Wilson’s TD beats Rams 20

SEATTLE The Rams went down swinging Sunday, but went down nonetheless. Down by seven with less than a minute to play, quarterback Sam Bradford threw to Austin Pettis who was open in the end zone. But Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman dropped into coverage for his eighth interception of the season.

The Rams didn’t give up 50 points, which is what the Seahawks averaged over their previous three games. But they didn’t get the victory either. Sherman’s pick with 26 seconds to play gave Seattle a 20 13 victory Sunday at CenturyLink Field an 11 5 record heading into the playoffs as a wild card.

As a result, cheap jerseys the Rams didn’t get their first winning season since 2003, finishing 2012 with a 7 8 1 record. They also fell short in their attempt to go unbeaten in the NFC West for the first time since the 1999 Super Bowl championship season, finishing 4 1 1 in the division.

Bradford finished with 25 completions in 42 attempts, for 252 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson was clutch down the stretch, accounting for 308 yards of offense on 250 yards passing and 58 yards throwing. Despite getting sacked six times, he threw for a TD, and ran for the game winner late in the first quarter.

Despite terrible field position in the first quarter, the Rams took a 7 3 lead into the locker room at halftime. It could have been 10 3, but rookie place kicker Greg Zuerlein’s slump continued with him barely missing a 50 yarder wide right just before the half.

The Rams’ first three possessions of the game started at their 20, 11, and 12, respectively. As a result, Seattle was constantly in St. Louis territory but had only a Steven Hauschka field goal to show for it early in the second quarter.

An obvious illegal pick play penalty on backup Seattle tight end Anthony McCoy wiped out what would’ve been a 28 yard TD pass from Wilson to starting tight end Zach Miller. But Miller almost certainly wouldn’t have scored without the aid of McCoy’s illegal block on Rams linebacker Rocky McIntosh.

Five first half sacks by the Rams the Seahawks had allowed no more than four in any game this season helped keep Seattle out of the end zone and out of field goal range. Robert Quinn had one sack in the half, and Chris Long two, giving them both 10 sacks for the season. It marks the first time since 2000 that the Rams have had a pair of 10 sack defenders.

Steven Jackson needed only 10 yards rushing to reach 1,000 for the season, but it took him until the second quarter to reach the milestone. With 8 minutes left in the second, Jackson went over the 1,000 yard mark with a 14 yard carry on second and 7 from the St. Louis 40. With the run, he became just the sixth player in NFL history to have eight consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons.

That carry got the Rams in Seattle territory for the first time Sunday, and the Rams kept going all the way to the end zone. The big play on the drive was a 37 yard pass from Bradford to Chris Givens a quick slant that carried to the Seattle 4. After a two yard run by Jackson, Bradford found Pettis his favorite red zone target for a two yard touchdown on a pass that appeared to be tipped. That gave the Rams a 7 3 lead with 6:03 left in the half.

Taking the second half kickoff, Seattle took advantage of a busted coverage in the Rams’ secondary to kick another field goal and pull to within 7 6. The big play was a 49 yard catch by McCoy, who slipped undetected off the line of scrimmage and was wide open down field for the Wilson pass.

The Rams answered with a 39 yard field goal by Zuerlein to get their four point halftime lead back at 10 6. But there was a personal foul called against Rams blocker Wayne Hunter on Zuerlein’s kick and that 15 yard penalty tacked on before the ensuing kickoff proved costly for the Rams.

Seattle took over with good field position at its 35 following the Leon Washington kickoff return and took the lead at 13 10 on a 10 yard pass from Wilson to fullback Michael Robinson. With that pass, Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s rookie record for touchdown passes, with 26 for the season.

There was another personal foul against the Rams on Seattle’s extra point. This one went against Chris Long and the 15 yard penalty meant the Seahawks would kick off from midfield. Seattle coach Pete Carroll went for the onside kick here, but Seattle touched the ball before it went the required 10 yards. As a result, St. Louis took over on its 41 and was able to drive for a game tying 25 yard field goal by Zuerlein with 11:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The score remained tied at 13 13 until late in the fourth quarter. A great piece of improvisation by Wilson, avoiding a sack and then throwing downfield, resulted in a 44 yard reception by Golden Tate that carried to the St. Louis 29 on third and 5 from the Seattle 27.

Wilson continued to shine down the stretch, gaining 15 yards on an option read to the 4, and then giving Seattle a 20 13 lead with 1:39 left on a one yard scramble for a TD.

Inactives for Seattle: SS Winston Guy, CB Walter Thurmond, CB DeShawn Shead, LB Leroy Hill, OG Rishaw Johnson, OG John Moffitt, and OT Mike Person.

The Rams are wearing white jerseys and white pants today.

With a little over an hour to go before kickoff it’s sunny and cool at CenturyLink Field. Temperature is 41 degrees, 77 percent humidity, and almost no wind (1 mph out of west/northwest).

The Rams are trying to go unbeaten in the NFC West for the first time since the 1999 Super Bowl championship season. They are 5 0 1 in the West in 2012.