Brown haunts Rams just for kicks

Monday, November 13, 2006


The Associated Press

SEATTLE -- The thrilling has seemingly gotten so routine for Josh Brown, he barely reacts to it now.

But his Seahawks? They love it -- and Brown.

Once again, they jubilantly mobbed each other after their absurdly cool kicker calmly made a 38-yard field goal with 9 seconds left as Seattle beat St. Louis 24-22 on Sunday and seize control of the NFC West.

After his second game-winning kick to beat the Rams in less than a month, Brown simply bowed his head into the hug of holder Ryan Plackemeier.

The stunned Rams (4-5) simply stared at a fourth consecutive loss.

It was Brown's fifth winning field goal for the Seahawks (6-3) since Oct. 2, 2005, when he clanged a potential winner from 47 yards off the left upright at the end of regulation in an overtime loss at Washington.

"I'm not shocked I made it," Brown said. "I think I would have been more shocked had I missed.

"It's definitely not an arrogance thing. ... We prepare like this every day."

It all forced Seahawks defensive end Grant Wistrom to grudgingly praise his kicker.

"This is the third game he's won this season, isn't it?" Wistrom said of Brown, correctly. "He's pretty important.

"But I don't want to give him too much credit. He thinks he's pretty good already."

Brown probably would not have gotten his chance without Nate Burleson's first Seattle heroics.

His team stalled with just 10 total yards in two-plus quarters, Burleson ran back a punt 90 yards to give Seattle a 21-16 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Burleson, who became the punt returner just last week after falling out of Seattle's crowded receiving rotation, ran through an arm tackle attempt by Kay-Jay Harris and behind a block by Marcus Trufant. He then juked punter Matt Turk and sped to the reviving score.

"I looked at the punter. He looked at me. I knew I had to give him something," Burleson said of Seattle's first punt return for a score in three years.

The Rams responded by driving to the Seattle 14 on 7-for-9 passing by Marc Bulger. Steven Jackson, who gained 93 yards on 18 carries, bulled the final 14 yards, carrying four Seahawks across the goal line, for a 22-21 lead with 2:30 left. A holding penalty on center Richie Incognito nullified Torry Holt's catch of Bulger's 2-point conversion pass, and Bulger's next conversion try was incomplete.

Incognito also had a personal foul at the end of the touchdown for jumping into a pileup after Jackson's helmet had come off in the end zone. That meant Jeff Wilkins had to kick off from the 15.

"I wanted to protect Steven -- and it resulted in a personal foul," Incognito said.

Josh Scobey returned Wilkins' pushed-back kickoff 33 yards to the St. Louis 49. Two runs by Maurice Morris for 15 yards and a 10-yard pass from Seneca Wallace to Darrell Jackson pushed Seattle to the Rams 20 with 13 seconds left.

Brown then won another game.

"Another day at the office," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said, sighing. "My goodness."

Wilkins' 35-yard field goal gave St. Louis a 16-14 lead in the third quarter.

Seattle led only 14-13 at halftime despite outgaining St. Louis 243-119. Morris, starting his sixth consecutive game while league MVP Shaun Alexander heals a broken left foot, had 79 of those yards. Morris finished with 124 yards on 21 carries.

St. Louis stayed in the game early because Leonard Little blew past right tackle Tom Ashworth, filling in for injured starter Sean Locklear, on a third-down from the St. Louis 6. Little crashed into Wallace's arm before Victor Adeyanju picked up the fumble and ran 89 yards untouched for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Notes: The Rams lost Pro Bowl LT Orlando Pace for the rest of the season because of a torn left triceps. ... Wallace, in his third NFL start while Matt Hasselbeck recovers from a sprained knee, was 15-of-23 for 161 yards and two first-half touchdowns, to Jackson and Jerramy Stevens. ... Bulger was 26-for-40 for 215 yards and an interception. ... Rams DB Travis Fisher injured his right forearm. He said he is due for a CAT scan on Monday.

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