The Seattle Seahawks ended their regular season losing to the St. Louis Rams 23-17 on Sunday, falling to 9-6 and even though they've already clinched a playoff birth, they struggled for the first time in 25 games as they failed to rush for 100-plus yards.
The Rams hadn't won in the Emerald City since 2004, and ended the Hawks five-game winning streak and sweeping the series having won in overtime 34-31 in Week One. Striking considering the Rams had a decade filled ten straight losses at CenturyLink prior to Sunday's game.
St. Louis (7-8) struck early in the game with a 10-0 lead in the opening quarter and entered halftime with a 16-3 lead at CenturyLink Field. The Rams held the Hawks running backs to just 21 rushing yards the entire game.
St. Louis came away with two crucial fumble recoveries in the fourth quarter, the latter resulting in a touchdown three plays later. Rams quarterback Case Keenum played his third straight start, competing 14 of 23 passes for 103 yards and a 28-yard touchdown pass.
The Rams defensive line dominated the Hawks and caused problems for Wilson sacking him four times forcing three turnovers including a interception in the first half, Wilson's first interception in 168 pass attempts. This was the first time in 64 games that the Seahawks had never held a lead and the Rams scored three touchdowns in the game, one on a fumble recovery by Akeem Ayers, his career first, returning the ball 45 yards in the first quarter.
"We've gotta work on the mistakes we made, I think overall the team will make adjustments and be ready for the upcoming playoffs," Coach Pete Carroll said. "I think we came out a little flat but the Rams defense did a good job today against a good team."
Wilson finished 24 of 41 for 289 yards and two touchdowns, including an 25-yard touchdown pass to Baldwin in the third quarter and an18-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse with only 17 seconds left in the game before the Rams were able to recover the onside kick and run out the clock. Baldwin finished with eight receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown. The Hawks turned the ball over three times on a wet, rainy day in Seattle.
"We gotta continue to strive hard, take a look at what we need to improve on and get better for the playoffs," Wilson said. "We made some mistakes today but we'll need to stay focused and improve for the playoffs. "
When the Rams Benny Cunningham fumbled on a third-and-1 at the Seattle 40, it looked like safety Earl Thomas had failed on the ball and recovered it to the delight of the cheering 12s but the officials ruled later that it was recovered by St. Louis and Cunningham was down by contact. St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley, two plays later, was hit by Thomas and fumbled the ball but the Rams recovered and and it Rams were up by 13.
Gurley, who rushed 85 yards on 19 carries, sealed the deal for the Rams win in Seattle when he scored on a two-yard TD run with a little over 10 min left. "Ultimately we had multiple chances of winning this game. We can't really make any excuses," defensive end Michael Bennet said. "We came up short in the end and we're disappointed but we have to regroup focus on what's next."