I’LL SEE YOUR LEGION OF BOOM, AND RAISE YOU WALL OF KA-BOOM! is, in so may words, the message the St. Louis Rams sent to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday afternoon, and it will echo throughout the NFC West, if not the league, as a confident announcement that the Rams have finally arrived.
Most everywhere else you will read and hear about how bad the Seahawks missed Kam Chancellor and need him back more than how well the Rams did—and make no mistake, they do. Still, looking beneath the surface, what the Rams did week 1 of the 2015 season is something they wouldn’t have done a year ago; rally around their quarterback and fight back offensively to take the win back after the momentum had clearly shifted what looked like for good. With a group of receivers unlikely to start higher than WR3 on most top-rated teams, Nick Foles inspired and made them look formidable against one of the top defenses no matter who was missing by dropping pass after pass into small spaces with perfect touch occasionally, some of which Chancellor could do nothing about if he had started.
FIRST QUARTER: Time flew by and nearly uneventfully until the Rams, backed into their own goal line, barely avoiding giving up two points when RB Benny Cunningham broke free of an initial hit in the end zone to make it to the St. Louis two-yard line. Punter Johnny Hekker then booted the ball to the Seattle 47-yard line where rookie receiver/returner Tyler Lockett promptly returned it through a porous special teams unit for a 57-yard touchdown. SCORE: Seahawks 7, Rams 0
SECOND QUARTER: Highlighted by passes of 22 and 20 yards to Jared Cook and a 17-yarder to Cunningham, the Rams capped off a first-quarter drive on the first play of the second quarter with receiver Tavon Austin coming out of the backfield for a 6-yard touchdown. Near mid-quarter, Greg Zuerlein added a 33-yard field goal. Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka added a 25-yard field goal as the first half expired. SCORE: Seahawks 10, Rams 10
THIRD QUARTER: Nearly six minutes into it, Steven Hauschka added a 23-yard field goal. The following drive, highlighted by another Jared Cook 30-yard completion, ended with Nick Foles making a split-second decision to take it in himself while rolling to the right for a short pass and seeing no one between him and the end zone. With 4:30 left in the quarter, Tavon Austin answered back on special teams with an even more impressive 75-yard punt return for touchdown of a Jon Ryan punt. SCORE: Seahawks 13, Rams 24
FOURTH QUARTER: Highlighted by a 24-yard run by Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks scored a 7-yard touchdown completion from Russell Wilson to Jimmy Graham nearly three minutes into the fourth. Following a Rams fumble (by RB Isaiah Pead) and a 21-yard completion of Jermaine Kearse leading the way, Steven Hauschka kicked a 35-yard field goal with 4:46 left to play. On the very next offensive play, Seahawks’ Corey Williams blind-sided Rams QB Foles forcing him to fumble. Corey scooped it up and took it the remaining 8 yards to score. The next Rams drive saw Foles hit receiver Kenny Britt for 21 yards. Three plays later, Foles hits TE Lance Hendricks on a route in which Kam Chancellor’s replacement lost his footing early on, leaving the Rams’ big target all alone to score on a 37-yard play that tied the game with 53 seconds remaining. SCORE: Seahawks 31, Rams 31
OVERTIME: The Seahawks opened OT with an unsuccessful onside kick that led to the Rams scoring 3 points via the foot of Greg Zuerlein, a 37-yarder. Seattle was held in check by a re-inspired Rams defense as a 4th-and-1 call went Marshawn Lynch’s way, a call that brought last year’s Super Bowl to mind. Marshawn was struck quickly by DTs Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald and went down behind the line of scrimmage. FINAL SCORE: Seahawks 31, Rams 34
So yeah, go ahead and believe that one man, in this case Seattle’s own Kam Chancellor, can make that much of a difference in an NFL football game, but he had nothing to do with the six sacks of Russell Wilson. He had nothing to do with the fact that Marshawn Lynch had ONE significant run all throughout the entire game, nothing to do with the Seahawks not being able to score until the fourth quarter, or with his coach Pete Carroll being the one forced into playing the trick card on special teams this time. The success of the Rams’ tight ends play and a number of runs might have never taken place so well, sure, but factor in also that the Rams started their third-string running back, while their most talented receiver Brian Quick and RB Todd Gurley (arguably their most talented) respectfully, didn’t play at all. In the end, however, these two teams are a fair and just top-billing replacement to the days of battle between the ol’ powerhouse Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.