OAKLAND, Calif. -- When Arizona Cardinals left tackle Jared Veldheer woke up Sunday morning, he knew his return to the O.co Coliseum wouldn’t be just another game.

“It was kind of nostalgic -- more than I thought would even hit me being back,” the former Raiders third-round draft pick said. “Coming out pregame and running around back on the field, being back in the Coliseum and all the familiar things coming back from the last four years, it’s a lot of emotion.

“I knew it was going to be a special game.”

Leaving Oakland with a 24-13 win made it even more special.

Veldheer was one of three former Raiders on the field for Arizona. A lot was made last week about quarterback Carson Palmer’s return, but defensive tackle Tommy Kelly played the first nine years of his career with the Raiders.

He said he wanted to get a win for Palmer, who played half of 2011 and all of 2012 with Oakland before a trade landed him in Arizona, but Kelly wanted the win for himself.

“As a football player, I learned a lot,” he said. “I have a lot of love for this city and I wish the team nothing but the best. But on the football field, it’s not anything personal. It’s business. We just wanted to go out there, execute and win.”

While Kelly didn’t talk to any of his former Raiders teammates on the field -- “They kind of leave me alone. They know how I am,” he said -- he discussed playing a former team with his new head coach, Bruce Arians.

“You can see the smiles on their faces all week and [the] energy they brought to practice and meetings,” Arians said. “It was special for them, especially Tommy Kelly.”

Palmer and Kelly left the Raiders in 2013, and Veldheer in 2014. Veldheer, who was drafted by Oakland in 2010, returned with a chip on his shoulder because of how his departure went down.

“It was a big win for both of us,” Veldheer said.

“It meant a ton,” he added.

Palmer, who completed 70.9 percent of his passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns and his first interception of the season, downplayed having a chip on his shoulder. He did, however, make sure to get a box of favorite sandwiches delivered to the locker room after the game. He also talked about seeing his former Oakland teammates still on the roster.

“It was a great environment to play in,” Palmer said. “This place is awesome. It was great to play [here] when you’re wearing silver and black and it’s a fun place to play as an opponent. Great to get a win.”
videoOAKLAND, Calif. -- The way this season has gone for the Arizona Cardinals, coach Bruce Arians didn’t think Andre Ellington was coming back out of that locker room.

Ellington went in early, with a few seconds left in the second quarter to get his bruised ribs examined. It was going to be, in Arians' mind, another injury to add to the Cardinals’ weekly list report that seemingly grows by the day.

Ellington didn’t quell Arians’ concerns when the Cardinals returned to the field for the second half kickoff without him. By then, Arians was rewriting the game plan for Stepfan Taylor and Robert Hughes to carry Ellington’s load in the second half. But several minutes into the third quarter, Ellington jogged back on to the field, around the Raiderettes, around the end zone, and stood next to Arians.

“Then he tapped me on the back and said he was ready to go,” Arians said. “I said, ‘Oh good. I’m glad you made it.’”

Glad may be the understatement of the month.

Ellington was Arizona’s workhorse in Sunday’s 24-13 victory against winless Oakland, extending the Cardinals’ lead in the NFC West another week. Ellington finished with a career-high 30 touches for 160 total yards, which included a career-high 24 rushes for 88 yards while tying a career-high six receptions for 72 yards.

But more importantly, he led the revival of a running game that’s been weeks in the making.

“We want to come out every week and establish a run game,” Ellington said. “Coach challenged us this week, said we have to run the football better. Last week we didn’t run it well.”

After Ellington returned, Arians gave his featured back one play that first drive of the second half -- a pass from Carson Palmer, which Ellington dropped. But when Arizona took over following a field goal by Oakland to make the game 14-13 midway through the third quarter, Arians gave the ball back to Ellington.

And didn’t stop.

