Seahawks defense stars in 24-7 win over Rams
The first quarter made Pete Carroll wince. Soon enough, the Seattle Seahawks coach was smiling.
In the first eight or so minutes, the St. Louis Rams had two interceptions, a blocked punt and their first touchdown in the opening quarter since the season opener.
''We came out and played so miserably,'' Carroll said.
The Rams (2-8) had only seven points, though. The rest of the way was all Seattle, especially on defense, in a 24-7 victory on Sunday. The misery was on the other side of the field.
''Nobody wavered at all, nobody lost their minds on it, nobody got down in the dumps about it, and you could just feel it change,'' Carroll said. ''You knew it was a matter of time before we got on top of this thing and got going.''
Chris Clemons had three of the Seahawks' five sacks and two forced fumbles on Sam Bradford, both of them leading to touchdowns. Seattle shut down Steven Jackson, too.
The Rams managed just 185 yards, Seattle's best showing and St. Louis' second-worst.
''We just have to keep fighting and get ready for the next opponent,'' Jackson said. ''Try to do a little more film study or whatever it is that's called upon you. Continue to fight, that's really what it is at this point.''
Wide receiver Sidney Rice provided early flash for Seattle (4-6), completing a 55-yard option 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 for a 10-7 lead.
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.
''They all don't start off the way you want them to,'' Lynch said. ''It's all a matter of how you finish it.''
Running behind a patchwork line, Jackson was held to 42 yards on 15 carries, ending a run of three straight games of 125 or more yards. The Rams opened without both starting tackles, with Rodger Saffold (pectoral) placed on injured reserve on Saturday and Jason Smith (concussion) out for the fourth straight week. Practice squad callup Kevin Hughes became a regular after fill-in tackle Mark Levoir (pectoral) was hurt in the first half.
Brandon Lloyd's 30-yard catch was the Rams' first touchdown in the first quarter since the opener, set up by Quintin Mikell's interception. That was it for the NFL's lowest-scoring team, which managed 1 yard or less a dozen times on first down.
''We're definitely having some issues on our first- and second-down plays and that's tough, especially with a team like Seattle, they have excellent pass rushers and an excellent secondary,'' Lloyd said. ''When you get in third and long and short passing situations, then that's where they thrive.''
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. They 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.
The Rams' game plan leaned heavily to four-wideout sets and empty backfields.
''We thought they might run the ball more because Steven Jackson had been running so well the past few games,'' Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill said. ''But they tried to spread us out and it worked in our favor.''
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.
The Rams' defense kept it close for a while and had four sacks, but the offense never made it to the red zone and crossed the 50 only three times.
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.''
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 L.A. 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.