No trick plays necessary for the Seattle Seahawks. A punishing defense was more than enough.
Wide receiver Sidney Rice provided early flash, completing a 55-yard pass to open the game, catching a touchdown pass and drawing a pass interference call to set up a field goal at the end of the half. Chris Clemons then took charge with three of Seattle’s five sacks and two forced fumbles on Sam Bradford in a 24-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
”Sam, he’s had a problem holding onto the ball this year, and we knew we’d get opportunities,” Clemons said. ”Our biggest thing was to stay focused and not give up on our rushing.”
The Seahawks (4-6) shut down Steven Jackson and then hounded Bradford, who had little time to operate behind a banged-up line. The Rams (2-8) were held to 185 yards, a season best for Seattle and the second worst showing of the season for the NFL’s lowest scoring team.
”Put the ball in the hands of Sam, the game kind of changes for everybody,” Clemons said. ”Sam is a very good quarterback and I think he’s got a lot of up side to him.
”With them reshuffling the offensive line it’s kind of different for him.”
Bradford has fumbled nine times this season, six of them resulting in turnovers.
”I’m beyond frustrated right now,” Bradford said. ”I’ve never been a part of a team that’s been in this situation. I don’t like it. I’m not going to quit.”
Marshawn Lynch scored for the fourth straight week, although he missed on a third straight 100-yard game, finishing with 88 yards on 27 carries.
”There wasn’t a lot of big runs out there,” Lynch said. ”But the runs that we had put us in position to keep the ball and keep things going.”
A dozen times, the Rams managed 1 yard or less on first down.
”One of the keys we talked about all week is if we were going to be successful, we were going to have to have positive plays on first and second down,” Bradford said. ”I feel like our production on early downs just put us in bad situations all day.”
The Seahawks won on consecutive weeks for the first time, following up on an upset over Baltimore, and have won 12 of 13 in the series.
”Oh, it feels great,” Rice said. ”We came out and made a statement last week and this week we wanted it to carry over and we came out and got the ‘W,’ but we’ve still got a long ways to go.”
Seattle improved to 2-4 on the road in a game notable for sloppy play and 19 punts, including a season-high 10 by the Rams’ Donnie Jones.
Lynch scored on a 3-yard run in the third quarter, five plays after Bradford fumbled at the St. Louis 25, and Justin Forsett broke several tackles on a 22-yarder on third-and-11 to clinch it with 4:21 to go. The clincher came three plays after Red Bryant intercepted a pass tipped at the line by Brandon Mebane.
Jackson had 42 yards on 15 carries to end a run of three straight games of 125 or more yards.
The Rams opened without starting tackles with Rodger Saffold (pectoral) and Jason Smith (concussion). Practice squad callup Kevin Hughes was called on to play after fill-in tackle Mark Levoir (pectoral) was hurt in the first half.
With under seven minutes to go in the first quarter, the Rams had two interceptions, a blocked punt and their first touchdown in the opening quarter since Jackson scored on a 47-yard run on St. Louis’ first offensive snap of the season against the Eagles.
After that, they couldn’t get going. A defense that totaled four sacks kept it close for a while, but the Rams never made it to the red zone and crossed the 50 only three times.
Seattle took a 10-7 lead on Steven Hauschka’s 19-yard field goal to end the half, one play after Justin King was called for interference in the end zone against Rice.
Rice executed a flea-flicker on the game’s first play, hitting Mike Williams in stride with a step on King for a 55-yard gain to the Rams 30. On the next play, Tarvaris Jackson was intercepted by Chris Chamberlain.
The Rams didn’t cash in on that turnover, but Quintin Mikell’s pick on the Seahawks’ next series set up Brandon Lloyd’s 30-yard touchdown catch. Lloyd fell down on his route and then sprang to his feet to catch cornerback Richard Sherman by surprise.
Rice made his second big play on a 14-yard catch that tied it 7-all midway through the second quarter.
The Rams’ 10 first-down snaps in the half produced minus-2 yards.
Notes: Rams LB Josh Hull (hamstring) was sidelined early in the first quarter. … WR Mark Clayton had a fair catch on a punt return for St. Louis after Austin Pettis (knee) was hurt in the second half. … Former LA Rams QB Vince Ferragamo was introduced on the sideline in the first quarter. … The last Seahawks player to get three sacks was Patrick Kearney Dec. 12, 2007 against Arizona.