When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PDT, Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
Record: 1-2 after Sunday’s 30-16 victory over the Redskins – which snapped a 10-game losing streak overall and a 14-game losing streak at home; and the 30 points were the most scored by the Rams since Week 6 in 2008.
Where they rank: No. 24 on offense (20th rushing, 20th passing); tied for No. 24 on defense (25th rushing, 24th passing)
Series: Seahawks lead 14-9, including series sweeps of the home-and-home series the past five seasons
Star power: Steven Jackson. The battering-Ram of a back from Oregon State rushed for 1,416 yards last season – the second-highest total of his career. He again leads the Rams in rushing, with 214 yards, and broke a 42-yard touchdown run Sunday before leaving the game against the Redskins with a strained groin. His status against the Seahawks remains day-to-day after a MRI on Monday revealed the strain. If Jackson can play this week, he’ll be running into a Seahawks defense that is allowing averages of 2.6 yards per carry (third in the NFL) and 67.7 yards per game (fifth in the league).
Unsung hero: Make it plural, and make it the defense. The Rams have yet to yield more than 17 points, and that was in their season-opening loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The past two weeks, they’ve held the Raiders and Redskins to 16 points. Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis is again leading the way with 21 tackles, including 20 solo stops. He had 120 tackles last season, after being drafted in the second round.
On the spot: The Rams’ coverage units, because they’ll be facing Leon Washington and Golden Tate, who lead the league in kickoff and punt return average. Washington broke kickoff returns of 101 and 99 yards in the Seahawks’ upset of the San Diego Chargers on Sunday and is averaging 46.3 yards on seven returns. Tate had a 63-yard punt against the Broncos in Denver two weeks ago – on his first touch in a regular-season game – and the rookie added a 31-yarder against the Chargers. He is averaging 25.2 yards on five returns. The Rams, meanwhile, are allowing 8.6 yards on punt returns, but also yielded a 53-yarder; and 26.1 yards on kickoff returns, with a long of 31 yards.
Burning question: Does Sam Bradford pick up where Philip Rivers and Kyle Orton left off? The Seahawks have yielded 762 passing yards and four touchdown passes the past two weeks – not to mention a league-high eight pass plays of 25-plus yards. Bradford, the top pick in April’s draft, will be making his fourth NFL start. His numbers so far have been so-so: 69 of 117 passing for 655 yards, with four TD passes and five interceptions.
Familiar faces: Kicker Josh Brown was a seventh-round drafted choice by the Seahawks in 2003 and scored 100-plus points in each of his five seasons in Seattle. Punter Donnie Jones, who is second in the NFL with a 48.9-yard average, was a Seahawks’ seventh-round draft choice in 2004. Wide receiver Brandon Gibson played at Washington State. Fullback Mike Karney played at Kentwood High School. The Rams also have three assistant coaches who previously worked for the Seahawks: defensive coordinator Ken Flajole (1999-2002), who also played at Pacific Lutheran University; wide receivers coach Nolan Cromwell (1999-2007); and cornerbacks coach Clayton Lopez (1999-2003).
The last word: “They just flat-out whipped our (butts). In the first part of the game, they came right at us, and we weren’t ready. Thirty points, that’s unacceptable.” – Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, after Sunday’s loss to the Rams