SEATTLE – Tarvaris Jackson threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin with 6 seconds left in the third quarter to give the Seattle Seahawks a 20-6 lead over the St. Louis Rams on Monday night.
After a 23-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka extended Seattle's lead to 13-3 midway through the period, the Rams mounted their best offensive drive of the game.
Sam Bradford caught Seattle in a blitz and tossed a screen pass to Steven Jackson that went for 50 yards to put the Rams in the red zone for the first time. Richard Sherman was called for pass interference on the next play, giving St. Louis first-and-goal from the 1. But the Rams sputtered again — Bradford was called for intentional grounding, pushing them backward and forcing a 29-yard field goal by Josh Brown.
The Seahawks finally managed to get in the end zone on the ensuing drive. A big kick return from Leon Washington gave Seattle good field position and Tarvaris Jackson hit Baldwin on consecutive plays. The first pass went for 22 yards and the next one gave Seattle a 20-6 cushion.
Michael Robinson returned a blocked punt 17 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter to get the Seahawks on the board.
Baldwin made three big plays on special teams for the Seahawks. He returned the opening kickoff 37 yards, downed the team's first punt at the Rams 6-yard line and blocked the St. Louis punt.
Seattle later went on a 14-play drive that stalled deep in Rams territory before Hauschka made a 42-yard field goal to give the Seahawks a 10-0 lead.
After recommitting to the ground game around midseason, the Seahawks were working on five straight games with at least 100 yards rushing. Marshawn Lynch topped 100 yards himself in four of those five games, with the one time he was held under the century mark coming against the Rams, when he finished with 88 yards.
Lynch had 128 carries over the previous five games after getting 74 carries in the first six. Yet he had just 28 yards on nine carries in the first half Monday night.
Bradford started for the Rams despite a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss last week's game against the San Francisco 49ers. Bradford was 6 of 18 for 50 yards through three quarters.
With Bradford struggling, Steven Jackson started to carry the Rams' offense early in the second quarter. He broke three runs of 10-plus yards as St. Louis drove into Seattle territory. K.J. Wright came up with a sack of Bradford that stalled the drive and forced the Rams to settle for a 46-yard field goal by Brown.
Tarvaris Jackson led the Seahawks back into St. Louis territory, but a fumbled exchange between him and Lynch gave the ball back to the Rams and kept Seattle from adding to its lead.
Jackson was 17 of 27 for 174 yards and a touchdown through three quarters.
For the Rams, Steven Jackson had 56 yards on 15 carries to lead the way for a sputtering offense. Despite 14 career games against the division-rival Seahawks, he had never rushed for 100 yards against Seattle.
After a Seattle drive lost yardage and set up the Rams with good field position, St. Louis decided to go for a fourth-and-1 at the Seahawks 36. Instead of riding Steven Jackson, the Rams went to play-action and Bradford's pass for Danario Alexander was broken up by Richard Sherman to force a turnover on downs.
Seattle was looking for its fourth win in five games and was trying to keep its slim playoff hopes alive. The Seahawks would likely need to win out and get to 9-7 for any chance of reaching the postseason for a second straight season.