Rams show no will to win
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Mike Holmgren's final season in Seattle has been a nightmare. It's not as bad as a St. Louis Rams swoon that could soon leave the franchise coach-hunting.
Held to 76 yards in the first half by a team finally rallying behind Jim Haslett, the Seahawks turned the tables with 10 points in the final 2:47 for a 23-20 victory Sunday. They're 3-11, Holmgren's worst record by far heading into a self-described sabbatical, but it beats 2-12.
T.J. Duckett's 1-yard run tied it, the Rams fizzled while going three-and-out, and Olindo Mare's 27-yard field goal as time expired ended the Seahawks' six-game losing streak. The Rams have lost eight straight.
"I don't know what to say, it's been so long," Holmgren said. "I challenged them a little at halftime and I think they responded beautifully. They're very happy. They should be."
Steven Jackson ran for 91 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown and Jason Craft led an energized defense with two fumble recoveries in the first half for the Rams (2-12). The second half was a completely different story, with St. Louis totaling 99 yards and only four first downs, and Jackson limited to 10 yards on seven carries.
"It should have been 24- or 30-nothing at halftime," Haslett said, citing tight end Joe Klopfenstein's lost fumble as perhaps the pivotal play. "You have a chance to really take care of it in the first half and you don't do it. Hopefully, this team will learn."
The Rams scored 17 points in the first half, more than in all but two entire games, while rolling up 243 yards. They reverted to their bumbling form the rest of the way while losing to an injury-ravaged team without Matt Hasselbeck and tackle Walter Jones.
Quarterback Marc Bulger has long been in Haslett's corner.
"I'm sure he wishes he could go out there and play and help his own fate," Bulger said. "I know he would do a good job turning this place around."
The Seahawks, who walloped the Rams 37-13 in Seattle in September, didn't miss the opening. Duckett's touchdown from about a half-yard out capped an 80-yard drive, and the Rams were hampered before getting the ball back when Haslett unsuccessfully challenged the ruling from a scrum at the goal line.
Three incomplete passes left the Seahawks plenty of time to mount the victorious six-play, 60-yard drive. Jackson was not on the field the first two plays of the Rams' final series after taking a blow to the head earlier in the fourth quarter.
"I took a shot and wasn't really feeling all the way there, so we decided to rotate me in and out to see if I would come to," Jackson said. "When I finally did, the clock was really running out on us."
The big play on the deciding drive was a 45-yard pass from Seneca Wallace to a wide-open Deion Branch to the 9. Branch zipped past St. Louis safety Oshiomogwe Atogwe, who had gone to a spot where he thought the play was headed.
"I was running a corner and he ran to the corner before I even got out there," Branch said. "They see it in a formation and they just know this is where he's going."
Atogwe blamed a "combination of things" for Branch's big gain, and added, "We've got to be alert better, we've got to communicate better."
The game was the Rams' fifth to be blacked out on local TV the last three seasons, and the 65,000-capacity Edward Jones Dome appeared about two-thirds full despite an announced attendance of 56,123. The fans who showed up seemed interested mostly in booing excitable guard Richie Incognito after one of his four penalties.
The Seahawks had targeted Incognito in the buildup to the game, accusing him of dirty play.
Each team lost two fumbles in the first half, both of the St. Louis takeaways by Craft in Seattle territory. The Rams got only a 36-yard field goal by Josh Brown out of those breaks, quickly giving the ball right back after Craft forced and recovered a fumble by Josh Wilson on the ensuing kickoff at the Seattle 42.
The Rams' two first-half touchdowns matched their total from the previous five games. Jackson's 6-yard run in the second quarter capped an 18-play, 97-yard march -- their longest drive of the year in terms of plays and yards.
Notes: Rams WR Derek Stanley (sprained left knee) was injured on Jordan Babineaux's fumble return. Haslett said he'll undergo an MRI exam on Monday but thought the injury was serious. ... Seahawks LT Sean Locklear (dislocated toe on left foot) was carted off after the game-winning field goal when Rams lineman Adam Carriker fell on him. ... Babineaux sustained a mild concussion but played in the Seahawks' nickel package throughout.