The Rams snapped a 10-game losing streak in Seattle with a 23-17 victory over the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field behind a strong defensive effort and opportunistic offensive attack.
“Guys played hard,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters. “Case (Keenum) made some good decisions. I thought the offensive line played well against that front. That front is really good. Fortunately we were able to keep the run game going throughout the game and we got creases and Todd (Gurley) made some plays.
“What can you say about Tim Barnes? That’s great effort, great effort. You never want to see the balls on the ground but we got some bounces and Tim made two big plays.”
The Rams (7-8) have now won three straight games since making the change at offensive coordinator, with Rob Boras replacing Frank Cignetti, and will go into next Sunday’s season finale on the road against the San Francisco 49ers with a chance to finish 8-8 for the first time since 2006.
“We made some difficult changes with respect to the quarterback and the coordinator change and some of those things are paying off for us right now,” Fisher said. “It’s nice. To win three straight, against three teams, and have a chance to go 5-1 in the division and finish on a winning note, that’s where our focus is going.”
Those two were good again on Sunday — Wilson completed 25 of 41 passes for 289 yards, two touchdowns and an interception and Baldin had eight catches for 118 yards and a score — but the Rams defense came up clutch.
St. Louis sacked Wilson four times, including three by defensive end William Hayes, linebacker Akeem Ayers recovered two fumbles and cornerback Trumaine Johnson recorded an interception for the fourth straight game.
Offensively, the Rams were balanced on offense with a season-low 207 total yards — 104 rushing and 103 passing. Rookie running back Todd Gurley ran for 85 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Quarterback Case Keenum completed 14 of 23 passes for 103 yards, one touchdown and a QB rating of 86.0.
The Rams jumped out to a 16-0 lead midway through the second quarter on Greg Zuerlein's 42-yard field goal, Ayers’ 45-yard fumble return touchdown and Keenum’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt (though Zuerlein missed the point-after kick).
“It was great to get off to the start we did,” Fisher said. “Mark (Barron’s) play on the short yardage, the third and 1, the hit and the caused fumble that really set the tempo.”
The Seahawks cut the deficit with a 26-yard field goal from Steven Hauschka with 15 seconds remaining in the first half and Wilson’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Baldwin midway through the third quarter closed the deficit to 16-10.
But the Rams responded with another scoring drive, which included two fumble recoveries by center Tim Barnes, that was capped off with a 2-yard touchdown run by Gurley with 10:34 remaining.
“That’s the way they are coached and they are downfield in case that happens,” Fisher said of Barnes’ recoveries. “That’s why you go down the field. They all do it and Tim happened to be in the right place.”
The visitors thwarted a potential Seahawks scoring drive late when Wilson fumbled on a hit by defensive end Eugene Sims and Ayers recovered with 2:38 remaining.
Seattle did score again, however, with Wilson connecting with Jermaine Kearse for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds left cut the deficit to 23-17.
But then the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds and the Rams were able to celebrate their second win over the Seahawks this season and first victory in Seattle since a playoff win on Jan. 8, 2005.