For the second year in a row the St. Louis Rams traveled to Seattle to finish the regular season. Both times it ended in a Seattle Seahawks victory and a loss that kept the Rams from an eight-win season. The Rams were an offensive let down all game long, only totaling 158 yards on offense.
Even the emerging rookie Zac Stacy failed to produce on the ground after back-to-back 100 yard games. The Seahawks defense was more than prepared to shut down Stacy early, limiting him to a measly 15 yards on 15 carries. He entered the game only 42 yards short of the 1,000 yard mark. He would end his stellar rookie campaign just at 973 rushing yards and 3.9 yards per attempt.
The Jake Long-less offensive line was thoroughly dominated throughout the matchup and pressured Kellen Clemens into poor, rushed decisions. Clemens threw for 157 yards on 21 completions in 30 attempts. Those numbers fit in with his season average, but the first interception he threw gave the Seahawks their only touchdown of the first half on the return. He would go onto throw another interception and almost threw another one if the Seahawks defenders wouldn’t have collided in their own end zone. Clemens was able to get the Rams into the end zone on a short pass to TE Jared Cook on the Rams’ final drive.
The offense would fail to put up any points until their second drive in the third quarter on a 36-yard field goal by K Greg Zuerlein. Zuerlein finished his second season going 26-28 on field goals for the second most accurate season for a Rams kicker in the history of the franchise.
The defense played extremely well in the first half holding the Seahawks to six offensive points, leaving the Rams down 13-0 at the half. The fireworks didn’t erupt until the second half when emotions ran high and the Rams’ hopes for an 8-8 season spiraled out of control. Both teams were participating in post-play trash talk and quarrels, but it was St. Louis that took the brunt of the penalties. Gathering 12 penalties and one ejection in total added to their disappointing performance.
The Rams were able to sack Russell Wilson four times in the matchup, reaching the 50 sack plateau for the third time in four years. Robert Quinn would finish the day with one sack, leaving him at 19 on the season, setting the Rams’ new franchise record and the NFC lead, but leaving him a half of a sack short of Robert Mathis for the Deacon Jones NFL Sack Lead Award. Quinn’s only chance of nabbing the DPOY Award was to win the sack race and he just missed out on that.
Rams Pro Bowl P Johnny Hekker punted seven times for 337 yards, setting the league record for net yards per punt at 44.2, further cementing the Rams’ belief in their young punter and kicker as the future of the franchise on special teams. TE Jared Cook finished the season with 51 catches to set a new career-high and giving him the most for a St. Louis TE since the team moved in 1995.
It wasn’t all bad news for the youngest team in the NFL though. According to the team’s official site, Rams HC Jeff Fisher said, “I’m encouraged about the guys in that locker room and the guys I haven’t met yet.” He is obviously looking forward to next season as should all Rams fans who saw the glimpses of excellence from their team. The arrow is pointing up for the franchise with the second pick in the draft and a strong core of players already inked to contracts. It will be interesting to see what the offseason and draft have in store for this team.