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Scoreless in Seattle: Spagnuolo era opens with a thud

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  • Scoreless in Seattle: Spagnuolo era opens with a thud

    Scoreless in Seattle: Spagnuolo era opens with a thud
    Associated Press

    SEATTLE -- The feisty, new-look Seahawks of coach Jim Mora attacked on defense during plays -- and scrapped after them.

    On offense, they showed balance between run and pass, and did a good job of protecting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

    It was as if 2008 never happened.

    St. Louis resembled the same old Rams, who hired Steve Spagnuolo as their head coach after going 2-14 last year.

    Hasselbeck, playing his first game since Thanksgiving Day, overcame two interceptions in his first three throws Sunday to connect with John Carlson for two touchdowns in Seattle's 28-0 romp past the Rams.

    Hasselbeck, who missed nine games last season with a bad back, finished 25 of 36 for 279 yards passing, his most for an opener.

    Seattle's first shutout in almost two years was its ninth consecutive win over its division rivals. It was also Seattle's biggest win to begin a season since a 38-0 victory over Philadelphia in 1998.

    "The whole offseason, they said our team was soft," said rookie outside linebacker Aaron Curry, the fourth overall pick who scuffled repeatedly with Rams running back Steven Jackson. "We've got to change our image."

    Mora was smiling after his first game as a head coach since the end of the 2006 season for Atlanta. Nine months ago, the Seahawks were 4-12 for Mike Holmgren.

    The former visiting locker room attendant for the Seahawks at the old Kingdome returned to his hometown for a day he said he'd thought of "for a long, long time."

    "It was especially emotional for me, because there is some significance to it. I'd be lying if I told you there wasn't," the 47-year-old said. "It was kind of a surreal experience."

    His revived Seahawks took advantage of a rare use of instant replay to cruise over the sloppy, undisciplined Rams, who pushed and shoved their way to 10 penalties.

    Two of them were personal fouls after plays by offensive lineman Richie Incognito.

    "Would you rather us just get our tail kicked and walk back (to the huddle)?" Jackson said. "You saw some fight in this team."

    Yet, St. Louis gained just 247 yards in an effort similar to its 38-3 loss against Philadelphia that opened last season.

    "Yeah, I'm not going there,'' said Spagnuolo, who was the Giants' defensive coordinator at the time. "This was the first game of the 2009 season, that's what it is. We didn't win. We will play the second game of the 2009 season next week. ''

    The game's most decisive -- and weirdest -- play came late in the first half. Seattle's Olindo Mare struck a 49-yard field-goal attempt low. C.J. Ah You blocked it, and three other Rams could have.

    Quincy Butler scooped the ball and ran 51 yards for an apparent touchdown.

    As the Rams were about to snap for the tying extra point, referee Pete Morelli announced the booth officials had called for a review -- for whether St. Louis had 12 men on the field.

    Turns out, they did. The Rams' sideline had almost no reaction to the rare reversal. Three plays later, Hasselbeck found Nate Burleson for a 12-yard touchdown. Instead of 7-7 at halftime, Seattle led 14-0.

    The Rams never recovered.

    "They count (players) every play, just in case that foul is called," Morelli said of the replay officials.

    The issue of giving replay officials authority to review such plays grew after an infamous incident involving former Steelers coach Bill Cowher in 1995, four years before the current replay system began. The late referee Gordon McCarter incorrectly called Pittsburgh for 12 men on the field during a game against Minnesota. Cowher was fined for comically stuffing into McCarter's pocket a photo from the press box showing 11 Steelers on the field.

    St. Louis managed just 13 first downs against the new, attacking schemes of Seattle first-year defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Marc Bulger, playing with tape on his broken right pinkie, was 17 of 36 for 191 yards. He was sacked three times.

    He said the Rams "aren't going to panic" after just one game.

    And Spagnuolo sounded encouraged.

    "I'm obviously disappointed in the result, but I'm not disappointed in the effort," he said. "We feel we are better than that. And that's a good thing."

    The Seahawks' run game under first-year offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, showed some life as Julius Jones went untouched 62 yards for a touchdown in the second half. Jones finished with 117 yards on 19 carries.

