ST. LOUIS – It was billed as a mismatch, the NFC West division leading Seattle Seahawks against the lowly and quarterbackless St. Louis Rams. But the game is played on the field, not on paper. While the Rams did lose on Monday night, it wasn’t the blowout everyone expected. Instead, the game was much closer as the Rams fell 14-9.
“They’re a very, very good football team and we knew that,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said. “I’m proud of our guys. They felt like we had a chance if we played well. We explained to them how we had to play and what we had to do. They bounced back. We obviously talked about the loss of (QB) Sam (Bradford) on Monday. They bounced back and had a great week of preparation. We got down to the last play of the game and didn’t make it happen. So I feel bad for them, but they will bounce back because I’m often asked will they bounce back and they do every week. If we tell them we need to bounce back, they will. We’ve got a short week and we’ve got another big challenge on our hands.”
The Rams got on the board first, scoring on their opening drive, when kicker Greg Zuerlein drilled a 33 yarder through the uprights with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
St. Louis’ defense didn’t allow Seattle to score in the first quarter, but the Seahawks found the end zone in the second quarter to take the lead. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson completed a two yard pass to Golden Tate to cap off a five play drive.
The two teams went into the halftime break with Seattle leading 7-3.
The Rams got within one point of the Seahawks in the third quarter when Zuerlein nailed his second field goal of the night. This one was a 28 yarder with 4:01 left in the quarter. However, Seattle quickly answered back with a touchdown.
Wilson and Tate hooked up for an 80 yard pass just 16 seconds later and it turned out to be the game winning play.
Early in the fourth quarter Zuerlein kicked his third field goal of the game. This time it was a 27 yard shot to get the Rams back within five points of the Seahawks.
Kellen Clemens first start at quarterback for St. Louis since losing Sam Bradford was not wahat the Rams hoped for. Clemens led a successful opening drive, but falter after it. The quarterback threw two interceptions.
“I thought he managed the game pretty well,” Fisher said. “I’m not going to fault him for those interceptions. (WR Austin Pettis) ‘AP’ fell down and it looked like (TE Jared Cook) ‘Cookie’ got confused and stopped because the ball was supposed to go in that area and it did. So it wasn’t easy for him. That’s the second-rated defense in the National Football League, but he took us to the last play of the game. I’m proud of his effort.”
Things picked up for Clemens in the second half though. By the time the game was over, Clemens had thrown for 158 yards while completing just under half of his passes (15-of-31). Chris Givens was Clemens top target, catching four passes for 59 yards.
“I think in this business unfortunately your grade scale is pass or fail,” Clemens said. “Incidentally so were most of my classes in college. Unfortunately I think this one’s a fail. It’s a business of wins and losses, so we’ve got to get better.”
Zac Stacy was the one good thing the Rams had going. The St. Louis running back finished the night with 133 yards rushing on 24 carries. However, he was unable to find the end zone.
“It’s good from a milestone, from that standpoint, from a career standpoint or whatnot,” Stacy said. “But, at the same time the only stat I worry about is the W’s and losses. Took an L today so it doesn’t feel as good, but it just goes back to what I was saying about the improvement. The offensive line did a great job tonight. We played against a great front seven, and they would open up holes all night. So, we’ve just got to go out and execute a little bit better.”
Defensively the Rams went after Seattle. Robert Quinn and Chris Long combined to sack Wilson six times. William Hayes also had a sack as the Rams nailed the Seahawks qb seven total times.
"Yeah. We played one of our best defensive games this year,” Quinn said. “You look back and you're like, ‘Ah, I wish I could have made this play or that play.’ But, that's a great football team, as we all know, and we went toe to toe with them. We came up a play short, but like I said, I think playing on this Monday night really opened a lot of people's eyes to what the Rams have got. We just keep building from here, make a few more plays on both sides of the ball, and we're definitely going to really get this season turned around."
The Rams are now 3-5 on the season and will be back in action on Sunday when St. Louis hosts the Tennessee Titans. Kickoff is scheduled for noon at the Edward Jones Dome.