Seahawks hold off Rams thanks to goal-line stand

Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- The inability to get in the end zone undid all the positive things the St. Louis Rams accomplished Monday night.
The Rams drove from their own 3-yard line to the Seattle 1 in the final seconds but failed to score on the final plays of the game, and the Seahawks held on for a 14-9 win.
St. Louis' defense dominated Seattle's offense, registering seven sacks, with three each by defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long. However, an 80-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to Golden Tate late in the third quarter ended up being the difference in the game. It was the duo's second scoring connection of the night.
On the final possession, the Rams were stopped on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, on a Daryl Richardson run, and on fourth-and-goal from the 1, on Kellen Clemens' incomplete pass intended for Brian Quick.
Clemens had several options on the final play, but the Seahawks came with heavy pressure, and Quick said, "He had to throw it faster than I expected."
Quick believed he was held by Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner on the play, but he added, "You can't expect to get the call. You just have to fight through it, and we came up short."
Clemens said of the final drive, "We needed 97 yards and got 96. I'm encouraged by the way we played, but you have to make plays. They scored two touchdowns and we had three field goals. That's the difference in the game."
St. Louis' three field goals came on drives that reached the Seattle 15-, 10- and 9-yard lines.
Clemens, taking over as the Rams' quarterback due to Sam Bradford's injury, completed 15 of 31 passes for 158 yards. He threw two interceptions and had a passer rating of 36.8.
Rams running back Zac Stacy gained 134 yards on 26 carries, but he was out of the game late in the final drive because of a sprained ankle. On the first two plays of the drive, he had runs of 8 and 18 yards to get the Rams out of a hole. Stacy was on the field for the final fourth-down play, going in motion.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll credited defensive coordinator Dan Quinn for making great calls in the red zone.
"Our guys kept hanging in there," Carroll said. "It was a difficult night. Give the Rams credit. We were very fortunate to get out of here with a win. They ran the ball down our throat, and we couldn't anything going offensively."
Wilson went 10-for-18 for 139 yards. Tate finished with five catches for 93 yards, while Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch gained just 23 yards on eight carries.
Seattle managed just 44 yards on the ground, while St. Louis picked up 200 yards on 37 carries. That disparity helped the Rams outgain the Seahawks 339-135 in total yards.
The Rams got a 28-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal with 4:01 left in the third quarter, cutting the Seahawks' lead to 7-6.
Seattle padded the advantage 16 seconds later when cornerback Janoris Jenkins misjudged a deep pass to Tate, who turned it into an 80-yard score. To that point, the Seahawks totaled just 42 yards.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Rams were kept out of the end zone after driving from their own 22 to the Seattle 3-yard line. An incomplete pass and a sack led to a 27-yard field goal by Zuerlein that pulled St. Louis within 14-9 with 12:51 to play.
The Rams took a 3-0 lead with 4:37 remaining in the first quarter on a 33-yard field goal by Zuerlein. The scoring drive was set up by a Robert Quinn 10-yard sack of Wilson that pushed Seattle back to its 9-yard line. Seattle's Jon Ryan followed with a 37-yard punt, and the Rams took over on the Seahawks 46-yard line.
The key play in the drive was a 26-yard completion from Clemens to wide receiver Austin Pettis that moved the Rams to the 19-yard line. Clemens evaded pressure and threw on the move to his left to Pettis.
The Seahawks managed minus-1 yard of offense in the first quarter on eight plays, but they took a 7-3 lead with 5:37 left in the first half on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Tate.
The Seahawks capitalized on an interception by cornerback Richard Sherman, who picked off a Clemens pass that was too high for Pettis. Sherman returned it 38 yards to the Rams 26-yard line, and Seattle was on the scoreboard six plays later.
Seattle had one last shot to score in the half, taking over the ball at the Rams 47-yard line with 48 seconds remaining. However, Robert Quinn sacked Wilson on second and third down, and the Seahawks settled for a 7-3 lead at the break.
NOTES: Seahawks WR Sidney Rice left the game with a knee injury and did not return. He also was hit in the head ... Rams RG Harvey Dahl did not return after suffering a knee injury. ... Rams CB Cortland Finnegan, who missed the previous three games because of a hamstring injury suffered against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 26, was active Monday. ... After the season-ending injury to Bradford, the Rams signed Brady Quinn and Austin Davis as backup to Clemens. Davis was active Monday, while Quinn was inactive. ... RB Isaiah Pead, the Rams' second-round pick in 2012, was inactive for the second game this season. Pead missed the season opener while on the suspended list, and he was active but did not play in Weeks 6 and 7. ... Rookie Michael Bowie started at right tackle for the Seahawks in place of Breno Giacomini, who missed his fifth game because of a knee injury. ... Seattle LB Bobby Wagner was active after missing two games because of a high ankle sprain.

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