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams' Defense Stuffs Seahawks 20-3
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams’ defense stuffs Seahawks 20-3
    By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer


    ST. LOUIS (AP)—Steven Jackson was a question mark until the first snap.

    There was no way he was going to miss this one for the St. Louis Rams. So, he went out and showed the Seattle Seahawks he could play hurt and still make a big impact.

    “I knew I wouldn’t be 100 percent, but I knew I had enough to give,” said Jackson, who blocked out a strained groin Sunday. “I feel like the team is going in the right direction and I wanted to be a part of it.”

    The two-time Pro Bowler had 126 yards rushing and receiving, complementing another strong game by No. 1 pick Sam Bradford and a stout defense in a 20-3 victory Sunday that gave the Rams consecutive wins for the first time in two seasons.

    Bradford, who threw two touchdown passes, knew he wouldn’t have been nearly as effective without the two-time Pro Bowler in the lineup.

    “I never doubted he would be out there,” Bradford said. “He’s a huge part of this offense. Anytime he’s in the huddle, there’s no doubt that it boosts the spirits of everyone in the huddle.”

    Jackson had 70 yards on 22 carries to pass Marshall Faulk for No. 2 on the Rams’ rushing list, shaking off an injury that sidelined him the second half of last week’s win over the Redskins. He added three catches for 54 yards, including a 49-yarder before Kenneth Darby scored on a 21-yard screen pass.

    Officials stopped the game after a 15-yard gain early in the fourth quarter put Jackson ahead of Faulk. Jackson has 6,991 yards in seven seasons with the Rams and trails only Eric Dickerson, who had 7,245 yards from 1983-87.

    “From Day 1, I set a tone that I wanted to leave here putting my footprint on this organization,” Jackson said. “It’s very meaningful, but I ain’t in first place.”

    Bradford completed 23 of 41 passes with one interception as the Rams (2-2) ended a 10-game losing streak against Seattle and topped their win total from last year.

    “It feels great,” Bradford said. “To get ourselves to 2-2 and just be in the conversation for the division lead, I think that’s big for this team.”

    Big for the Rams to get such poise so soon.

    “We got after him pretty good, we chased him around a lot,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re looking at a guy that’s going to be a really big-timer.”

    The last time St. Louis won games was Weeks 5 and 6 of 2008 under interim head coach Jim Haslett.

    Throughout the week, coach Steve Spagnuolo made sure players weren’t content with winning just once.

    “I was a little concerned that the hunger was gone,” Spagnuolo said. “I thought the team came out with the right mind-set.”

    The Rams sacked Matt Hasselbeck four times, had one interception and forced a fumble. St. Louis’ special teams...
    -10-03-2010, 07:19 PM
  • RamFan_Til_I_Die
    Futility flashback
    by RamFan_Til_I_Die
    Futility flashback
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/14/2009

    SEATTLE — The foundation for Rams football under rookie head coach Steve Spagnuolo is supposed to be built on intensity, focus and attention to detail. Suffice it to say, the foundation still contains plenty of cracks, and it's going to take more than a little spackle to seal them.

    Oh, the intensity was there in Sunday's 28-0 drubbing by the Seahawks at Qwest Field. Trouble was, it frequently got out of control. (See: Richie Incognito.)

    But the focus and attention to detail? Apparently, those two qualities didn't make the trip to the Pacific Northwest.

    Granted, for 1˝ quarters, the Rams showed the kind of resiliency necessary to dig out of the franchise's recent doldrums. But one mistake after another eventually took its toll. When a blocked field goal for a touchdown by St. Louis was reversed by a penalty for too many men on the field the floodgates opened.

    Seattle broke open what had been a 7-0 game before the blocked field goal play, scoring on three of its next four possessions. By game's end it looked like just another rout — complete with 10 penalties against St. Louis, 446 yards offense by Seattle and next to no production by the Rams' inept offense on third down and in the red zone.

    Despite an offseason replete with change at every level of the organization, it looked very much like, you know, the same old sorry (bleep) Rams.

    "I'm not going there," Spagnuolo said afterward. "This was the first game of the 2009 season. That's what it is. We didn't win. We're going to play the second game of the 2009 season next week."

    Spagnuolo took the blame for all the penalties. "That's a discipline thing and that falls on the head coach," he said.

