St. Louis puts up fight, falls short to Seattle
BY TIM BOOTH Associated Press
Monday, December 31, 2012
12/31/12 at 5:35 AM
SEATTLE - Even though St. Louis fell short of its goal of finishing with a winning record for the first time in nearly a decade, Jeff Fisher was extremely proud.
Taking the Rams from 2-14 to the verge of a winning season, then nearly knocking off the hottest team in the NFC on the road to close the season sent a message for next season.
"The guys are going to get away and get refreshed, recharged and come back with some optimism," Fisher said. "I think those guys, in that room, can stand up and look people in the eye and say, 'Hey, the Rams are back.' "
Seattle defeated St. Louis 20-13 Sunday as Russell Wilson tied Peyton Manning's record for most touchdown passes by a rookie with 26.
Wilson's 1-yard TD run with 1:39 left earned the win and an 8-0 home mark for the Seahawks.
St. Louis (7-8-1) quarterback Sam Bradford tried to put together a final drive, converting one fourth down and getting to the Seattle 29 with 40 seconds left.
But on fourth-and-10, Bradford forced his throw and Sherman stepped in front for his eighth interception of the season. Wilson took a knee and Seattle headed for the playoffs winners of five straight and seven of eight.
Bradford was 25-of-42 for 242 yards with a touchdown pass to Austin Pettis. Greg Zuerlein kicked field goals of 25 and 39 yards. Steven Jackson also went over 1,000 yards rushing for the eighth straight season, becoming just the sixth player in NFL history to do it.
Seattle's offensive surge of the past three weeks was gone, bogged down by St. Louis' smart coverage in the secondary and effective pass rush. Seattle became the first team since 1950 to score 150 points in a three week span, yet had just three points at halftime and six midway through the third quarter.
The Rams sacked Wilson six times, including three by Chris Long, but couldn't do enough offensively to finish with their first winning record since 2003.
"We expected it to be a dog fight, we expected it to be real tight, we expected it to come down to the wire just like it did," Long said. "And we expected to come out on top and win, we just didn't do it."
Seattle (11-5) had hopes of winning the NFC West, but needed Arizona to upset San Francisco.
Seattle will travel to NFC East champion Washington for the first round of the playoffs.
Jackson, who spoke earlier this week of possibly examining retirement, said he still wants to be in St. Louis and has something left.
"What I said was that I would seek all options and that would be something that is an option for me," Jackson said. "I love the game of football and I feel like I still have a lot left in my tank. Let's just get the deal done, how about that?"
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson pushes past St. Louis' Eugene Sims for a 15-yard run in the second half of the Seahawks' 20-13 victory over the Rams on Sunday in Seattle. ELAINE THOMPSON / Associated Press