37-13 win critical to restoring Seahawks
Winning was critical to restore some order to the Seahawks' universe. Winning in such blowout fashion, however, was the bonus. The Seahawks made quick...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Winning was critical to restore some order to the Seahawks' universe. Winning in such blowout fashion, however, was the bonus.
The Seahawks made quick work of the St. Louis Rams 37-13 Sunday at Qwest Field. They extended their dominance of recent games between the NFC West rivals, defeating the Rams for the seventh straight time. And maybe more important — albeit against the NFL's worst team — it was a complete game for Seattle. The offense, defense and special teams had their best performances of the season.
That's an offense that was without its top four receivers, a defense maligned for giving up big plays in the secondary in last week's loss and special teams that changed punters after one week and has allowed a punt to be blocked and another to be returned for a touchdown this season.
All of those things seemed long forgotten Sunday as the Seahawks cruised to their first victory.
"What was most important to me was that every facet of the team contributed," coach Mike Holmgren said. "They can all feel good about it."
The Seahawks' first drive of the game was crisp. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck completed his first four passes, all to wide receivers, and Olindo Mare capped it off with a 28-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Then it was the defense's turn to set a tone. It did thanks to linebacker Julian Peterson, who on the Rams' third offensive play sacked quarterback Marc Bulger, forced a fumble and recovered it at the St. Louis 24.
Facing fourth-and-one from the Rams 15, T.J. Duckett rumbled 3 yards for a first down. Two plays later, Michael Bumpus, one of those pressed into action because of all of the Seahawks' injuries at receiver, hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass, the rookie's first of his pro career.
"We got the win and maybe the media can get off our backs a little bit," Bumpus said with a smile. "We've got a nice week to rest and be ready for New York."
Bumpus wasn't the only one beaming after the game. The jokes, wisecracks and laughter came a lot easier in the Seahawks locker room after the win. There are meetings and perhaps a practice or two this week, then the annual bye weekend before the Seahawks resume play in Week 5 on the road against the New York Giants, the defending Super Bowl champion.
No play brought more grins than an unlikely but effective block thrown by Hasselbeck.
On second-and-three from the Rams' 29 late in the first quarter, Julius Jones took a handoff and broke out of the initial pile. He broke into the clear and found nothing but open field after Hasselbeck took out a pair of Rams with a block. That put a charge into the Seahawks and set the stadium abuzz.
"We were like, 'The quarterback's sacrificing? That's my job!' " fullback Leonard Weaver said.
Jones scored and Seattle took a 17-0 lead, and the rout was on. The rushing attack took over, with Jones running for 140 yards and Duckett 79.
Hasselbeck's 34-yard pass to Billy McMullen in the second quarter set up the first of two TD runs for Duckett, and the Seahawks took a 27-6 halftime lead. Defensively, the Seahawks forced three three-and-outs in the first half, allowing St. Louis (0-3) one trip into the red zone.
"We felt like we played this week how our defense is supposed to play," cornerback Kelly Jennings said, whose team lost 33-30 in overtime to San Francisco. "Last week we knew we had a chance to win the game on defense and we didn't do it."
The Rams opened the second half with a touchdown drive, scoring on a third-and-goal play from the Seattle 21. But the Seahawks broke open the game with a 15-play drive that spanned the third and fourth quarters and took 8:59, ending on a 1-yard run by Duckett with 8:34 to go.
That plus two more field goals from Mare — he's 7 for 7 this season — and the play of linebacker Leroy Hill, who seemed to have spent all afternoon in the Rams' backfield with his 10 solo tackles, were more than enough.
"We have to start somewhere," Jones said. "We're just going to keep it going and look past the things we did during those first two games."
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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