    Similarly, he fell on the sword when it came to the blocked field goal, a play in which the Rams added new meaning to the mystique of Seattle's 12th Man. (When he wasn't in the stands cheering on the Seahawks, the 12th Man apparently was lining up with the Rams' field goal block unit.)

    C.J. Ah You, playing in his first NFL regular-season game, blocked Olindo Mare's 49-yard field goal attempt, with Quincy Butler scooping up the football and racing 51 yards for a touchdown to tie the score 7-7 with 49 seconds left in the first half.

    But there was a booth review on the play, which can happen when there is under 2 minutes to play in either half.

    "In replay, under 2 minutes, the replay booth takes over the game," referee Pete Morelli told a pool reporter. "One of the categories they have the ability to review is 12 men on the field. ... They count every play."

    They counted 12, with Ah You being the extra man on the field. A terrible play, to be sure, but the Rams had several chances to...
    -09-14-2009, 08:25 AM
  • Nick
    Rams end hex vs. Seattle
    by Nick
    Rams end hex vs. Seattle
    R.B. FALLSTROM | AP Sports Writer | Posted: Sunday, October 3, 2010 6:12 pm

    ST. LOUIS -- Steven Jackson was a question mark until the first snap.

    There was no way he was going to miss this one for the St. Louis Rams. So, he went out and showed the Seattle Seahawks he could play hurt and still make a big impact.

    "I knew I wouldn't be 100 percent, but I knew I had enough to give," said Jackson, who blocked out a strained groin Sunday. "I feel like the team is going in the right direction and I wanted to be a part of it."

    The two-time Pro Bowler had 126 yards rushing and receiving, complementing another strong game by No. 1 pick Sam Bradford and a stout defense in a 20-3 victory Sunday that gave the Rams consecutive wins for the first time in two seasons.

    Bradford, who threw two touchdown passes, knew he wouldn't have been nearly as effective without the two-time Pro Bowler in the lineup.

    "I never doubted he would be out there," Bradford said. "He's a huge part of this offense. Anytime he's in the huddle, there's no doubt that it boosts the spirits of everyone in the huddle."

    Jackson had 70 yards on 22 carries to pass Marshall Faulk for No. 2 on the Rams' rushing list, shaking off an injury that sidelined him the second half of last week's win over the Redskins. He added three catches for 54 yards, including a 49-yarder before Kenneth Darby scored on a 21-yard screen pass.

    Officials stopped the game after a 15-yard gain early in the fourth quarter put Jackson ahead of Faulk. Jackson has 6,991 yards in seven seasons with the Rams and trails only Eric Dickerson, who had 7,245 yards from 1983-87.

    "From Day 1, I set a tone that I wanted to leave here putting my footprint on this organization," Jackson said. "It's very meaningful, but I ain't in first place."

    Bradford completed 23 of 41 passes with one interception as the Rams (2-2) ended a 10-game losing streak against Seattle and topped their win total from last year.

    "It feels great," Bradford said. "To get ourselves to 2-2 and just be in the conversation for the division lead, I think that's big for this team."

    Big for the Rams to get such poise so soon.

    "We got after him pretty good, we chased him around a lot," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We're looking at a guy that's going to be a really big-timer."

    The last time St. Louis won games was Weeks 5 and 6 of 2008 under interim head coach Jim Haslett.

    Throughout the week, coach Steve Spagnuolo made sure players weren't content with winning just once.

    "I was a little concerned that the hunger was gone," Spagnuolo said. "I thought the team came out with the right mind-set."...
    -10-03-2010, 05:04 PM
  • RamWraith
    After taking beating, Hasselbeck hangs on
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Monday, Nov. 26 2007

    The Rams put Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck through the wringer Sunday.

    He took more than an hour to recover from the Seahawks' 24-19 victory. In the
    process, he excused himself from the locker room twice to rather loudly lose
    his lunch.

    At least he didn't heave his sense of humor. "It wasn't me," he said, laughing
    weakly. "That was Josh Brown," the Seahawks kicker, who missed two field-goal
    attempts for the first time since last December. Then, he fessed up: "I'm
    honestly so exhausted. I've got nothing left."

