Seahawks-Rams: Seattle Survives in St. Louis, 24-19
The Seahawks might not want to make a habit out of this.
For the second week in a row, Seattle rallied from an early deficit, this time in St. Louis for a 24-19 victory.
The Seahawks withstood constant blitzing from the Rams defense and outscored St. Louis 17-0 in the second half to eke out their third straight win.
The Rams had a chance to go ahead with less than 30 seconds left in the game, as they stood half a yard from the end zone.
However, backup QB Gus Frerotte fumbled the snap on 4th-and-goal and was sacked by Darryl Tapp without getting off a play.
St. Louis had four shots at the end zone from inside the 10 yard line after Seattle kicker Josh Brown missed a 52-yard field goal that would have made it an eight-point game.
But the Seahawks defense kept the Rams from scoring, as they did the entire second half, taking advantage of an injury to St. Louis starting QB Marc Bulger.
Bulger left the game in the first quarter with a concussion and did not return.
Seattle coach Mike Holmgren made it known in recent weeks that the offense would rely heavily on the passing game.
That reliance cost the Seahawks in the first half, as the Rams defense attacked QB Matt Hasselbeck with multiple blitz packages.
St. Louis linebacker Will Witherspoon sacked Hasselbeck twice on Seattle's first possession, racing untouched up the middle for the first and beating tackle Walter Jones around the edge for the second.
The Seahawks gained just five yards total on their first five drives.
That drive ended in an interception in the end zone when receiver Nate Burleson broke off his route.
But the shotgun adjustment, integrated with Maurice Morris draw plays, allowed the Seahawks to neutralize the Rams' defensive scheme and score 17 points in the second half.
Seattle closed the gap to 19-17 midway through the third quarter on a nine-yard Deion Branch touchdown.
The big play on the scoring drive was a 45-yard draw by Morris that took advantage of the aggressive St. Louis defense.
The Seahawks then pulled ahead for good in the fourth quarter on a 10-play, 80-yard drive, punctuated by a Leonard Weaver run up the gut for six.
Branch finished with five receptions for 92 yards and a score. D.J. Hackett also contributed seven receptions for 70 yards, but he aggravated his sore ankle in the third quarter and left the game.
The Rams took a quick 2-0 lead in the first quarter when Adam Carriker bust through the Seattle offensive line and stopped Morris in the end zone for a safety.
After the free kick, running back Steven Jackson took a handoff and raced 53 yards through the right side for a 9-0 Rams advantage.
The Seahawks responded after the Jackson touchdown on the ensuing kickoff, as Josh Wilson stepped in front of Burleson to field the kick and zigzagged 89 yards up the field for the score.
Later in the first quarter, Burleson fumbled and lost a punt return at the Seattle 30-yard line. The Rams capitalized on the turnover and took a 16-7 lead on an Isaac Bruce touchdown catch.
After St. Louis added a Jeff Wilkins field goal, Seattle entered halftime trailing 19-7, but scored three points on their first drive of the third quarter to pull within 19-10.
The Seahawks' emphasis on the pass paid off in their previous two games, but it nearly cost them in this one.
Hasselbeck completed just 55 percent of his throws and was constantly under pressure. He was sacked five times and had to throw the ball away numerous other occasions.
It's a safe bet that Seattle' future opponents, starting with Philadelphia next week, will be watching tape of this game and devising blitzes of their own to disrupt Hasselbeck and the passing game.
Holmgren and the Seahawks will have to utilize a consistent running attack—one that's more than just a change of pace—if they hope to keep their winning streak alive.
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