Rams 19, Seahawks 13
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams parted ways with an experienced kicker and punter in the offseason, deciding they could live with youthful mistakes at those positions during a rebuilding effort.
During training camp, general manager Les Snead called it "growing pains" and "spilled milk."
They're still waiting for rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein, who set a franchise record with a 58-yard field goal and then topped himself with a 60-yarder, to make an error. As for undrafted rookie punter Johnny Hekker, well, he threw a touchdown pass.
Zuerlein kicked four field goals Sunday, making him 12 for 12 overall, leading the way in a 19-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
Once the Rams cross midfield, it's Zuerlein time.
"I was on the headsets and I said, `Field goal,' and somebody said `Field goal?" coach Jeff Fisher said of the second record-breaker. "I said, `Yeah, it's only 60. It's well within his range."
Zuerlein was a decoy on a fake field goal as Hekker, a former high school quarterback, threw a 2-yard TD pass to Danny Amendola. Hekker, who averaged 39 yards on four punts with only 1 return yard, said the trick play always works in practice.
"We knew what we were going to get," Hekker said. "Danny was out there by himself. I thought I might have overthrown it for a second but it came down and he caught it."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was desperately trying to call a timeout, running onto the field to get the officials' attention. Too late.
Asked whether that was the biggest play of the day, Carroll said "Of course it was, because that was their TD for the day. It was a great play by them, a big mistake on our part."
The Rams (2-2) matched their victory output from last year, when they tied for the NFL's worst record, and beat the Seahawks (2-2) for just the second time in the last 15 meetings. Seattle had outscored St. Louis 70-26 the previous three games.
Running back Steven Jackson, who's been with the Rams since 2004, knows the history all too well.
"Point-blank, they're good," Jackson said. "Their defensive front is very fast and tenacious. For us to get a win in this fashion, all three parts of the team contributing, it was huge."
The Seahawks flopped six days after beating the Packers on a botched call in the final game by replacement officials, who handed Golden Tate the winning touchdown reception on the last play.
Seattle sacked Aaron Rodgers eight times in the first half on Monday, but got to Sam Bradford just twice. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw three interceptions after entering the game with one for the year, the last pick by Bradley Fletcher clinching it at the Rams 25 with a minute to go. And Tate had a quiet game, catching one pass for 7 yards.
Marshawn Lynch was the exception, leading Seattle with 118 yards on 20 carries, including an 18-yard score on the game's first possession.
"We drove down, mixed it up a little bit and put seven points on the board," wide receiver Sidney Rice said. "From then on we started stepping on our toes. We got what we deserved."
But the Seahawks insisted there was no emotional letdown.
"I think it's a legitimate question. I didn't feel like that," Carroll said. "We worked hard to be up and be right. We took care of guys during the week, we compensated."
St. Louis is 2-0 at home, also beating the Redskins in Week 2. The attendance was announced as 53,193 but the 66,000-capacity Edward Jones Dome looked about half full with the Cardinals also playing across town in search of the second NL wild card.
NOTES: Rams backup DE Eugene Sims (head) was injured in the third quarter. Sims got his first sack of the season in the first half ... The Rams honored MLB James Laurinaitis, their leading tackler each of his first three seasons, with a bobblehead doll giveaway. ... Rams first-rounder Michael Brockers made his NFL debut starting at DT. Jermelle Cudjo, who started the first three games, was inactive. ... Seahawks G James Carpenter made his season debut coming off a left knee injury last November. He missed time in the first quarter with a right knee injury but returned in the second quarter.
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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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