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Originally published December 26, 2013 at 6:18 PM | Page modified December 27, 2013 at 9:38 AM

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Rams’ fearsome front four again stands in Seahawks’ way

The Rams’ tandem of Robert Quinn and Chris Long has given the Seahawks fits, but Seattle has both starting tackles back after they missed the near-upset in St. Louis on Oct. 28.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks have already defeated Sunday’s opponent, the St. Louis Rams, once this season.

But their 14-9 win at St. Louis on Oct. 28 was hardly an easily duplicated formula for victory.

In fact, that game stands as one of the oddest of the NFL season as the Seahawks won despite being outgained in total yards, 339-135.

How unlikely was that win? Teams that had been outgained by 200 yards or more were just 37-291 since 2001 before that game.

In October, the Rams amassed seven sacks and held Seattle to a season-low 44 rushing yards in a game in which the Seahawks had to stop the Rams on fourth down from the 1-yard line in the game’s final seconds.

“They just whupped us,” said offensive line coach Tom Cable.

Now, after losing to Arizona 17-10 on Sunday, the Seahawks have to beat the Rams again at CenturyLink Field if they want to control their own fate in the NFC West. A victory assures Seattle the division title, while a loss opens the door for the 49ers if they beat Arizona.

The Seahawks hope they can handle the Rams better now that they have both starting tackles back — Russell Okung on the left side and Breno Giacomini on the right. Each missed the first Rams game due to injury, one of seven Seattle played this season without both tackles. Cable, though, said not to assume it’ll be easy.

“It’s a group effort, and so we have to do better as a group,” he said.

Still, much of the focus of the game will be on the matchup of Okung against St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn, who is emerging as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate with a league-leading 18 sacks. He had three in the first game against the Seahawks, while Chris Long had three on the other side.

“We’ve got to win the one-on-one battles,” said fullback Michael Robinson. “He’ll (Quinn) be lined up right there on our left side, and Russell is going to have to block him and that’s just the way it is. And if he doesn’t, then somebody else has got to do it.”

Thanks to Quinn and Long (who has 7.5 sacks), the Rams have 49 sacks this season, third in the NFL.

“I definitely think we have one of the best front fours in the game, if not the best,” Quinn said Wednesday. “...We got pressure on Russell Wilson (in the first game), I think we got him rattled a little early, but we weren’t able to close out the game. I think we’ll somewhat stick to that kind of game plan maybe and we’ll see what happens.”

In fact, other than figuring out how to score more points than the Seahawks, the Rams have had a pretty good game plan in every game they have played against Seattle since Jeff Fisher took over as coach before the 2012 season.

The Rams beat Seattle 19-13 in St. Louis on Sept. 30, 2012, when Wilson threw a career-high three interceptions. Seattle then beat the Rams 20-13 last December as the Seahawks needed to win to stay alive in the NFC West race. The Seahawks won despite allowing six sacks — three by Long.

“They are really good,’’ Cable said of St. Louis’ defensive front. “So we will have to have it right.”

Notes

• RG J.R. Sweezy has participated fully in practice this week after missing the Arizona game with a concussion, and Cable said he will return to the starting lineup. Rookie Michael Bowie started and “played well,” Cable said. Bowie had previously played right tackle.

• WRs Percy Harvin (hip), Jermaine Kearse (ankle) and DE Red Bryant (knee) were the only players who didn’t participate in practice Thursday. LB K.J. Wright (broken foot) already was ruled out.

Slogging it out

Since 2009, just four NFL games have been won by teams that had less than 150 yards.
TeamDateResultTotal yards
SeattleOct. 28, 2013Beat St. Louis, 14-9135
MiamiDec. 12, 2010Beat N.Y. Jets, 10-6131
PittsburghSept. 19, 2010Beat Tennessee, 19-11127
MiamiNov. 1, 2009Beat N.Y. Jets, 30-25104

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.



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