Defense steps up in Rams' opening victory over Seahawks
ST. LOUIS (AP) Defense carried the St. Louis Rams in their opening victory over the Seattle Seahawks. As hoped, there was a carry-over from the end of last season when players became familiar with Gregg Williams' system.
''They're one of the best defensive lines in the National Football League,'' Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said after getting sacked six times in the Rams' 34-31 overtime victory. ''They made some plays.''
It was an impressive response after a winless preseason. St. Louis dropped three of its first four games in each of the previous two seasons.
''It certainly was a reward for them for all the hard work through camp, some of the negativity that emerged from our preseason games,'' coach Jeff Fisher said Monday. ''It was a great day.''
Win at Washington this week - they opened as 2 1/2-point favorites - and they'll be 2-0 for the first time since 2001. As it is, they are 1-0 for just the third time since 2005.
Fisher is emphasizing that the team needs to clean up its mistakes.
''The odds are really diminished,'' he said after the Rams gave up two returns for touchdowns against the Seahawks. The defense was the equalizer.
Marshawn Lynch was held in check with 73 yards on 18 carries. The sack total on Wilson equaled their two-game total from last season.
Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald had two sacks apiece. Donald and fellow tackle Michael Brockers had big games, and combined on the tackle that threw Lynch for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1 from the St. Louis 42.
''Aaron, that was really one of the best games I've seen a defensive tackle play,'' Fisher said.
The pass rush was so effective the Seahawks had a hard time getting new tight end Jimmy Graham involved in much.
''The guys just finished the game,'' Quinn said. ''We've preached that the past few years - finish, finish, finish.''
The offense was better than expected, too, considering running back Tre Mason (hamstring) was out and the line is breaking in two rookie starters. Nick Foles took some shots, but was sacked only twice.
At least for one game, the Rams showed maturity that has eluded the team - even though Fisher proudly pointed out that once again they're the youngest team in the NFL.
''You have to lean on each other and have each other's backs to win the game, and that's what the guys did,'' Foles said. ''That's what we have to continue to do.''
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