The Week 17 battle between the St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks was ornery from the start. The teams were in each others’ faces. Jaws were flapping. Yaps were yapping.
When the Seahawks beat the Rams 14-9 in Week 8, the game was decided by an 80 yard Golden Tate touchdown reception. Remember how he was penalized and fined for taunting Janoris Jenkins for the last 30 yards? The Rams remember.
This was shaping up to be another tough defensive fight. Seattle scored first on a Malcom Smith interception return. Then the Rams allowed the Seahawks only two field-goals for most of the first three quarters.
Ricardo Lockette knocked punt returner (and ex-Seahawk) Justin Veltung out of the game and then demolished his replacement Austin Pettis. The Rams focused most of their aggression on Tate. Both returning punts and catching passes, Tate gave as much as he got. He looked very Marshawn-inspired, keeping his legs churning for extra yardage. I can’t think of another wide receiver who’s so unwilling to be tackled.
Then the Rams melt down in the third quarter. Up 13-3, the Seahawks were driving. In trademark style, Marshawn Lynch refused to go out of bounds. He knocked off Trumaine Johnson‘s helmet and continued to stiff-arm him without it. Linebacker Alec Ogletree started a scuffle on the sideline and was flagged for it.
Robert Turbin carried for no gain on the next play and Ogletree kept scrapping after the whistle, earning him another flag. Defensive lineman Kendall Langford began arguing with the officials. Gesturing wildly, he knocked the hat from one referee then swatted at his hand. He was ejected, given a personal foul, threw his helmet and earned another penalty.
In two plays, the Rams were stuck for four personal fouls. Seattle moved from the 23 yard line to the 1. Marshawn scored two plays later.
A winnable game became a rout in moments. At 13-3 or maybe 16-3 if they gave up a field-goal, the Rams were very much in the game. The Cardinals beat the Seahawks last week with good defense and by sticking around. St. Louis could have done the same before they completely melted down.
The dagger was Tate’s 47 yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter to make it 27-3. He smoked Jenkins down the left sideline again, looking much like the Week 8 score without the taunting.
Tate’s learned his lesson. Since the first Rams game, he’s led with his actions and not his lips. He’s been a true professional and a tough football player. He finished with 8 catches for 129 yards. Both are career highs.
Now the Rams have to sit with this loss for the whole off-season. They played three great defensive quarters. They were truly a few big plays from winning this game just before they fell apart. For the last 17 minutes, they looked totally outclassed.
For the first time since Week 9, Seattle didn’t lead the game in penalty yardage. They also never responded to the Rams’ provocation.
Enjoy the bye week, Seahawks.
David Klenda, also known as Eighty Six, is Division Leader for the NFC West and AFC West. Find him at Eighty Six the Poet or on Twitter as 86ThePoet . He also writes for Bright Hub . Find his ebooks at Smashwords . He also just won the TPF fantasy football league.
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