

GarySimonson
GarySimonson

@modsuperstar  I don't know, the Seahawks crushed the Cardinals far more convincingly than the 49ers did (for anyone who watched the Seahawks/Cardinals game, you'd know it was much more of a beatdown than the already lopsided score indicated)

The Seahawks played the Colts much tougher than the 49ers as well, beating them in every important statistical category but unable to pull it out in the end. Meanwhile, 49ers were crushed by the Colts. 

And by beating Carolina on the road, Seahawks have a much more impressive road win than anything the 49ers have done.

As for the Titans, I wouldn't say the Seahawks "squeaked by" them. They won 20-13, but it would have been 20-6 if not for an unthinkably bad play to end the half where a short field goal. They had something like 200 more yards and dominated in every category.

I will definitely give you the Texans and Rams - the Niners crushed them while the Seahawks squeaked by. But you could easily counter with the Seahawks playing the Cardinals and Colts much better than Niners, and producing a road win against a very quality opponent (something the Niners haven't been able to do yet.

Why.
Why.

@modsuperstar Seattle keeps squeaking out games to opponents the Niners are crushing. True statement, different circumstances come into each game but it is a fair comparison to make. You know what is also a fair comparison to make? Head to head. Score of last game: 29-3. Beat up the Niners so bad they laid an egg the following week too. Against a team that Seattle went to the wire with. Be careful about making predictions without looking at the entirety of the schedule bud. 

Bamm7
Bamm7

@DavidHarte 

Jeff Fisher is probably thee most overrated coach in the last 20 years.

pk_sea
pk_sea

@matt37 It was ugly. From the holes in the O line to Tate taunting, there is work to be done. The veteran players need to hurry up and heal, otherwise Wilson won't make it through the season. 7 sacks? 

Fedorg4s
Fedorg4s

@matt37 let's put it this way when you lose you go back to the drawing board and fix it. It's kinda like that with a W in the column. 

With Harvin about to be back and when the tackles return Seattle's O will get clicking again, and that D is still amazing! So I'm not too worried as a Seahawks fan

Bamm7
Bamm7

@pandah462 @Jake21  

Jamarcus likes purple drank and donuts.  Vince Young knows how to win football games in the NFL

6marK6
6marK6

@pandah462 @Jake21 Vince Young was rookie of the year, All-Pro and led his team to the playoffs. So maybe idiots like yourself should know something before you speak.

GarySimonson
GarySimonson

@modsuperstar Correction to sentence above: 

*They won 20-13, but it would have been 23-6 if not for an unthinkably bad play to end the half where a short field goal attempt turned into a muffed snap that led to the Titans running back a TD as the clock expired.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@6marK6WAS rookie of the year.  WAS an all pro.   Every player has a past.  And that past has nothing to do with today.

pandah462
pandah462

@AllisGrace @pandah462 Oh, and you're not supposed to use "since" in place of because.  Since is supposed to be used as a reference of time.

pandah462
pandah462

@AllisGrace @pandah462 It was a joke, you halfwits!  High+hiatus=highatus  Make sense?  You know, because P. Harvin used to and may still like the sticky icky?  Duncecap.

AllisGrace
AllisGrace

@pandah462 Pandah:  Since you like to post as though you are more intelligent than everyone else you slipped up big time. I'll give you credit for spelling it the way it sounds, but you still got it wrong, doofus.