Ellington was responsible for 76 of the 80 yards on Arizona’s next drive -- 40 on the ground, 16 in the air and 20 through a defensive pass interference he drew. After doing all that work, he subbed himself out after getting winded and let Taylor get the glory. Taylor, who had 40 yards on 12 carries -- twice as many as his season total before Oakland -- scored on a four-yard touchdown run, his second score of the game.

“He earned it during the week,” Ellington said. “When I’m sitting resting, he’s out there working. My idea was just to get some fresh legs out there and we got the touchdown.”

Since he injured his left foot the week before the opener, Ellington hasn’t been practicing Wednesdays. It’s caused him to struggle with his wind early in games but he eventually catches his breath. The gauntlet of plays that Arians put Ellington through Sunday had been set since OTAs but Ellington hasn’t had many opportunities to practice them.

Arizona hadn’t cracked 100 yards rushing since Week 2 in New York, but if there was a game to do it, it was against the Raiders' 31st-ranked rushing defense. The Cardinals knew they had specific areas to focus on, and Sunday was an example of what happens when their minor corrections aremade.

“It’s something that we always knew we had,” said fullback Robert Hughes. “We were there the few past games but it’s always one block here, one block there. Today, we seemed to be able to get in more of a rhythm in the run game, but we got to definitely continue to work on it some more cause there’s big plays there we need to get out and get those toes big plays.”
ST. LOUIS -- After reviewing the film from last week's loss to the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis acknowledged he didn't do a good enough job of taking what the defense gives him.

Heading into Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks, Davis vowed to force the ball down the field less and take advantage of whatever the Seahawks were willing to cede. Late in the Rams' surprising 28-26 victory, Davis had done just that, almost to a fault.

[+] EnlargeAustin Davis
Michael B. Thomas/Getty ImagesQB Austin Davis had a career day on Sunday, leading the 2-4 Rams to a key division win against Seattle.
In the first three quarters, Davis completed 13-of-14 for 77 yards, an average of just 5.9 yards per completion. But as Seattle mounted a late comeback and put itself in position to win the game, Davis suddenly needed to come up big. He hadn't been able to in the past three weeks after leading a late victory in his first start against Tampa Bay. But he found a way to lead an impressive 80-yard drive to give the Rams the winning points.

On that drive, Davis completed 4-of-5 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown to tight end Lance Kendricks. None of those throws were bigger than a 30-yarder to receiver Chris Givens on third-and-6 at Seattle's 44.

"We thought we'd get man-to-man coverage," Davis said. "When they need a play, they trust their guys to cover man-to-man. Chris, with his speed, just ran across the field. I trusted it and obviously, we worked the play all week, and when we needed it, he made a big play. That's how you win games. You've got to make big plays when the game is on the line. You're going to have a chance to go down and win the game at the end or not. Today, we did it.”

Minutes later, Davis offered another big play when he evaded Seattle's pass rush on second-and-12 and somehow shoveled a pass to tight end Jared Cook for a 9-yard gain to put the Rams in position for the fake punt that helped seal the victory.

For the day, Davis was 18-of-21 for 152 yards and two touchdowns for a rating of 128.6. That completion percentage plus punter Johnny Hekker's completion on one attempt left the Rams converting 86.3 percent of their pass attempts, the highest allowed by the Seahawks in franchise history. The quarterback rating is the highest of Davis' young career.

The key to that success? Effectively using the middle of the field. Davis majored in risk management Sunday, throwing his 21 passes an average of just 5.5 yards down the field with 18 of those attempts coming in the middle of the field. That was a logical move considering Seattle is 20th in the league in completion percentage allowed over the middle the past two seasons and star cornerback Richard Sherman usually lurks on the outside.

It also allowed Davis to come up with big plays such as the ones to Givens. He attempted just four passes more than 10 yards down the field Sunday but he completed all of them.

Most important, Davis had no turnovers, eliminating the costly plays that have helped beat the Rams in recent weeks.