    Hasselbeck was sacked five times, tied for a season high. But perhaps some of
    the fatigue was cumulative. Hasselbeck was hit hard last week in a 30-23
    victory over Chicago and missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. He seemed
    physically exhausted from running to escape the Rams' blitz but was perhaps
    more tired mentally from trying to outthink the Rams' defense.

    "We didn't handle the pressure very well," Hasselbeck said. "We know Jim
    Haslett is a very creative coach. They give you things that no one else does,
    so you have to treat them differently. The keys that I had going into the game,
    my way of guessing right, didn't hold up. They must have self-scouted. They did
    a good job there. When we did know what to do, we didn't execute. They were
    definitely into our rhythm."

    The mental game of cat-and-mouse began on the first series, when Hasselbeck's
    first pass was incomplete and he was sacked on successive plays.

    "Ironically, we started the game with pretty much the exact same play as the
    last time we played them, and they started with exactly the same blitz,"
    Hasselbeck said of the Seahawks' successful opening drive in a 33-6 victory on
    Oct. 21. "Last time, we were successful. This time, we weren't."

    The Seahawks gave up a safety on their second possession. Seattle scored its
    only points of the first half on an 89-yard kickoff return by Josh Wilson.
    Seattle trailed 19-7 at halftime, gaining 6 yards rushing. Hasselbeck had
    completed 10 of 20 passes for 104 yards with an interception and a rating of
    44.6.

    "It was a careless game," coach Mike Holmgren said. "You hang on for dear life
    and hope the ship will right itself."

    The ship got back on course late in the third quarter, when Marcus Truffant
    intercepted a pass from Gus Frerotte and Maurice Morris dashed 46 yards. Three
    plays later, the Seahawks scored, closing the gap to 19-17. They took the lead
    for good on an up-tempo drive that included five consecutive completions and
    finished with a...
    -11-26-2007, 05:35 AM
  • MauiRam
    Rams hope to end another streak ..
    by MauiRam
    BY JIM THOMAS • Thursday, September 30, 2010 12:10 am

    It has been so long since the Rams beat Seattle that, well, some Rams veterans have forgotten how long.

    Try the 2004 season.

    "Oh, wow," was cornerback Ron Bartell's reaction.

    It has been so long that ...

    — The entire Rams rookie class was in high school.

    — The Rams were the defending NFC West champions.

    — And sellouts, the kind where every ticket actually gets sold, happened every Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Since then, the Rams have lost 10 in a row to the Seahawks, who visit the dome Sunday for a noon kickoff. It's the second-longest losing streak to an opponent in Rams history, exceeded only by 17 consecutive losses to San Francisco from 1990-98.

    Only two players on the current roster have experienced a victory over Seattle as members of the Rams — long snapper Chris Massey and running back Steven Jackson.

    "They've just outplayed us the last couple years," Massey said. "We're working hard. Not all of the young guys know that they've won the last 10 games."

    Nor do all of them even care. When asked if the Seattle streak meant anything to him, rookie quarterback Sam Bradford said, "No. I mean, I haven't been here. Like I said, this is a new team. This is a fresh start. Obviously, we're going to play these guys twice this year and this is the first time."

    Steve Spagnuolo, a mere 0-2 against the Seahawks as Rams coach, brushed aside a question on the topic Wednesday, displaying typical coach's tunnel vision.

    "It wouldn't matter if we had won 10 games in a row, I would still want to beat them," Spagnuolo said. "So I'm just going to deal with this Sunday's game against Seattle and this particular 2010 Seattle team."

    That may be so, but if the Rams are going to claw their way back to respectability, they must start ending some streaks. On Sunday against Washington, they snapped a 10-game overall losing streak and ended their franchise-record 14-game home losing streak.

    This Sunday, they can not only end their 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks but also end a 15-game skid against NFC West foes dating back to November 2007.

    "Ten is a long streak, and I think we're primed to have our best game yet," said place-kicker Josh Brown. "We've had two games that we let go by (against Arizona and Oakland). We had one that we really played well last week (against Washington), and we still made a lot of mistakes. We've got a great opportunity against a good Seahawk team. Ten's a long run. But 10's enough."

    Brown is a double agent of sorts when it comes to this streak. He is in his third season with St. Louis and has been part of the last four Rams losses to Seattle. But before...
    -09-30-2010, 12:57 AM
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