Pace wins battle on line against former teammate Wistrom
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch

SEATTLE - They will meet at least once more this season, and perhaps many more times in seasons to come. But on Sunday, chalk up Round 1 of the Orlando Pace-Grant Wistrom matchup to Pace.

"Grant plays hard, I know that," said Pace, the Rams' Pro Bowl left tackle.

Then, unsuccessfully trying to suppress a smile, Pace added: "I don't how many plays he made."

The short answer would be: Not many. According to unofficial press box stats, Wistrom had one solo tackle, two assists, and one pass breakup.

"I don't think I played very well," Wistrom said. "I think I can play much better, and I expect to go out and play a lot better next week."

Wistrom, a first-round draft pick by the Rams in 1998 and a five-year Rams starter, signed a $33 million free-agent contract with Seattle in the offseason. Much was made of Wistrom playing against his old team in the days leading up to the game.

"It's just more distractions," Wistrom said.

In pregame introductions, the Seahawks' defense was introduced at Qwest Field, with Wistrom saved for last.

Martz shows patience

Even though the Rams trailed 24-7 at halftime, coach Mike Martz took a patient approach on offense. Instead of abandoning the run in the third quarter, Martz made it a point to keep handing the ball off to Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson.

"Mike said it was the way he had to do it," Pace said. "So he came out, he ran the ball. We were surprised, but I think that loosened (Seattle) up. That opened up the pass down the stretch."

The Rams had only eight carries at halftime, but had 16 in the second half and overtime. "It was just unbelievable discipline on his part," guard Adam Timmerman said. "Because it would have been so easy to just start passing."

A. Williams is hurt

Safety Aeneas Williams suffered a pinched nerve in his shoulder with 1 minute 10 seconds remaining in the first half and did not return. He was replaced by Adam Archuleta in the base defense, with Kwamie Lassiter coming in as part of the nickel package.

Williams is scheduled to have an MRI exam today in St. Louis. "So we'll find out, but I think I'll be fine," he said.

Defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson left with a strained hamstring trying to chase down Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on a pass rush with 4 1/2 minutes left in the opening quarter. He did not return.

Backup cornerback Dwight Anderson left the game briefly with a right shin injury on punt coverage midway through the first quarter. X-rays were negative and he returned early in the second quarter.

Bruce's streak ends

Isaac Bruce's streak of 100-yard receiving games was snapped at four games - the second longest streak of his NFL career. Bruce logged six straight 100-yard games in 1995, the Rams' first season in St. Louis.

He finished Sunday's game with six catches for 78 yards, and had key catches on the scoring drive that culminated in Brandon Manumaleuna's fourth-quarter touchdown, as well as Jeff Wilkins' field goal that sent the game into overtime.

Bruce suffered what Martz called a mild concussion, apparently on the 27-yard catch that helped set up Wilkins' field goal, and did not play in overtime.

Bruce refused to call it a concussion.

"I don't have a concussion," said Bruce, who seemed a little groggy after the game. "I just got a little ...(pause)but I'm fine. I've got nothing. I'm ready to go."

Garrett sits

After starting last week against San Francisco, cornerback Kevin Garrett was among the Rams' seven pregame inactives in Seattle.