ST. LOUIS (AP)—The toughest part of Joe Jurevicius’ biggest day in the NFL had nothing to do with filling in as a starting wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks. It was the bus ride past the hospital where his son died that was tough to take.
Jurevicius caught a career-best nine passes for 137 yards and a touchdown in Seattle’s 37-31 victory Sunday over St. Louis. On the way to the game, the Seahawks drove past the hospital where Jurevicius’ young son, Michael William, died of a neurodegenerative disease in 2003.
And the memories flooded back.
“This is a hard place for me to play,” said Jurevicius, who helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl a few weeks before.
“On my touchdown, I wrote a little ‘M’ in the grass and threw the ball up to him,” he said. “So psychologically, I’ve been through worse but it’s rewarding.”
The Seahawks snapped a four-game losing streak against the Rams that included a first-round playoff loss last season. Shaun Alexander ran for 119 yards a pair of scores and Matt Hasselbeck threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns, and Seattle (3-2) moved into first place in the NFC west.
“This is not being said with any disrespect, but we expected to win this game,” Hasselbeck said. “That’s what we expected to do.”
Steven Jackson had 79 yards rushing and a touchdown and 62 yards receiving for the Rams (2-3), who couldn’t keep pace due to a porous defense that has surrendered 81 points the last two games. Chris Johnson returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a Rams touchdown, the team’s first runback in five seasons, but it was all downhill from there for St. Louis.
Rams coach Mike Martz was on the sideline calling plays after missing two practices last week while undergoing tests for a bacterial infection of a heart valve, and began taking antibiotics Friday. In retrospect, Martz said he should have allowed offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild to run the show.
“I wasn’t myself this week, the game plan wasn’t clear for me,” Martz said. “It’s over with now but I just feel what happened to me has affected this team, and that breaks my heart.”
The Seahawks totaled 433 yards in total offense to hand the Rams a rare home loss. St. Louis is 40-10 at home since 1999, the best in the NFL.
Seattle clinched the win when Rams punt returner Shaun McDonald fumbled with 2:51 to go, and Jean-Phillippe Darche recovered it for Seattle at the St. Louis 37. The Seahawks drove to the 8 at the two-minute warning and, with the Rams out of timeouts, ran out the clock.
Terry Fair had been returning punts in his first game of the season, but had asked out because he was winded from playing defense.
“I was just thinking maybe I should have stayed in there,” Fair said. “Maybe I let my teammates down a little bit.”
Jurevicius entered the game with seven catches but had no trouble finding openings. D.J. Hackett, the other replacement wide receiver, had five catches for 43 yards.
“He’s just a veteran, he’s a pro, he gets it,” Hasselbeck said of Jurevicius. “You’re out there and it’s loud and he’s recognizing the defense along with you.”
Jurevicius’ previous receiving best came with the Bucs, an eight-catch performance for 100 yards on Dec. 8, 2002 against the Falcons.
Seattle was turnover-free and got a 3-for-3 day from kicker Josh Brown, who banged a 28-yarder off the left upright that put the Seahawks ahead 37-28 with 7:32 to go. Alexander had 119 yards on 25 carries and touchdowns of 1 and 18 yards, and Hasselbeck was 27-for-38 for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
Marc Bulger was 26-for-40 for 336 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Rams. But St. Louis was also stymied by poor field position and a shaky game from rookie punter Reggie Hodges, who averaged 33 yards on five attempts. The Rams began drives at the 21 or worse on eight occasions.
Seahawks SS Michael Boulware, who was carted off with a lower back injury and taken to a hospital for X-rays, was scheduled to fly home with the team. “The scans and X-rays were negative,” coach Mike Holmgren said. “That’s probably the best thing about today.” … Rams WR Torry Holt caught eight passes for 126 yards and a 26-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, giving him a score in four straight games.