"You can't ask for more out of a guy who went from third string to now starting quarterback and playing great ball," defensive end Robert Quinn said. "We've got to be consistent week in and week out and prepare for teams and finish games."
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Arizona Cardinals' 24-13 victory against the Oakland Raiders:

Veldheer reminisces: Cardinals left tackle Jared Veldheer said returning to Oakland on Sunday was “kind of nostalgic” for him. He was drafted by the Raiders in 2010 and returning for the first time after spending four years in Oakland was harder on him than he expected it to be.

Larry Fitzgerald
No scoreboard watching for Fitz: After the Cardinals' game, when wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was told that Seattle had lost to St. Louis during the early games Sunday, he was legitimately surprised. He didn’t know the score of the game before Arizona took the field in Oakland.

Sack dance honors Bay Area: After Larry Foote’s sack in the second quarter, the veteran linebacker broke out into a sack dance that he named the “Tupac Dance.”
OAKLAND, Calif. -- If there’s one thing Darnell Dockett knows how to do well -- even when injured -- it’s trash talk.

It doesn’t matter if it’s on Twitter or in the Black Hole in Oakland, Dockett comes with his best stuff. Late in the Arizona Cardinals' 24-13 victory against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Dockett responded to taunting from Raiders fans with a message on a whiteboard that had to sting: “Worst team in the NFL” it read, with a big “0-6” under it.

The kicker was that Dockett wrote a smiley face in the zero.

Dockett told ESPN.com the Raiders fans behind Arizona’s bench were throwing coins and ice and talking their own smack during the game, specifically referencing mothers. It lasted all game, in addition to trash talking leading up to the game.

After he held up the sign, which was captured by fans with Dockett smiling and has since gone viral on Twitter, Dockett said more stuff was thrown.
ST LOUIS -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman says he had the football in his arms at the bottom of the pile.

The officials said he didn’t and the last chance for the Seahawks was over in the 28-26 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Rams running back Tre Mason fumbled on the next to last play of the game. The ball was loose and several players had a shot at grabbing it, but Sherman said he got it.

“I had the ball,” Sherman said. “I was down. I thought they would have blown the whistle, but they stopped the ball and moved it back to the old spot. Obviously they didn’t give it to us. I wasn’t surprised. That’s kind of how the game went for us.”

Seattle free safety Earl Thomas was shocked.

“We won everything last year, but we’re battling the referees now,” Thomas said. “I don’t know what’s going on with that. Sherm had it. We’re playing more than out opponents. We’re playing the referees, too. I don’t care what anybody says. Something’s wrong and that needs to be brought up.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll was surprised the play wasn’t reviewed. At first he thought maybe it wasn’t reviewable because there was no change of possession. He later said he learned it was reviewable.

Most of the Seahawks thought they recovered it.

“I thought we had the ball, but I guess not,” said Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. “I don’t know.”



ST LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams entered Sunday's game with only one sack all season, the worst start in league history.

But the Rams sacked Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson three times in the first half Sunday in another bad performance by Seattle's offensive line. Wilson was hit seven times and under duress 14 in the 28-26 loss to the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome that dropped the Seahawks to 3-3.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesIt doesn't bode well for the Seahawks when Russell Wilson tops 100 rushing yards.
The offensive line was the weak link on a Super Bowl team last year. It still is, but it's worse now.

ESPN Stats & Information research shows Wilson was sacked, hit while throwing or under duress on 32.6 percent of his dropbacks Sunday. That's actually lower than his season average of 37.3 percent, which remains the worst rate in the league among 33 qualified passers.

He has been pressured on at least 30 percent of his dropbacks in five of Seattle's six games, the most in the NFL.

The Seahawks were also flagged for holding three times and had a false start. One holding call brought back a 15-yard touchdown by Marshawn Lynch. And it was called on Alvin Bailey, who was in the game to help block as a third tackle.

The Seahawks had 171 yards rushing, but that's misleading. Wilson rushed for 106 yards, most of which came when he was forced to scramble. The three running backs -- Lynch, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael -- rushed for 65 yards on 22 carries, less than three yards a carry.

