ST. LOUIS – A recap of the Seahawks’ 24-7 victory the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Chris Clemons. On a day when the Seahawks’ defense was dominating, no one was more dominating than the team’s “Leo” defensive end.
Clemons’ stat line made quite a statement about his impact on the game: a career-high three sacks, three other hits on Rams QB Sam Bradford, two forced fumbles and a tipped pass. But his action spoke even louder.
“Clem had a great football game today,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He got great heat and made a big difference in changing the game and giving us a chance.”
Ravaging the Rams is nothing new for Clemons, who was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles last year. He had two of his team-leading and career-high 11 sacks last season in the game in St. Louis and added half a sack in the NFC West title-clinching victory over the Rams in the regular-season finale in Seattle.
Asked about his repeated success against the Rams, Clemons said, “I guess because it’s a division opponent, you play them more than once a year so you kind of get adjusted to them. They have some things that they try and do against me, but my biggest thing is just staying patient and getting the opportunities and taking advantage of them.”
That was definitely the case in the second half on Sunday.
In the third quarter, he got to Bradford and also forced a fumble that was recovered by nickel back Roy Lewis to set up a TD run by Marshawn Lynch. In the fourth quarter, Clemons had another fumble-forcing sack that was recovered by middle linebacker David Hawthorne to end a Rams’ drive that had reached the Seahawks’ 31-yard line. In between, Clemons split sacks with defensive end Red Bryant and Lewis.
“The biggest thing is, when they make mistakes just capitalize on them,” Clemons said. “Sam, he’s had a problem holding onto the ball this year. So we knew we’d get opportunities. Our biggest thing was just to stay focused and not give up on our rushes.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Defense: When a 330-pound defensive end intercepts a pass, well, it just doesn’t get any better than that. When that end uses a stiff to repel a 6-foot-3, 209-pound wide receiver like a gnat, well, it’s time to say, “Red Bryant, come on down.”
Bryant dropped into coverage of the second-and-19 play in the fourth quarter, so he was there to pick off a pass that was tipped by nose tackle – and best friend – Brandon Mebane. Three plays later, Justin Forsett scored on a 22-yard run.
“ ‘Bang’ did a great job of tipping the ball,” Bryant said, using Mebane’s nickname. “I just happened to be in the right position.”
Offense: The 14-yard TD pass from Tarvaris Jackson to Sidney Rice in the second quarter put the first points on the board for the Seahawks. But let’s go with the first play of the game, when Rice took the ball on an end-around and passed to Mike Williams for a 55-yard gain and the longest play of the game.
The Seahawks had worked on this play in practice at various times this season, but didn’t unleash it in a game until Sunday.
“I had the distance. I think I put a little bit too much air on it,” said Rice, who finished with a passer rating of 118.8. “It definitely was a ‘duck.’ I heard about it from Tarvaris as soon as I got to the sideline.”
Special teams: Where to begin after an extra-special effort from the Seahawks’ special teams? Jon Ryan had a 71-yarder among his nine punts for a 49.7-yard average, with four inside the Rams’ 20-yard line. Steven Hauschka gave the Seahawks a 10-7 halftime lead with a 19-yard field goal on the final play of the half and also produced three touchbacks on his four kickoffs. Heath Farwell had a pair of big hits for tackles covering kicks. But let’s go with Leon Washington’s 25-yard punt return to the Rams’ 40 in the second quarter because it set the table for the Jackson-to-Rice TD pass.
“The special teams’ effort was excellent today,” Carroll said.
As Carroll put it, the Seahawks came out of the game “fairly clean.”
Lynch scored a touchdown in his sixth consecutive game, the fourth-longest streak in franchise history behind Shaun Alexander, nine in 2005; David Sims, eight in 1978; and Chris Warren, seven in 1993-94.
Jackson spread his 14 completions among nine receivers – including three each to Rice and Doug Baldwin.
The Seahawks have won back-to-back games for the first time since Weeks 6-7 last season. They’ll try to make it three in a row next week against the Redskins at CenturyLink Field. Their last three-game winning streak was in 2007, when they won five consecutive games in Weeks 10-14.
Lynch finished with 88 yards, just missing his third consecutive 100-yard effort – which would have tied him for the second-longest streak in franchise history with Shaun Alexander (2004 and 2005). Alexander holds the record with four in a row, also in 2005.
The Seahawks had a season-high five sacks. With his trio of sacks, Clemons now has eight.
In addition to the sacks, the Seahawks hit Bradford seven other times and broke up seven of his passes – their second-highest totals of the season in each category.
Rookie cornerback Richard Sherman and Clemons each had five tackles to lead the team. They became the fifth and sixth players this season to do it, joining linebackers Leroy Hill (3 times) and David Hawthorne (3), free safety Earl Thomas (3) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (2).
The Seahawks had substantial edges in total yards (289-185), rushing yards (126-42) and time of possession (35:00-25:00). The 185 yards allowed was their season low.
The Seahawks had 13 penalties for 100 yards, tying their season highs from last week’s game against the Ravens. But they won each game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I feel like we brought our big-boy pads today.” – Bryant on the defense limiting the Rams’ Steven Jackson to 42 yards on 15 carries after he had 100-plus yards in each of his past three games