St. Louis at Seattle Game Preview

Breakdown preview of the St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks battle in week-three of the NFL season.

St. Louis Rams (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (2-0)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 ET
SURFACE: FieldTurf
TV: FOX, Sam Rosen, Bill Maas
SERIES: 10th meeting. St. Louis leads the series, 6-3. The teams split the season series in 2002, with each team winning at home.
2003 RANKINGS: Rams: offense 17th (30th rush, 7th pass); defense 24th (27th rush, 20th pass). Seahawks: offense 21st (8th rush, 26th pass); defense 21st (15th rush, 23rd pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: It's all about pass protection for the Rams. Given the time, QB Marc Bulger tore apart San Francisco in the second half last Sunday, and will target Seahawks rookie CB Marcus Trufant. If Seattle pressures Bulger, defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes' group has created 10 turnovers in two games and could create some short fields for an offense that hasn't been counted on to win a game yet. St. Louis will need to improve its run defense and provide help to its young corners against big-play Seahawks WRs Koren Robinson and Darrell Jackson.

FAST FACTS: Rams: RB Marshall Faulk has caught a pass in 136 consecutive games, the longest current streak in the NFL to begin a career. ... WR Isaac Bruce has 9,663 career receiving yards, 99 shy of Henry Ellard's team record. Seahawks: The team is on pace to have a plus-80 turnover margin this season. ... Seattle is 2-0 for the first time in five years. ... The team has scored at least 20 points in eight consecutive games.


   --DT Jimmy Kennedy practiced for a second straight day and might be active for the first time this season Sunday. The Rams have six injured players that are out, so there is only one other player aside from the third quarterback that will be inactive. The final spot is likely between Kennedy and tight end Richard Angulo.
   --QB Marc Bulger has been very sharp in practice, and he returns to Seattle, where he injured his back last season.
   --LS Chris Massey has been getting more and more practice reps at fullback. Massey filled in at the position last season.
   --FS Jason Sehorn was running hard on the sideline during practice Thursday, but likely won't return until after the team's bye in Week 5. Sehorn broke a bone in his foot during the first week of training camp. "There's still a little soreness," coach Mike Martz said, "and we will be very conservative with this injury. But we are real pleased with his progress."
   --WR Kevin Curtis hopes to be able to play the week after the Rams' bye in Week 5. Curtis broke his fibula Aug. 23 and the area is still "pretty tender," according to coach Mike Martz.

   --RT Floyd Womack missed practice again Thursday, leaving second-year RT Matt Hill to take the reps. Seattle hopes Womack can play Sunday but his status remains uncertain. Womack remained "questionable" on the injury report. He is suffering from a toe injury on his right foot.
   --RT Matt Hill prepared Thursday to make what could be his first NFL start, but the team still hopes RT Floyd Womack can start Sunday vs. the Rams. Hill has long-term potential but he isn't ready to face Rams DE Leonard Little. Womack also appears overmatched against Little, particularly with his injured toe. Womack has yet to practice this week.
   --LB Chad Brown is not injured, but the Seahawks continued to keep him out of practice Thursday as a precaution. Brown underwent offseason surgery on his right foot. He will start Sunday against the Rams.
   --LB Isaiah Kacyvenski continued to see extensive reps in practice Thursday. He plans to make his 2003 debut Sunday in a special-teams role.
   --LB Anthony Simmons rested his sore toe Thursday but he'll start Sunday against the Rams.


   The Rams' offensive line has come under close scrutiny in the first two weeks after quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger were sacked a total of 11 times.
   However, coach Mike Martz said the line has "done a remarkable job of pass blocking" and that any "problems have been mental errors."
   Of the 11 sacks, six have been by linebackers and one by a safety. While high-paid tackles Orlando Pace and Kyle Turley have been singled out by some, only one of the 11 sacks was by a defensive end: the Giants' Michael Strahan in Week 1.
   When the Rams got away from running the ball in both games, defenses came with frequent blitzes.
   "We've gotten better each week on blitz pickups," Martz said. "And some of the problem is on the quarterback."
   In both games, Warner and Bulger missed some hot reads on blitzes that could have avoided sacks.
   Pace is just rounding into playing shape after not signing until Aug. 26, while center Dave Wohlabaugh has been playing with a cast on his left hand to protect a fractured thumb. Left guard Andy McCollum is making the adjustment to a new position after playing the last three seasons at center.
   "This is a good offensive line that is starting to play together," Martz said. "It is a work in progress."

   RT Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack missed practice again Thursday, leaving second-year RT Matt Hill to take the reps.
   Seattle hopes Womack can play Sunday against the Rams, but his status remains uncertain. Womack remained "questionable" on the injury report. He is suffering from a toe injury on his right foot.
   The Rams manhandled Womack in a game at St. Louis last season. Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck said the Rams tackled Womack illegally, allowing others to rush into the backfield. The Rams resorted to similar tactics in harassing San Francisco's Jeff Garcia last week, Hasselbeck claimed.
   "They hold with their defensive line a lot, which is illegal," Hasselbeck said of the Rams. "The refs say they're going to be looking for it and we hope that they do.
   "One guy comes and just tackles the right tackle and then the guy that he is supposed to block just runs free. The league looked at it and said, `OK, that's illegal. That's not fair. And we're going to call that.' I hope they do because last year it wasn't really fair what they were doing to Pork Chop."
   Womack is already slowed by the toe injury he suffered before the most recent game against Arizona.
   "I think Womack has done a good job in the first two games," coach Mike Holmgren said. "But he is a little bit tender. I trust by the time the game comes around, he'll be OK."

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