ST. LOUIS — The Seattle Seahawks completed a lousy night for St. Louis sports fans.
Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes to Golden Tate, and the Seahawks made a dramatic goal-line stand in the final minute to preserve a 14-9 victory over the Rams on Monday night — less than an hour after the Cardinals lost to the Red Sox in the World Series just up the street.
The Seahawks (7-1), riding the best start in franchise history, were clinging to the lead when they were forced to punt with just over 5 minutes left in the game. They managed to pin St. Louis at its own 3-yard line, but Kellen Clemens — starting at quarterback in place of the injured Sam Bradford — calmly marched the Rams (3-5) to the Seattle 1 as time wound down. Daryl Richardson was stuffed on third down, and Clemens threw a fade pass incomplete in the corner of the end zone on fourth down as time expired.
“The defence did a tremendous job, coming up with a huge stop there,” Wilson said.
The Seahawks won despite gaining just 135 yards of total offence, 80 of it on Wilson’s second TD pass to Tate, the third-fewest yards in a victory in franchise history.
Wilson was sacked a career-high seven times by the Rams defence.
“The defensive line, they were making plays,” Wilson said. “We have to find a way to slow them down.”
The World Series no doubt contributed to the stale atmosphere inside the Edward Jones Dome, where the announced crowd of 55,966 was in reality much smaller. Many of the fans who did show up wore Cardinals gear, and World Series highlights were shown on the big screen.
The Red Sox polished off their 3-1 victory in Game 5 just before the Rams embarked on their final drive — one that would ultimately leave the hometown crowd even more depressed.
Clemens finished with 158 yards passing for the Rams, but he also threw two interceptions, one of them to Richard Sherman. Zac Stacy ran for a career-high 134 yards.
“It’s not always going to be pretty,” Sherman said. “You have to be able to win ugly.”
Greg Zuerlein staked St. Louis to an early lead with his first of three field goals, but Sherman’s pick put the Seahawks in business. Seattle took advantage of his fourth interception of the season by scoring six players later, when Wilson hit Tate from the 2-yard line.
Zuerlein got the Rams within 7-6 late in the third quarter, but the Seahawks answered. Two plays later, Wilson went deep down the sideline to Tate, who made an acrobatic leaping catch over Janoris Jenkins. Tate regained his balance and then mockingly waved at safety Rodney McLeod as he ran to the end zone, earning an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Zuerlein connected again to get St. Louis to 14-9, but he missed a 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. That proved to be key because the Rams would have needed just another field goal from him on their final drive, rather than a touchdown, to steal the win.
The Rams stayed in the game largely thanks to their defence, which took advantage of the Seahawks missing starting offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini due to injuries. Robert Quinn had three sacks in the first half for St. Louis.
Seattle had minus-1 yard of offence in the first quarter, and 38 yards at the half, its fewest since gaining 37 in the first half against Kansas City in 1998, according to STATS LLC.
It didn’t help that Seattle lost wide receiver Sidney Rice late in the first half with what the team called a knee injury. It wasn’t clear which knee Rice hurt or when the injury occurred, but he headed to the locker room and didn’t return.