Rams break through against Seahawks
Monday, October 4, 2010
ST. LOUIS -- Steven Jackson was a question mark until the first snap.
There was no way he was going to miss this one for the St. Louis Rams. So, he went out and showed the Seattle Seahawks he could play hurt and still make a big impact.
"I knew I wouldn't be 100 percent, but I knew I had enough to give," said Jackson, who blocked out a strained groin Sunday. "I feel like the team is going in the right direction and I wanted to be a part of it."
The two-time Pro Bowler had 126 yards rushing and receiving, complementing another strong game by No. 1 pick Sam Bradford and a stout defense in a 20-3 victory Sunday that gave the Rams consecutive wins for the first time in two seasons.
Bradford, who threw two touchdown passes, knew he wouldn't have been nearly as effective without the two-time Pro Bowler in the lineup.
"I never doubted he would be out there," Bradford said. "He's a huge part of this offense. Anytime he's in the huddle, there's no doubt that it boosts the spirits of everyone in the huddle."
Jackson had 70 yards on 22 carries to pass Marshall Faulk for No. 2 on the Rams' rushing list, shaking off an injury that sidelined him the second half of last week's win over the Redskins. He added three catches for 54 yards, including a 49-yarder before Kenneth Darby scored on a 21-yard screen pass.
Officials stopped the game after a 15-yard gain early in the fourth quarter put Jackson ahead of Faulk. Jackson has 6,991 yards in seven seasons with the Rams and trails only Eric Dickerson, who had 7,245 yards from 1983 to 1987.
"From Day 1, I set a tone that I wanted to leave here putting my footprint on this organization," Jackson said. "It's very meaningful, but I ain't in first place."
Bradford completed 23 of 41 passes with one interception as the Rams (2-2) ended a 10-game losing streak against Seattle and topped their win total from last year.
"It feels great," Bradford said. "To get ourselves to 2-2 and just be in the conversation for the division lead, I think that's big for this team."
Big for the Rams to get such poise so soon.
"We got after him pretty good, we chased him around a lot," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We're looking at a guy that's going to be a really big-timer."
The last time St. Louis won back-to-back games was Weeks 5 and 6 of 2008 under interim head coach Jim Haslett.
Throughout the week, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo made sure players weren't content with winning just once.
"I was a little concerned that the hunger was gone," Spagnuolo said. "I thought the team came out with the right mind-set."
The Rams sacked Matt Hasselbeck four times, had one interception and forced a fumble. St. Louis' special teams bottled up returner Leon Washington, who had two touchdown returns last week, and Golden Tate, who had been averaging 25 yards on punt returns. There was no daylight for Washington (26.7 yard average) or Tate (6.0 yards) against the Rams.
"Excellent," Spagnuolo said. "I spent time talking about it, and I don't know anything about special teams. There was a fire, an intent."
The Seahawks peaked with a 14-play drive in the first half that stalled, leaving them with only a chip-shot field goal by Olindo Mare. The Rams foiled a fake 51-yard attempt near the end of the half when Darby ran down holder Jon Ryan on a would-be roll-out pass to John Carlson.
Seattle averaged 29 points during its 10-game streak over the Rams dating to 2005, but is 3-18 in its last 21 road games. Two of the victories came in St. Louis.
The Seahawks scored their fewest points since a 44-6 loss Oct. 5, 2008, at the New York Giants.
"I give them credit, but that's not really the issue for us," Hasselbeck said. "We've got to get better, and I've got to get better. I know I can, and I know we can."
The Rams led 10-3 at the half, but missed a couple of chances in the second quarter that would have made it a much wider gap.
Brandon Fletcher's interception return to the 3 was wasted on Earl Thomas' end zone pick for Seattle, an errant throw that had a dismayed Bradford holding his helmet with both hands on his way to the sideline.
* Rams cornerback Kevin Dockery injured his right hamstring during the third quarter after sustaining facial lacerations on the Seahawks' foiled fake field goal in the half.
* The Rams last held an opponent to single-figure scoring in a 9-7 loss at Washington in Week 2 last season.
* Seattle scored at least 23 points in all 10 of the victories in its streak against St. Louis.