Hopeless in Seattle

Monday, October 22, 2007
Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Patrick Kerney yelled after sacking Rams quarterback Marc Bulger during the second half Sunday in Seattle. Bulger was sacked seven times in the game. (ELAINE THOMPSON ~ Associated Press)

St. Louis fell to 0-7 with a 33-6 loss to the Seahawks.

SEATTLE -- Mike Holmgren walked into the Seahawks' locker room at halftime and pleaded for his kickoff-return unit to provide a spark for his sputtering team.

Minutes later, Rams-killer Nate Burleson took Holmgren's request literally and turned it into a 91-yard return for a game-changing touchdown and the Seahawks pulled away from winless St. Louis 33-6 on Sunday.

"Now, that's great coaching," Holmgren said.

He was finally laughing because Seattle (4-3) overcame Matt Hasselbeck hurting and Shaun Alexander being shut down and booed again to climb back atop the weak NFC West entering its bye week.

Seattle Seahawks safety Deon Grant (24) intercepts a pass from St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger intended for wide receiver Travis Taylor, left, with Marcus Trufant also defending behind, with less than two minuets left in their football game in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007. The Seahawks won 33-6. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

"Whatever coach says, you've got to adhere to it," Burleson said after the first kickoff score of his life. "But it's like super heroes stuff. I don't know if I can do that every time."

It only seems like it to the Rams, who are off to the worst start in their 70 years in the NFL.

In the Rams' previous visit last November, Burleson's 90-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter was a go-ahead score in the Seahawks' 24-22 win. Seattle has defeated its division rival five consecutive times.

This time, Seattle led just 10-3 at the half, and St. Louis had only 41 total yards. Hasselbeck was feeling the sting of a hit by Claude Wroten that strained his right oblique muscle.

One play before Josh Brown's 38-yard field goal in the second quarter made it 10-3, Wroten drilled his helmet into the quarterback's right ribs on an incompletion. When Hasselbeck threw high off Bobby Engram's hand and into the arms of Ron Bartell for an interception at the Rams 19, he grabbed his side in pain with both hands.

The Seahawks' Nate Burleson ran past the Rams' Ron Bartell on his way to a 91-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff of the second half Sunday in Seattle. (ROD MAR ~ Associated Press)

Many of his passes after that fluttered weakly and mostly to the turf. Hasselbeck was 3-of-11 for 39 yards after Wroten's hit until Burleson's game-breaking touchdown return to start the second half. Seattle seized the game by outscoring St. Louis 23-3 in the second half while needing Hasselbeck to throw just 10 times.

"He was affected," said Wroten, who later refused to help up the quarterback when the prone Hasselbeck extended his arm to him following another hit. "He couldn't put full extension on his throws after that. ... He choked that ball a little bit."

Burleson choked the Rams' hope for a breakthrough win. He took the second-half kickoff, ran through a tackle near midfield and then shook off Jonathan Wade at about the 20 for his first career kickoff score. He punctuated it doing a preening shake and waving of the arms like a hawk.

The Seahawks soared from there.

The Rams (0-7) welcomed back Marc Bulger to the offense in a way no one should ever be welcomed.

Seahawks defensive end Darryl Tapp sacked Rams quarterback Marc Bulger as teammate Ellis Wyms closed in on the play during the first half Sunday in Seattle. Bulger was sacked seven times in the game. (JOHN FROSCHAUER ~ Associated Press)

With lead runner Steven Jackson out for the fourth consecutive game with a partially torn groin, the Rams had to rely on the passing of Bulger. And Seattle knew it.

The Pro Bowl quarterback, playing for the first time in three weeks with sore ribs, was sacked seven times. Four were by Darryl Tapp. Bulger fumbled three times, lost two, and finished 21-of-40 for 225 yards passing with three interceptions.

"I'm a little angry about things. Embarrassed about things. Frustrated about things. There are no good emotions," Bulger said.

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