Sunday, October 3, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Rams 20, Seahawks 3
By Mike Sando
ST. LOUIS -- Thoughts from St. Louis' victory over Seattle in the Edward Jones Dome.
What it means: The St. Louis Rams will be tied for the NFC West lead after four games if the San Diego Chargers defeat the Arizona Cardinals later Sunday. They ended a 17-game losing streak within the NFC West and a 10-game streak against Seattle. They are .500 or better for the first time since 2006 and they have, by all appearances, the best quarterback in the division. For Seattle, this outcome suggests the team isn't good enough to win road games and if that does not change, the Seahawks will struggle to reach .500.
Different this time: The Rams have won back-to-back games for the first time since the 2008 season. Then as now, there's a feeling in the Rams' locker room that the team is turning a corner. Back then, there was talk that St. Louis should remove the word "interim" from coach Jim Haslett's title. That team fell apart when Steven Jackson broke down physically. Jackson is playing hurt now, but this team has Sam Bradford, and that means everything. Bradford outplayed Matt Hasselbeck even though Seattle's Earl Thomas picked off the rookie in the end zone.
Big Revelation: The Rams outplayed the Seahawks on special teams, which was a big surprise. They contained Seattle returners Leon Washington and Golden Tate. They weren't fooled when the Seahawks attempted a fake punt in the first half. This was a very good effort on special teams for the Rams, who are without some of their better special-teams players, including Chris Chamberlain and Dominique Curry.
Hero: Jackson barely practiced during the week and didn't do anything significant during warm-ups. His injured groin made it seem unlikely Jackson would factor into the plan significantly. Jackson started the game and made several big plays, including a 49-yard gain on a screen and a couple signature runs. Jackson was not full strength, but he was the best running back in this game. Something would have been wrong if Jackson couldn't have fully celebrated in this Rams victory.
Trending: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll admitted last week that he was a little casual in his game management when Seattle wasted a scoring opportunity before halftime against San Diego. Carroll used two replay challenges in the first half Sunday and his call for a fake punt, though defensible, did not work.
Line issues: The Seahawks' issues on the offensive line finally caught up with them. Russell Okung started at left tackle, but left after aggravating his ankle injury. The team can use its bye week to settle on a more stable combination.
What's next: The Seahawks have their bye. The Rams visit Detroit, site of their only 2009 victory.