By the way, in two of the three games in his career in which Wilson rushed for 100 yards, the Seahawks have lost because if he's running that much he's under too much pressure.

The line has been whistled for 14 penalties in the past three games that resulted in four potential touchdowns being called back. It isn't just one or two guys. Everyone is making mistakes at key moments that are hurting the offense.

St. Louis Rams rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald, making only his second NFL start, consistently blew through the interior of Seattle's line. Donald had a sack, another quarterback hit and two other tackles for losses.

Yes, the offensive line is banged up. For a few plays Sunday they were down to their third-team center in Patrick Lewis when backup Stephen Schilling left the game briefly in the second half. And left tackle Russell Okung is playing with a labrum tear in his left shoulder.

Even so, the offensive line isn't playing well when all the starters are on the field and healthy. It appears to be a problem that isn't going away anytime soon, but Wilson remains optimistic after another game in which he had to improvise to try to stay upright.

"I think adversity is opportunity," Wilson said. "We have a team full of fighters. You can't look back. I believe in what we'll do moving forward."
DENVER -- Three players who started for the San Francisco 49ers on Monday will not play tonight against the Denver Broncos due to injury as cornerback Chris Culliver, who missed practice on Friday due to an injured hamstring, joined linebacker Patrick Willis and left guard Mike Iupati on the inactive list.

Willis (toe) and Iupati (concussion) were ruled out on Friday.

The other 49ers inactives: WR Quinton Patton, DB Jimmie Ward, C Marcus Martin and DT Tank Carradine.

Rookie Chris Borland will start for Willis while Joe Looney will start at left guard.

Tramaine Brock, who has not played since injuring a toe on his right foot in the season opener at the Dallas Cowboys, will start at cornerback, alongside Perrish Cox.

With Culliver and Ward (quadriceps) out, Chris Cook and Dontae Johnson will provide depth as Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning needs three touchdown passes to set a NFL record for career TD passes.

Also, Anthony Davis, who has been nursing knee and ankle injuries, will make his second start of the season for the 49ers, taking the place of his backup, Jonathan Martin.
ST. LOUIS -- Backed up to their own 18 with two minutes, 55 seconds to go, the St. Louis Rams were on the verge of watching another big lead and whatever was left of their hopes for the 2014 season slip through their fingers.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had just marched his team 80 yards in 2:18 to trim what was once an 18-point Rams lead to two. The Rams had fourth-and-3 and were in desperate need of a first down. So Rams coach Jeff Fisher did what he had done throughout the day, turning to a creative and effective special-teams unit to win the game by calling a fake punt deep in St. Louis territory.

Punter Johnny Hekker hit running back Benny Cunningham for an 18-yard gain, and the Rams moved the chains and hung on for a wild 28-26 win partially because of Fisher's gutsy play call but more so because of his special-teams unit's repeated ability to execute against Seattle.

"You guys saw the flow of the game. We were having a hard time stopping Russell," Fisher said. "There was too much time left on the clock right there, and I didn’t want to give the ball back to him, and I thought that was our best chance to get a first down."

As it turned out, the Rams' leap to a 2-4 record hinged on the ability of the special teams to do more than get a final first down to ice the victory. There was Cunningham's 75-yard kickoff return to set up the team's first touchdown. There was the creative 90-yard punt return from Stedman Bailey for a touchdown and a 21-3 lead. And, of course, there was the fake punt that required more chutzpah than anything else.

"The last thing you are expecting in a tight situation like that is what we called," linebacker James Laurinaitis said.

Before the Rams even began their final drive, Fisher had his mind made up that if the marker turned to fourth down, he wanted to go for a fake. In the week leading up to the game, special-teams coach John Fassel noticed an opening in Seattle's punt return team where it would leave a single blocker on the outside against the gunner.

In this case, the Rams were looking for Bailey, the gunner, to get a one-on-one opportunity. If he saw what is called a "vice" look (two blockers on one gunner), the Rams were to change the call to send Cunningham the other direction. Sure enough, Bailey was matched up one-on-one. At the snap, Bailey sold the play by taking off downfield as Cunningham came across the formation where Hekker hit him for an 18-yard gain.

