When: Sunday, 10 a.m., Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
Record: 1-9 after losing 21-13 to the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals on Sunday
Where they rank: No. 26 on offense (13th rushing, 22nd passing); No. 29 on defense (28th rushing, 24th passing)
Series: The Seahawks lead 13-9 and have won nine in a row, including 28-0 at Qwest Field in the season opener
Star power: Steven Jackson. Like every other defense that has played St. Louis this season, the Seahawks will have to brace themselves for the battering Ram. Jackson leads the NFC in rushing yards (1,031) and total yards from scrimmage (1,262) and the team in receptions (35). By running for 116 yards against the Cardinals on Sunday, the former first-round draft choice from Oregon State became the first back in Rams history to have five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons – and that includes Marshall Faulk, Eric Dickerson, Jerome Bettis and Lawrence McCutcheon.
Unsung hero: James Laurinaitis. The rookie middle linebacker from Ohio State leads the Rams in tackles (76) and had 16 solo stops against the Cardinals. It’s just that when your only win came against the Detroit Lions and your defense ranks 29th in the league not a lot of people pay much attention. But Laurinaitis is part of an impressive ’09 class of linebackers that also includes the USC trio of Rey Maualuga (Bengals), Clay Matthews (Packers) and Brian Cushing (Texans); Larry English (Chargers) and Aaron Curry (Seahawks).
On the spot: The run defense. Against the Seahawks? After they were limited to a franchise-record 4 rushing yards by the Vikings on Sunday? It’s all relative. The Rams rank 28th against the run, allowing averages of 146.4 yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry.
Burning question: Kyle Boller? Really? Yes, and yes. With Marc Bulger out three to six weeks with a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg, Boller, the ex-Cal QB and former first-round draft choice of the Baltimore Ravens steps in. Boller has started before – 42 games for the Ravens from 2003-08 and two for the Rams this season when Bulger was out with a bruised rotator cuff.
One more question: What is a tibial plateau fracture? “It’s like a hairline fracture of the upper part of the shin bone,” Rams coach Steve Spagnulo told the St. Louis Post Dispatch on Monday night.
Familiar faces: K Josh Wilson (2003-07), P Donnie Jones (2004) and WR Jordan Kent (2008) played for the Seahawks and were former draft picks. Rookie WR Brandon Gibson played at Washington State. FB Mike Karney played at Kentwood High School before going to Arizona State. Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole (1999-2002) and defensive backs coach Clayton Lopez (1999-2003) coached for the Seahawks. Wide receivers coach Charlie Baggett coached at the University of Washington (2007-08).
The last word: “You know on video games where they have the special moves? You can hit the ‘turbo’ button. You can hit the ‘spin’ button. You can hit the ‘juke’ button. Well, Steven has all of those buttons. And when you think that that juice is about to run out, he will continue to surprise you.” – Rams center Jason Brown, on Jackson