The Seahawks needed a yard. The Rams defense knew that this time, unlike in the Super Bowl, they would give the ball to Marshawn Lynch.
Once again, Pete Carroll’s choice didn’t work out. Rams defensive linemen Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald stuffed Lynch for a 1-yard loss on fourth down to seal a 34-31 overtime over the two-time defending NFC champs victory Sunday.
“We were thinking run,” Donald said. “It’s short yardage and we know they’ve got Lynch back there and we knew they were going to give it to him.”
Carroll said the play had been getting 2 or 3 yards “all day long.” The Seahawks’ bid to keep overtime going died at the Rams 43, about 10 yards shy of field goal range.
“I don’t know how they got the penetration, but they did,” he said.
The Rams assembled a defense that features five first-round picks up front for just such a moment. They sacked Wilson six times, getting two each from Donald and Robert Quinn.
“We wanted to start fast,” Quinn said. “A.D. started it off and after that, guys tried to follow him.”
Greg Zuerlein kicked a 37-yard field goal on the opening drive of overtime.
The Rams watched a 24-13 lead disappear, as Seattle scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, capped by Cary Williams’ strip-and-score of Nick Foles with 4:39 left.
With 53 seconds left, the Rams tied the game at 31 after Seahawks defensive back Dion Bailey – the replacement for holdout Kam Chancellor – stumbled on Lance Kendricks’ 37-yard touchdown catch.
“It was a matchup I took,” Foles said. “Lance gave a little move and ran right by him.”
Bailey, who made his NFL debut, said “I was just too flat-footed, tried to open up and fell down. At that point I’ve got to tackle him and live to fight another day.”
The Seahawks opened overtime with an onside kick that could have given them a shot at winning the game outright, as Bradley Marquez caught Steven Hauschka’s popped-up attempt. After throwing a flag for an illegal fair catch, officials ruled the ball was kicked directly in the air, so Marquez was OK raising his hand.
Carroll said it wasn’t supposed to have been of a pooch kick.
“We didn’t execute the kick right, simple as that,” Carroll said. “We were kicking the ball way down the field.”
Foles hit Steadman Bailey for a 22-yard catch for the key gain to set up Zuerlein’s kick.
The Seahawks had another special teams letdown when Tavon Austin returned a 57-yard punt by Jon Ryan 75 yards for a touchdown.
Austin was virtually untouched on two touchdowns, also scoring on a 16-yard run.
“I didn’t think he was ever going to punt it to me,” Austin said. “My blockers were set up and I just kicked in it gear and scored.”
The play by the defense helped the Rams make up for three lost fumbles.
“Normally when we get three turnovers and they get one, we win,” Carroll said. “We’ve been doing that for a long time.”
Foles was 18 for 27 for 297 yards and one TD with no interceptions in his St. Louis debut.
Wilson was 32 for 41 for 251 yards with a TD and an interception, and added 31 yards on eight carries.
Rookie Tyler Lockett had a 57-yard punt return TD and Jimmy Graham caught a touchdown pass in the fourth for Seattle.
The Rams announced 51,792 tickets had been distributed but the 66,000-seat capacity Edward Jones Dome looked to be a little more than half-filled.
NOTES: Graham had six catches for 51 yards including a 7-yard score in the fourth in his Seattle debut. … The Rams lost CB Trumaine Johnson (concussion tests) and special teams ace Chase Reynolds (knee) in the first half. Johnson’s interception set up an early field goal. … St. Louis totaled six sacks on Wilson last year, three in each game.
SOURCE: The Associated Press
R. B. Fallstrom