Hekker, who grew up playing quarterback in the Seattle area, previously threw a touchdown pass against the Seahawks on a fake field goal in 2012. Cunningham, who had never been in such a situation, had rarely found himself so wide open.

"Make the catch or I’m probably going to be done; this might be my last play in the NFL if I don’t make this catch," Cunningham said. "Either they’re going to cut me or my teammates are going to kill me."

The successful conversion moved the Rams’ win probability from 64 percent to 86 percent. Per ESPN Stats & Information, had the Rams failed to convert, their win probability would have dropped to 35 percent.

That they had such favorable odds in the first place came as a result of the imaginative punt return from Bailey. On a play that the Rams call "Mountaineer" because it prominently involved two former West Virginia players (Bailey and punt returner Tavon Austin), the Rams jumped out to another huge home lead on a play that fooled everyone in the building.

Taking a page from a play Chicago ran successfully against Green Bay on Sept. 25, 2011, only to have it called back for holding, Fassel and the Rams picked up on another cue during the week. In watching film of Seahawks punter Jon Ryan, Fassel noticed that when the Seahawks kick "sky" punts from near midfield with the intent to down the kick near the end zone, the kick usually drifts to the left. In fact, on 14 such chances, Ryan's punts had all landed in approximately the same spot, according to Bailey.

As the ball took off, Bailey ran in the direction of that spot looking for the ball while Austin pretended the ball was headed his way on the opposite side of the field. A handful of Rams blockers went toward Austin to sell it further, taking many Seahawks with them.

Bailey hauled it in over his shoulder, turned up the field and found nothing but open space on his way to a touchdown on the first punt return of his career.

"From watching the tape, I would know exactly where the ball would land," Bailey said. "For me to catch it, it was just my receiver skills and catching the ball over my head. I turned around, secured it and just started running."

In the process, Bailey and the Rams special teams delivered an unexpected win in a most unexpected way.

Rapid Reaction: Arizona Cardinals

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
OAKLAND, Calif. -- A few thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 24-13 win at O.co Coliseum.

What it means: No matter how much the Cardinals tried to deny it or downplay it, Sunday in Oakland was a trap game. The winless Raiders were feeling positive under a new coach with a new philosophy. It was the perfect recipe to upset the Cardinals, the first-place team in the NFC West. Even as the Raiders cut their deficit to just one point, Arizona showed enough resiliency to hold off Oakland and improve to 5-1. But it’s how the Cardinals were able to do it despite an offense that did not put together a complete game and threw its first interception of the season. The Cardinals converted their third downs -- 9-for-15 on Sunday -- while holding the Raiders to 56 rushing yards. They showed they had what it takes to win in a game that lacked emotion.

Stock watch: Ted Ginn was signed to relieve Patrick Peterson of his return duties while adding a dynamic punt and kick returner. With the exception of one return for a touchdown against the New York Giants, Ginn hasn’t lived up to the hype or expectations, and that continued Sunday. He fielded six punts and returned just two of them -- opting for fair catches or field catches. In his defense, most were not returnable. But the one punt he had room to return came at the end of the third quarter, and he opted for the fair catch instead of trying to gain a few extra yards. When he did return punts, they went for 7 yards.

Less penalized, but needs work: Arizona followed up its 14-penalty performance against Washington with six against Oakland -- a lower number, but more than any team wants. It’s Arizona’s third-most this season.

Game ball: Andre Ellington single-handedly extended Arizona’s lead in the third quarter. He finished with 88 yards and 24 carries, and 72 receiving yards on six receptions.

