Rams late surge continues taking down playoff-bound Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) What was supposed to be a speed bump on Seattle's roll toward the postseason again became a problem the Seahawks have yet to fully solve.
For whatever the reason, the St. Louis Rams continue to cause difficulties for Seattle.
''Every year we feel like we can beat them. As you can see, we always play them tough,'' Rams DE Chris Long said.
The Rams won in Seattle for the first time since the 2004 playoffs with a 23-17 victory over the Seahawks on Sunday, keeping alive St. Louis' hopes of finishing at .500 for the first time since 2006. The Rams also unearthed problems the Seahawks believed had been put to rest during their five-game win streak that was snapped by St. Louis.
Russell Wilson was swarmed by the pass rush the same way he was earlier in the season. There were no running lanes open for any of Seattle's ball carriers. Untimely penalties again were an issue.
Seattle is hoping context explains what went wrong. No team has created more issues for Wilson and Seattle's offense in recent seasons than the Rams.
''They showed up. We didn't. They came to play and we didn't. Got to be better,'' Seattle tackle Garry Gilliam said.
Todd Gurley rushed for 85 yards, and his touchdown with 10:34 left gave St. Louis a 23-10 lead that stood up. Center Tim Barnes recovered two fumbles on that drive, which was capped by Gurley's 2-yard TD run.
Not surprisingly, Barnes was given a game ball afterward.
Wilson was sacked four times and hit 13 times. He was 25 of 41 for 289 yards and two touchdowns, including an 18-yard TD to Jermaine Kearse with 17 seconds left. But St. Louis recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
''We had some weird mishaps that we don't normally have,'' Wilson said. ''We haven't been playing that way.''
Here's what else to know from the Rams sweeping the season series from Seattle:
RUNNING NOWHERE: Seattle's streak of 25 straight games rushing for 100 yards as a team was snapped as the Seahawks were held to just 60 yards rushing. Wilson was the leader with 39 yards, and the combo of Bryce Brown and Christine Michael could not get the run game established. Brown and Michael combined for 15 yards on 13 carries.
''When we run the ball for 60 yards we're not on it,'' Carroll said. ''We're in bad shape at the line of scrimmage and we have to do a lot better than that.''
PUNTERS ARE PEOPLE, TOO: Pro Bowl punter Johnny Hekker became an internet meme during this one.
Hekker made the mistake of taking a cheap shot on Seattle's Cliff Avril during the second quarter and was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. On his next punt, both Avril and Michael Bennett feigned as though they were going after Hekker, causing the punter to cower expecting a hit from the bigger defensive linemen.
No hits came, but video of Hekker - a Seattle-area native - shrinking from the lineman was all over Twitter and elsewhere.
''I was trying to protect myself. It wasn't the most manly looking thing, that's for certain. My teammates got my back and I'm sure I'm going to get plenty of crap from them and from everybody else,'' Hekker said.
BALDWIN'S BEST: Seattle WR Doug Baldwin wasn't in the mood to talk about his accomplishments after the loss, but he continued to rewrite Seattle's record book.
Baldwin had eight catches for 118 yards and a touchdown in the loss. It was his 14th TD catch of the season, setting a new franchise record. He also became the first 1,000-yard receiver for Seattle since Bobby Engram in 2007.
And Baldwin became the fourth different player all-time to have at least 11 touchdown catches over a five-game span in a single season.
''I'll think about it when I retire,'' Baldwin said.
CASE MADE: St. Louis QB Case Keenum didn't do much through the air but he wasn't asked to. Keenum won his third straight start, completing 14 of 23 passes for 103 yards and one touchdown. Keenum didn't attack Seattle's secondary often, but hit Kenny Britt on a 28-yard TD in the second quarter to take a 16-0 lead.
''I don't know if it deflated them at all, but we put the pressure on them pretty quick, which I think was big,'' Keenum said.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL