Lost amid the Seattle Seahawks' controversial win earlier this week is how well they've been playing defensively.
That doesn't bode well for a St. Louis Rams team coming off its worst offensive performance of the young season.
Seattle goes for its fourth consecutive victory over the Rams on Sunday in St. Louis.
Looking to build on a 27-7 victory over Dallas in Week 2, Seattle improved to 2-1 on Monday night with a 14-12 home win over Green Bay. Golden Tate's 24-yard touchdown catch as time ran out came after a lengthy review by replacement officials, who ruled that Packers safety M.D. Jennings did not intercept the ball thrown by rookie Russell Wilson, even though the video seemed to show otherwise.
The NFL issued a statement Tuesday that Tate should have been whistled for offensive interference for pushing Sam Shields before wrestling with Jennings for the ball, but that there wasn't indisputable evidence to reverse Tate's second TD of the game.
"They called it and the league backed it up and game over, we win," coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday during his weekly appearance on a Seattle radio station.
The Seahawks, who last opened 3-1 in 2007, may have been the beneficiary of a botched call, but there's no debate about how well they've played defensively.
They're giving up a league-low 13.0 points per game and are fifth in the NFL with 10 sacks. Eight of those came against Green Bay, with four by NFC defensive player of the week Chris Clemons and two apiece from rookie Bruce Irvin and Brandon Mebane.
"I don't know how (Clemons) gets four sacks in one half," Carroll told the Seahawks' official website. "A tremendous job by those guys - and the two edge guys rushing, they feed off one another."
The Seahawks will face a patchwork Rams offensive line that's started a different combination in each game and won't have center Scott Wells (broken foot) and tackle Rodger Saffold (knee) back for several weeks.
St. Louis' Sam Bradford was sacked a season-high six times in a 23-6 loss at Chicago last Sunday, when the Rams (1-2) totaled a season-low 160 yards.
"We're going to have another week to work together and we'll continue to do the same things that we've been doing with these guys," said coach Jeff Fisher, whose team allowed just two sacks a week earlier in a 31-28 home win over Washington. "You coach them up. You put them in position where you think they can be successful and then you've got to adjust."
Bradford has had to adjust to the lack of protection, as 87 of his 95 passing attempts have not been thrown farther than 20 yards.
Danny Amendola could test the Seahawks' secondary - he's second in the league in receptions with 25 and tied for third with 296 yards - but Rams running back Steven Jackson could be slowed with a groin injury. After missing the final three quarters against the Redskins, Jackson totaled 29 yards on 11 carries last Sunday.
"I just wish I could have been more productive and help my team win," he said.
The Seahawks have leaned heavily on Marshawn Lynch - his 72 carries are second in the NFL and his 305 yards lead the NFC - as they've tried to ease Wilson into the league. Seattle has the fewest passing attempts (75) and passing yards (383) in the NFL.
"When (Lynch) does go down, he's getting tackled, he's not getting hit," Fisher said. "That implies that he's either, one, delivering the blow or, two, he's got great vision."
Lynch ran for 203 yards and two scores as Seattle posted two victories over the Rams last season, including 24-7 on the road Nov. 20.
The Seahawks have lost just once in their last seven visits to St. Louis, 20-3 on Oct, 3, 2010. That is the Rams' only victory in the last 14 matchups.
- Seattle Seahawks