What’s next: The Cardinals host the Philadelphia Eagles at 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
ST. LOUIS -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the St. Louis Rams' 28-26 victory against the Seattle Seahawks:

Harkey's recovery: There was plenty of confusion about who, exactly, recovered running back Tre Mason's fumble in the final minute of the game. The officials ruled the Rams recovered it, but there wasn't much video evidence to support it. Even coach Jeff Fisher said he was already speaking to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams about what to call on the ensuing defensive series when the officials offered the pleasant surprise declaring it the Rams' ball. But tight end Cory Harkey said he was the one who managed to come out of the dog pile with the ball to preserve the victory. Harkey and offensive lineman Mike Person, who was on the field in the jumbo package, were actually fighting over the ball before realizing they were on the same side.

"We were both fighting for the ball, and I ended up with it," Harkey said. "As long as one of us ended up with it, that's all that mattered."

Saffold's health: Right guard Rodger Saffold suffered a knee injury late in the game and did not return, leaving many to wonder if the oft-injured Saffold would miss extended time again. But Fisher said Saffold could have came back into the game on the final drive, and Saffold told reporters that he'll be ready to go next week against the Kansas City Chiefs.

A clean game: Fisher and the Rams were pleased with what was their cleanest game of the season in terms of some of the self-inflicted mistakes that are common for them. They had just two penalties -- one was a delay of game they took on purpose -- allowed no sacks and had no turnovers.

Rapid Reaction: Seattle Seahawks

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
ST LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 28-26 loss to the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome.

What it means: The Seahawks are reeling and fall to 3-3, having lost the last two games and three of the last five. The team was completely out of sync Sunday. Were they still in shock from the Percy Harvin trade two days earlier?

Stock watch: What has happened to the Seattle pass rush? One of the team's strengths a year ago is almost non-existent now. The Seahawks didn’t have a sack Sunday, and they weren’t exactly facing the world’s greatest offensive line. The inability to get to Rams quarterback Austin Davis was a big factor in St. Louis' last touchdown that made it a two-score game with less than six minutes to play.

The offensive line is not much better: The Seahawks' offensive line was the weak link on a Super Bowl team last season. It still is, but it’s worse now. The Rams entered the game with only one sack all season. They had three sacks in the first half and put constant pressure on Russell Wilson. The Seahawks were flagged for holding three times and another false start. The line usually does a decent job in the running game, but not Sunday. Take out Wilson’s 106 yards, mostly while scrambling, and Seattle had 65 yards rushing on 22 carries. It wasn’t good even when they used Alvin Bailey as an extra tackle on several plays.

Receivers: Don’t blame the loss on Harvin being gone. Doug Baldwin, who called out his teammates last week, had his best game of the season with seven receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown. Rookie receiver Paul Richardson had four catches for 33 yards, and Jermaine Kearse had three receptions for 50 yards.

Game ball: That goes to another player making catches. The Seahawks were down to third-string tight end Cooper Helfet on Sunday. Don’t call him third-string anymore. Helfet had three receptions for 61 yards, including a brilliant 19-yard touchdown catch when he stretched to make the grab and came down with both feet in bounds in the end zone.

More injury problems: Maybe it was a bad omen when fullback Derrick Coleman hurt his foot in warm-ups and didn’t play. Cornerback Tharold Simon, playing in his first NFL game and starting for injured Byron Maxwell, suffered an ankle injury in the first half when he was flagged for pass interference and a face mask. He also had a shoving match with Rams receiver Brian Quick, who was flagged but it could have gone against Simon. He didn’t return after the injury but was listed as questionable. So was his judgment. Three other starters already were out -- tight end Zach Miller, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and center Max Unger. It has become painfully obvious the next man up isn’t ready to step up.

What’s next: The Seahawks will hit the road again with an East Coast trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, to play the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 26. The Seahawks opened the 2013 season with a 12-7 come-from-behind victory at Charlotte.

Rapid Reaction: St. Louis Rams

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
ST. LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 28-26 win against the Seattle Seahawks at the Edward Jones Dome:

What it means: The Rams reached deep in their bag of tricks to find a way to finally pull off a game in which they jumped to an early lead. Whether via trickery on special teams, a clutch drive from quarterback Austin Davis or winning a mad scramble for a fumble in the closing moments, the Rams found a way to beat the defending champions and move to 2-4. There's a lot of season left, but this is the kind of win that could at least make things interesting for the Rams moving forward. If they can find a way to build on it.

