The St. Louis Rams continue to torment Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
Except this time the Rams took down the Seahawks in Seattle for the first time since the 2004 playoffs.
Todd Gurley scored on a 2-yard TD run with 10:34 left, Akeem Ayers returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and the Rams ended Seattle’s five-game win streak with a 23-17 victory on Sunday.
St. Louis swept the season series from the Seahawks (9-6) having won 34-31 in overtime in Week 1. And the Rams (7-8) caused the same kinds of problems they did in the opener by flustering Wilson and slowing down a Seattle offense that had not been stopped for the previous five weeks.
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Gurley rushed for 85 yards on 19 carries. Case Keenum won his third straight start for the Rams, completing 14 of 23 passes for 103 yards and a 28-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt in the second quarter. Keenum wasn’t asked to do much because of how dominant the Rams were defensively.
Seattle failed to lead for the first time with Wilson under center since he became the starter in Week 1 of the 2012 season. The Seahawks’ streak of having 100 yards rushing as a team ended at 25 games and Seattle lost at home for the third time this season.
Wilson was 25 of 41 for 289 yards and two touchdowns, including an 18-yard TD to Jermaine Kearse with 17 seconds left. But St. Louis recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
But Wilson was sacked four times, hit on numerous other throws, and committed two turnovers. He threw his first interception since Week 9, a span of 168 passes, in the first half and fumbled inside the St. Louis 10 late in the fourth quarter.
About the only bright spot for the Seahawks was wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who had eight catches for 118 yards and set a franchise record with his 14th touchdown reception of the season. He has 11 in the past five games, becoming only the fourth different player in league history to have at least 11 TD catches in a five-game span.
The co-MVP for the Rams was center Tim Barnes. He helped not allow any sacks and was credited with a pair of critical fumble recoveries in the fourth quarter.
Benny Cunningham fumbled on a third-and-1 at the Seattle 40 and it appeared Seattle’s Earl Thomas had fallen on the loose ball. But officials ruled that Barnes had made the recovery and was down by contact before the ball ended up back in Seattle’s possession under the pile.
Two plays later, Gurley darted 20 yards inside the Seattle 10 but as he hurdled Thomas was hit and fumbled. Again the scramble for the ball ended up in the arms of Barnes chasing the play downfield and three plays later Gurley was in the end zone and St. Louis had a 13-point lead.
Ayers had given St. Louis an early 10-0 lead when he scooped Will Tukuafu’s fumble and returned it for his first career touchdown, shaking off a tackle attempt by Wilson.
Seattle was poised to make a second-half rally, especially after Baldwin’s 25-yard TD catch on the opening drive of the half. The touchdown came after Seattle converted third-and-31 thanks to a 28-yard pass to Baldwin and a 13-yard strike to Cooper Helfet on fourth-and-3.
But the rally never materialized and Seattle will have to wait for Week 17 for its playoff seeding as the entire day was a flashback of the Seahawks struggles early in the season protecting Wilson and giving him enough time to find options downfield. It didn’t help that Seattle’s run game was largely absent, finishing with just 60 yards.