Rams' upset bid ends one yard short of the end zone

News-DemocratOctober 28, 2013 

— They dominated in almost every way statistically, but the St. Louis Rams still came up one yard short of a major upset.

Kellen Clemens' pass intended for Brian Quick on fourth-and-goal from the Seattle 1 fell incomplete as time expired and the Rams fell to the Seattle Seahawks 14-9 Monday night.

"I'm proud of our guys,'' Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "They felt like they had a chance if they played well. We explained to them how they had to play and what we had to do. We obviously talked about the loss of Sam Bradford on Monday, and they bounced back and had a great week of preparation. We got down to the last play of the game. We didn't make it happen. They'll bounce back. I'm often asked, 'Will they bounce back?' And, they do every week.''

The Rams rolled up 339 yards of offense, but they were were 0-for-4 on their red-zone opportunities.

Alll of their scoring came on three field goals by Greg Zuerlein, who connected from 33, 28 and 27 yards out.

The Rams marched 91 yards and had first-and-goal at the Seattle 6 with 38 seconds to go.

Clemens threw an incomplete pass on first down and Darryl Richardson ran for 4 yards on second down.

A defensive offsides penalty on the Seahawks moved the ball to the Seattle 1, but Richardson was tackled for no gain on third down.

That brought up fourth down.

The Seahawks went with an all-out blitz, forcing Clemens to hurry his throw to Quick.

Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner had tight coverage on Quick that bordered on pass interference.

"It was a good call by (offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer),'' Clemens said. "He called a play that gave me a lot of options. They sold out from a defensive standpoint, tbey brought everybody. The best option we had was "Quickie.' Browner made a good play. It seemed like a pretty physical play ... I'd love to have put the ball in a little different spot, but I didn't have a lot of time to assess it. They brought one more than we could block.''

Clemens, now the starting quarterback withBradford out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury, completed 15 of 31 passes for 158 yards. He was intercepted twice.

"I thought he managed the game pretty well,'' Fisher said. "I'm not going to fault him for those interceptions. (Austin Pettis) fell down and it like Quickie got confused and stopped. It wasn't easy for (Clemens). It's the second-rated defense in the National Football League, but he took us to the last play of the game. I'm proud of his effort.''

The Rams dropped to 3-5 at the midway point of the season.

"As a team, I think the word might be encouraged,'' Clemens said. "Our defense played lights out.

"When Sam went down, coach asked everybody, coaches and players included, to elevate their game a litte bit, and I think everybody did that.''

The Rams can't complain about their fan support.

The Edward Jones Dome was more than two-thirds full despite the Cardinals playing in Game 5 of the World Series just down the road at Busch Stadium.

Updates from the Cardinals' 3-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox were shown on the video scoreboard.

"The crowd was awesome,'' Fisher said. "They were great. They came out and supported us. They were loud. They created problems for them early and they got to see a great football game.''

The Seahawks improved to 7-1, their best start in franchise history. They had only 135 yards offense and only 44 rushing yards.

Quarterback Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes to Golden Tate.

The Rams sacked Wilson seven times with Robert Quinn and Chris Long each notching three sacks.

"That's a good football team we played, probably the best team in the league they say, and we lined up toe-to-toe with them and played them physical and outplayed them in some areas, but they won the game,'' Long said.

Zac Stacy, showing some nifty footwork by side-stepping tacklers on numerous occasions, rushed for a career-high 134 yards on 26 carries. He was out of the game for the Rams' final series because of a sprained ankle.

The Rams got on the scoreboard first thanks to a 33-yard field goal by Zuerlein with 4:37 left in the first quartere.

Zuerlein's field goal capped a drive that started at the Seattle 46 after Robert Quinn sacked Russell Wilson on third down to pin the Seahawks back at their own 9.

The big play of the drive was a 26-yard pass from Clemens, who scrambled to his left to escape pressure from the Seahawks' pass rush, to Austin Pettus.

The Rams had the ball in Seattle territory again on their next possession, but linebacker Bruce Irvin intercepted Clemens.

The Seahawks, who had minus-1 yard of net offense in the first quarter were unable to capitialize on that turnover.

However, cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted a pass by Clemens and returned it 38 yards to the St. Louis 26 to set up a touchdown.

A pass interference penalty on Trumaine Johnson in the end zone -- there were actuallly two other penalties (roughing the passer on Quinn and unnecessary roughness on on Kendall Langford) against the Rams on the play that were declined -- put the ball at the St. Louis 1.

Wilson was stopped twice on runs, first by Alec Ogletree and then by Rodney McLeon, before throwing the touchdown pass to Tate on a quick slant over the middle with 5:37 left in the second quarter.

Quinn had two more sacks in the final half minute of the second quarter, giving him seven sacks for the season.

The Rams closed the gap to 7-6 on a 28-yard field goal by Zuerlein with 4:01 left in the third quarter.

The Seahawks answered with an 80-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Tate, who came back to cacth the ball as Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins fell down.

Tate received a taunting penalty for waving at the Rams as he ran down the sideline for the touchdown. The penalty was assessed on the ensuing kickoff.

Zuerlein kicked a 27-yard field goal to draw the Rams within 12:51 left in the fourth quarter, but he was wide right on a 50-yard field goal attempt with 8:28 to go.

It was Zuerlein's first miss in 15 field-goal tries this season.

Right guard Harvey Dahl left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. He was replaced by Shelley Smith.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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