The backup quarterback fumbled the snap on fourth-and-goal from the Seattle 1 with 27 seconds left Sunday, allowing the Seahawks to hold on for a 24-19 victory.
Frerotte picked up the loose ball, but was tackled at the 5, ending a last-ditch scoring attempt and the Rams’ modest two-game winning streak after an 0-8 start. The Seahawks have won six straight against St. Louis, and the Rams, dominant in recent seasons at home, are 0-5 at the Edward Jones Dome this season.
“We were fortunate today,” Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. “I don’t think we played our best football.”
Seattle (7-4) won its third straight by rallying for 17 unanswered second-half points after falling behind 19-7.
The Rams (2-9) had one last chance when Josh Brown missed a 52-yard field goal with 2:44 to go. Then, St. Louis took over at its own 42 and drove to the 4 with just over a minute to play.
Frerotte, playing after starter Marc Bulger left with a concussion in the first quarter, missed a wide-open Isaac Bruce on first down, then threw a 2-yard pass to Drew Bennett. On third down, Steven Jackson ran to the 1, setting up the doomed final play.
Rams coach Scott Linehan said the fourth-down play was again designed to go to Jackson. Defensive Darryl Tapp said the Seahawks were ready.
“Who else was the ball going to go to but Jackson?” he asked. “That’s who that whole offense is built on so we sort of knew it was going to him, but it worked out well for us today.”
The fumbled snap involved two players subbing after injuries. In addition to Frerotte, the center, Andy McCollum, was in only because starter Brett Romberg left earlier in the game with an ankle injury.
Linehan said Frerotte and McCollum share the blame for the mistake.
“When you have a bobbled snap, both guys are the guilty party,” he said.
Frerotte had no explanation.
“It’s pretty obvious—it just came out. You know, it wasn’t a perfect exchange.
“I can remember talking to myself walking up to the line and it just happened.”
McCollum wasn’t sure what happened.
“I thought he had it,” he said. “I blocked my guy. I didn’t know it was loose.”
The Seahawks went ahead for the first time with 5:57 to play on Leonard Weaver’s 4-yard run.
Matt Hassselbeck was 21-of-38 for 249 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Seahawks. Maurice Morris, subbing for the injured Shaun Alexander, carried 16 times for 79 yards, and Deion Branch had five catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Josh Wilson returned a first-quarter kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.
Frerotte was 20-of-32 for 161 yards and one interception, and threw a 15-yard first-quarter touchdown pass to Bruce. Jackson carried 23 times for 90 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
The game got off to an entertaining start, with three scores during a four-play sequence in the first quarter.
After a punt and a penalty pinned Seattle to its 1, rookie Adam Carriker tackled Morris just inside the end zone. Jackson’s long scoring run came on the first play after Seattle’s free kick.
The Seahawks bounced back and cut the margin to 9-7 on the play after that, with Brown taking the kickoff at the 11, running to the left sideline and narrowly avoiding being pushed out of bounds by kicker Jeff Wilkins, then cutting back to the right and outrunning three St. Louis defenders into the end zone.
Bulger was injured on a sack by linebacker Leroy Hill on the Rams’ first possession, but stayed in for two more series. He left after taking another hard hit on a shovel pass that defensive end Patrick Kerney intercepted later in the first quarter.
Bulger, who missed two games earlier this season with broken ribs, walked on his own to the locker room. Linehan said he will be evaluated daily to determine if he can play next week against Atlanta.
The starting quarterback has taken a beating this season, playing behind an offensive line constantly in a state of flux due to injuries. Bulger, 3-of-5 for 32 yards and the interception, has been sacked 30 times this season.
The safety in the first quarter marked the first for St. Louis since Dec. 4, 2005, when Washington quarterback Mark Burnell fumbled out of the end zone. … Seattle has the NFC’s best record (48-27) since the beginning of the 2003 season. … The Rams have given up two touchdowns on kickoff returns this season—both by Seattle. Nate Burleson scored on a 91-yard return to open the second half of the Seahawks’ 33-6 win over the Rams on Oct. 21. … The biggest cheer of the day came when the video board showed Missouri’s game-clinching safety in Saturday’s 36-28 win over Kansas.