Stock watch: The Rams' special teams. Entering Sunday's game, the Rams ranked 17th in the league in kick return average (23.42 yards per attempt) and 29th in punt return average (3.91 yards per attempt). In search of a spark, Rams special-teams coach John Fassel pulled out all the stops to get his return units rolling. The Rams took a page from the Chicago Bears circa 2011 and misdirected Seattle and an entire stadium into thinking a first-half punt traveled down the right sideline. Instead, the punt was retrieved by Stedman Bailey on the opposite side of the field where he was essentially all alone as he returned it 90 yards for a stunning touchdown and a 21-3 second-quarter lead. Even with Chris Givens available on the game-day roster, running back Benny Cunningham continued to handle kick return duties and chipped in a 75-yard return to set up the Rams' first touchdown. The Rams finished with 201 return yards. And of course, Fassel and Fisher pressed the button on the fake punt in their own territory to help ice the game.

Mason's time: Asked about the deployment of the Rams' many running backs earlier this week, Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said they would continue to split carries and then go with the hot hand late in the game. Apparently, Schottenheimer & Co. didn't want to wait. After a solid outing last week, rookie Tre Mason continues to emerge as the Rams' best option in the backfield. He handled the bulk of the work, finishing with 85 yards on 18 carries to go with his first career touchdown. The Rams turned over the run game to Zac Stacy in Game 5 last year. One year and one game later, it appears another changing of the guard is in the offing.

Game ball: Defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The Rams' defensive line has earned plenty of criticism for its lack of production in the first five games, but Donald had quietly been one of the few performing consistently. On Sunday, he turned in a dominant performance against the banged-up interior of Seattle's offensive line. He finished with five tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and two quarterback hits.

What's next: The Rams now begin a difficult three-game road swing in which they head across Missouri to face the Kansas City Chiefs next week.
ST. LOUIS -- Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said things weren’t working out with wide receiver Percy Harvin and it was time to move on without him.

Harvin was traded to the New York Jets Friday for a conditional 2015 draft pick.

“We made a bold move in acquiring him [from Minnesota in March of 2013],” Schneider said on the 710 ESPN Seattle pregame radio show. “But it became apparent that things weren’t going to work out and it wasn’t a good fit.

“We have to prepare this team for moving forward all the time, and I’m not just talking about this week or next week. I’m talking about 2015 and 2016. We constantly have to look at how we improve the team. This was the appropriate move at the appropriate time.”

Schneider was asked what the Seahawks offense will look like without Harvin.

“Percy is such a unique talent that he has to be used in a specific manner,” Schneider said. “I think you’ll see us playing a little bit more like we did last year when Percy wasn’t playing. It’s an opportunity for guys like [rookie wide receivers] Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood to step forward.”
ST LOUIS -- Seattle Seahawks backup tight end Luke Willson is inactive Sunday because of a groin injury, which leaves the Seahawks without their first two tight ends for the game against the Rams.

Starting tight end Zach Miller is out after undergoing ankle surgery three weeks ago. The Seahawks are down to third-string tight end Cooper Helfet and rookie RaShaun Allen, who was brought up from the practice squad Saturday and will be making his NFL debut.

It’s possible the Seahawks could use offensive tackles Garry Gilliam or Alvin Bailey as a third tackle on the line. Gilliam played tight end for three seasons at Penn State and lined up a tight end for one play in the Washington game. Bailey came in as a third tackle on several plays in the last few games last season.

Four starters are out Sunday for the Seahawks – Miller, cornerback Byron Maxwell (calf) center Max Unger (foot) and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (turf toe). Backup defensive tackle Jordan Hill also is out with a sprained ankle. The other inactive of backup offensive tackle Andrew McDonald.