Rams Finally Win in Seattle, Complete Season Sweep of Seahawks
SEATTLE (AP) — After making a habit of giving Russell Wilson fits in St. Louis, the Rams ended a decade-long drought in the Pacific Northwest.
For the first time since the 2004 playoffs, the Rams left Seattle on Sunday as winners.
"We've come up here the last three years and we've come up short. ... I just felt like the last three years, in the fourth quarter we always slip up and let them win. I'm glad we got the W," St. Louis cornerback Trumaine Johnson said.
Todd Gurley scored on a 2-yard TD run with 10:34 left, Akeem Ayers returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and the Rams ended Seattle's five-game win streak with a 23-17 victory.
St. Louis swept the season series from the Seahawks (9-6) having won 34-31 in overtime in Week 1. And the Rams (7-8) caused the same kinds of problems they did in the opener by flustering Wilson and slowing down a Seahawks offense that had not been stopped for the previous five weeks.
Gurley rushed for 85 yards on 19 carries. Case Keenum won his third straight start for the Rams, completing 14 of 23 passes for 103 yards and a 28-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt in the second quarter.
It was enough for the Rams to win in Seattle for the first time since the NFC wild-card playoffs in Jan. 8, 2005, when St. Louis came away with a 27-20 victory and most of the current roster was in high school or even younger.
"It's nice to win three straight against good teams. We have a chance to go 5-1 in the division and finish on a winning note. That's what our focus is going to be," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said.
St. Louis has turned around a season that appeared headed for turmoil at 4-8. The Rams have won three straight and with a Week 17 win at San Francisco can finish with a .500 record for the first time since 2006. It's not enough to get St. Louis to the postseason, but the effort is still there.
And there was no greater example than center Tim Barnes, who was given the game ball afterward. He helped not allow any sacks and was credited with a pair of critical fumble recoveries in the fourth quarter.
Benny Cunningham fumbled on a third-and-1 at the Seattle 40 and it appeared Seattle's Earl Thomas had fallen on the loose ball. But officials ruled that Barnes had made the recovery and was down by contact before the ball ended up back in Seattle's possession under the pile.
Two plays later, Gurley darted 20 yards inside the Seattle 10, but as he hurdled Thomas, was hit and fumbled. Again the scramble for the ball ended up in the arms of Barnes chasing the play downfield and three plays later Gurley was in the end zone and St. Louis had a 13-point lead.
"Just got to follow the ball. That's what we try and do every play. That's what we do as an O-line, we try to chase the ball and keep our guys from getting hit downfield and if something does happen like that we want to try and be there."
Ayers had given St. Louis an early 10-0 lead when he scooped Will Tukuafu's fumble and returned it for his first career touchdown, shaking off a tackle attempt by Wilson.
It was part of a banner day for the Rams defense that forced three turnovers including Wilson's first interception in 168 pass attempts by Johnson in the first half.
Wilson was sacked four times and hit 13 times according to the final stats. Wilson was 25 of 41 for 289 yards and two touchdowns, including an 18-yard TD to Jermaine Kearse with 17 seconds left. But St. Louis recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Wilson also threw a 25-yard touchdown to Doug Baldwin in the third quarter that appeared to be the start of Seattle's second-half rally. It never materialized and the Rams were left celebrating.
"Ultimately we had multiple chances of winning the game. We can't really make any excuses," Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett said.