By Nick Wagoner
SEATTLE– While the Rams’ patchwork offensive line couldn’t keep quarterback Marc Bulger protected all day Sunday, it also couldn’t protect the Rams from the worst start in franchise history.
With leaks springing all across the line, the Seahawks feasted on Bulger and the Rams anemic offense on their way to a convincing and thorough 33-6 win at Qwest Field on Sunday.
The loss drops the Rams to 0-7 for the first time in franchise history. Seattle took control of the NFC West Division with the win as it improved to 4-3.
Seattle sacked Bulger seven times, came up with four takeaways and hurried or hit Bulger on countless other plays.
Leading the way was defensive end Darryl Tapp, who made a case for the Pro Bowl with four sacks and a forced fumble.
The Rams offense continued its struggles, finishing with just 202 yards of total offense.
The Rams had another opportunity go by the wayside as Wilkins missed from 44 yards.
Things didn’t get much better in the final quarter as the Rams continued to struggle to protect Bulger. He was sacked and coughed up another fumble early in the final period, giving the ball back to Seattle at the Rams’ 44 with 9:06 to play.
Seattle didn’t muster much offensively, but it was enough for Brown to kick his fourth field goal, this time from43 yards out to make it 26-6 with 7:02 to play.
Julian Peterson intercepted Bulger and Seattle scored two plays later when Hasselbeck hit Heller again this time from 11 yards out to give Seattle a 33-6 lead.
The second half started in the worst way possible for the Rams. An improving special teams unit got burned on the opening kickoff as Nate Burleson had his second return for a touchdown in as many games against the Rams.
Burleson raced 91 yards among some missed tackles for the score, giving Seattle a 17-3 lead with 14:47 to go in the quarter.
The Rams offense put together its best drive of the day as Bulger used Torry Holt for the first time all day. Holt went to work to the tune of four catches for 53 yards, but dropped a potential 17-yard touchdown. That drop helped kill the drive deep in Seattle territory and the Rams settled for a 29-yard field goal from Wilkins. With 10:33 to go in the quarter, Seattle is up 17-6.
Seattle answered again, driving in to St. Louis territory to set up a 48-yard field goal from Brown. That kick gave Seattle a 20-6 lead with about six and half minutes to go.
The Rams gave it right back on the ensuing possession as defensive end Darryl Tapp came up with his fourth sack of the game, causing a fumble that was recovered by Jordan Babineaux at the Rams’ 21.
The defense held Seattle to a field goal again, as Brown converted from 45 yards out to make it 23-6 Seahawks at the end of the quarter.
Seattle opened the second quarter with another long drive, but the Rams tightened up in the red zone and held the Seahawks to a 38-yard field goal from Josh Brown. That kick made it 10-3 Seattle with 10:15 to go in the half.
The Rams defense kept them in the game as they bent, but did not break. Cornerback Ron Bartell came up with an interception to thwart another Seattle drive.
But the offense continues to struggle as Bulger has had little time to throw and when he has had a little, he has been unable to get rid of it. On the bright side, the Rams aren’t getting beaten in field position because of the continued excellence of punter Donnie Jones.
Jones booted an 80-yard punt late in the quarter, the third longest in the history of the Rams.
At the half, Seattle leads 10-3.
After winning the toss, the Rams took the ball, but immediately went three and out, giving the ball to Seattle at its 29.
The Seahawks wasted no time marching down the field, going 71 yards on 11 plays for a 1-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck to tight end Will Heller. The extra point gave Seattle a 7-0 lead with 7:40 to go in the opening quarter.
After another drive ended quickly, the Rams defense came up with a big stop on fourth-and-inches to take over at Seattle ’s 48.
Marc Bulger hit Isaac Bruce on third-and-9, but Bruce slipped on what would have been a touchdown. The 31-yard gain gave the Rams a shot in the red zone and a 12-yard gain from Brian Leonard set up first-and-goal from the 4. But the Rams went backward on a sack by Julian Peterson and had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins.
That kick made it 7-3 Seattle with 1:02 to go in the first.
Greetings from one of the best places to watch football in the NFL, Qwest Stadium. The Seahawks have found a way to build a great game day atmosphere and the stadium itself is a wonderful place.
Here’s a shocker, it’s probably going to rain sometime today in Seattle . The Rams practiced in rainy and windy conditions earlier in the week so nothing should take them by surprise.
The Rams have almost completely returned to health and that makes the inactive decisions a little more difficult.
Running back Steven Jackson (groin) and returner Dante Hall (ankle) are inactive today. Jackson is expected to return next week and Hall won’t likely be back until after the bye week.
Receivers Dane Looker (thigh) and Drew Bennett (hamstring) are also inactive. They showed signs of recovery during the week but neither will play today. That means newly signed Travis Taylor will be involved in the offense with Marques Hagans serving as the third receiver behind Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.
Tight end Dominique Byrd, safety Bhawoh Jue, defensive end Trevor Johnson and center Nick Leckey are also inactive.
Notables out for the Seahawks include receivers Deion Branch and D.J. Hackett and tight end Marcus Pollard.