Instant replay: A brief sketch of the Seahawks' victory over St. Louis
Posted by Jerry Brewer
Seattle Seahawks 24, St. Louis Rams 7
Why the Seahawks won: The formula is simple, if not easy to execute. Dominate on defense. Play solid special teams. Take advantage of turnovers. And manage to stay out of your own way on offense. That's basically what Pete Carroll wants from this team, and for a second straight game, the Seahawks did enough right to claim a victory. It wasn't pretty on offense, but the defense carried the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch made the most of the few holes that he found, rushing for 88 yards on 27 carries. Just like the Baltimore game, his yards per carry average (3.3) wasn't impressive, but the commitment to the run helped the Seahawks play ball-control offense. Despite losing right tackle James Carpenter and right guard John Moffitt to knee injuries over the past week, the Seahawks were able to run for 126 yards. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson didn't play well (14 of 24 for 148 yards and two interceptions), but he threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice to tie the game at 7. The Seahawks won despite committing 13 penalties for a second straight week.
Why the Rams lost: It's pretty clear -- their offense was a disaster. The Rams (2-8) gained only 185 yards against the Seahawks. Quarterback Sam Bradford completed 20 of 40 passes for just 181 yards. Running back Steven Jackson rushed for just 42 yards.
Key play: With the Seahawks clinging to a 10-7 lead in the third quarter, defensive end Chris Clemons sacked Bradford and forced a fumble. Defensive tackle Clint McDonald recovered it and tried to run, but St. Louis' Adam Goldberg knocked the football out of his hands. Fortunately, Roy Lewis recovered the previously recovered fumble at the St. Louis 25-yard line. It led to a three-yard touchdown run from Lynch. The Seahawks now had a commanding 17-7 lead, which was insurmountable for the Rams' putrid offense.
Player of the game: The entire Seahawks defense. Led by Red Bryant, the Seattle D dominated this game. The Rams are far from explosive, but the Seahawks demoralized them on the road simply by playing sound and physical and by forcing three turnovers, including a Bryant interception. The Seahawks gave up that lone touchdown partly because a Jackson interception put the defense in a bad position. Defensive end Chris Clemons contributed three sacks and two forced fumbles. Linebacker Leroy Hill had a sack. Bryant and Roy Lewis each had a half sack. The Seahawks, who entered the game with the third-fewest sacks in the NFL (14), finished with five sacks in this game. Credit their defensive backs' solid coverage for some of that. All around, it was an impressive defensive performance.
Shame of the game: Jackson threw interceptions on his first two passes of the game. The second pick led to a 30-yard touchdown pass from Bradford to wide receiver Brandon Lloyd for a 7-0 St. Louis lead. Obviously, against good teams with potent offenses, Jackson can't throw away the first two possessions of a road game. He's fortunate that those mistakes didn't hurt the Seahawks more in this game.
What this means in the big picture: The Seahawks (4-6) are on a two-game winning streak. It's the first time they have won consecutive games this season. It's only the third time they have done so in Carroll's short time in Seattle. Early last season, they defeated Chicago and Arizona back to back and began the 2010 campaign with a 4-2 record. And at the end of the year, they beat the Rams in the regular-season finale to make the postseason and upset the New Orleans Saints in the opening round of the playoffs. This is the manageable portion of the Seahawks' schedule, and it's encouraging to see them play well against teams that they should make them look good. It's a tangible sign of progress. You don't hang banners for this, but the young Seahawks are improving.
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