Rams Upend Seahawks Again, 23-12
Sunday, November 14, 2004

NFL.com wire reports

Mike Martz got angry, and the St. Louis Rams got the message.

Marc Bulger got off to a red-hot start and a beleaguered defense held Seattle to three field goals in five trips inside the 20 in a 23-12 victory that earned them a first-place tie with the Seahawks in the NFC West on Sunday. The Rams had drawn the ire of their head coach, who twice put the season on their backs after consecutive losses to the beat-up Patriots and previously winless Dolphins.

The Rams (5-4) responded to Mad Mike by sweeping the season series against their top competition in the West, this time benefiting from an early cushion rather than a fast finish. The Rams led 17-0 early in the second quarter in the rematch; they scored 17 points in the final 5½ minutes of regulation of an overtime victory in Seattle on Oct. 10.

Shaun Alexander had 176 yards on 22 carries, giving him 531 yards the last three games and putting him over 1,000 yards for the fourth straight season. But Alexander's fumble after a 35-yard gain to the St. Louis 9 early in the fourth quarter blew the Seahawks' chance to tie it, with Aeneas Williams stripping the ball and Rich Coady recovering.

Matt Hasselbeck had one of his worst games of the season for the Seahawks (5-4), going 15-for-36 for 172 yards. The Seahawks were limited to four field goals by Josh Brown.

Bulger was 5-for-6 for 71 yards on the opening drive, capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Curtis, and was 12-for-15 in the first quarter for 158 yards. By early in the second quarter he had spread the ball to nine receivers.

He was ineffective much of the second half playing with the lead, finishing 23-for-34 for 262 yards. But Marshall Faulk helped compensate, shrugging off a lost fumble and finishing with a season-best 139 yards on 18 carries, and the Rams totaled a season-best 202 yards on the ground.

The Rams came out firing. Martz called 13 consecutive passes to open the game and 10 were completions, including the 15-yard TD to Curtis.

He finally called for a handoff midway through the second quarter, resulting in a 14-yard gain by Steven Jackson. Jackson scored from the 4 on the next play for a 14-0 lead.

St. Louis just missed making it three touchdowns on their first three drives. Shaun McDonald couldn't hold a pass over the middle in the end zone, a play Martz unsuccessfully challenged, resulting in a 36-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins for a 17-0 lead.

The Seahawks had the ball inside the Rams 20 three times in the first half, but got only two field goals by Brown. A third trip to the red zone ended in an interception by Jerametrius Butler at the 1.

The Rams played much of the game minus two stars. Offensive tackle Orlando Pace was ejected in the third quarter for making contact with the side judge during a scrum following a lost fumble by Faulk. Torry Holt took a blow to the head in the first quarter and did not return.

St. Louis clinched it with two third-down plays, a 15-yard reverse by Curtis and a 39-yard run by Faulk to the Seattle 13 that set up a 23-yard field goal with 26 seconds left.