ST. LOUIS – On defense, the Seattle Seahawks had one objective facing St. Louis – stop bruising running back Steven Jackson.
Heading into Sunday’s contest, Jackson averaged 139 yards a contest in the past three games.
But running behind a makeshift offensive line, Jackson finished with just 42 yards on 15 carries. Jackson has never rushed for 100 yards against Seattle in 14 games.
“I think the main thing was to keep him from getting started,” said Seattle defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who finished with four tackles, including two tackles for a loss. “Once he gets started, he can go on a tear. Once he gets started and gets a big run – he’s gone.”
Added Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill: “It’s all about the right fits and about holding that edge. I don’t think he really likes to run right up the middle. He’s more of a perimeter runner, more of a bounce guy. And we just got a lot of bodies to him. We had a good game plan coming in, and I think we just executed the game plan almost perfectly.”
Once Seattle stopped the run, they focused on getting after St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford and shutting down his options on the perimeter.
Cornerback Brandon Browner locked up Rams’ go-to receiver Brandon Lloyd. Although he finished with five receptions for 67 yards – including a 30-yard touchdown over rookie Richard Sherman – Lloyd was targeted a game-high 14 times.
“When we played them in the preseason (when Lloyd was with Denver) that’s what went on in my head,” Browner said. “But it’s my second time going at him, so I kind of had a game plan of how I wanted to get after him. And I was able to execute it, and have fun. And win.”
And what was that game plan?
“To put hands on him,” Browner said. “That’s my deal, to put hands on him and do my job to the best of my ability. And let him not catch as many balls as possible. Get as many breaks as I can, get interceptions. I was just trying to get it.”
After totaling just one sack in the previous two games, Seattle notched five sacks against the Rams, including three sacks and two forced fumbles by defensive end Chris Clemons.
“Clem, he was an animal out there today,” Seattle defensive end Red Bryant said. “They couldn’t do nothing with him.”
But the most entertaining play came late in the game, when Bryant, who occasionally drops back in coverage, picked off a Bradford pass after it was tipped at the line of scrimmage by Mebane. Bryant corralled the ball and rumbled about 5 yards before he was tackled by St. Louis receiver Austin Pettis at the Rams’ 21.
“I played tight end in high school, but that’s my secret so don’t tell nobody,” joked Bryant. “I just made a good, solid drop on one of our drop calls. I was on the left side, so I had to drop inside to No. 3 (the No. 3 receiver), and Bane (Mebane) did a great job of tipping it, and I was lucky enough to be in the right spot.”
Bryant did get a nice stiffarm on Pettis to knock him back before he tackled him.
“I got tunnel vision,” Bryant said. “I was trying to get into the end zone, and I was just trying to get him off of me. Unfortunately I didn’t get us in there, but the offense got us in there.”
YEP, MORE PENALTIES
The Seahawks finished with 13 penalties for 100 yards. If that sounds familiar, that’s because Seattle had 13 penalties for 100 yards last week. It was the sixth game Seattle has finished with penalities in double digits.
Paul McQuistan was Seattle’s main offender, with two false starts and a hold. The penalties were almost laughable, but at some point they will start costing them wins.
“We had a bunch of penalties again today, and we were trying like crazy not to do that,” coach Pete Carroll said. “You don’t even want to know all of the emphasis we’re throwing on it. But it didn’t work out today.”
So will Carroll have to create a detention room for repeat offenders?
“We’re way beyond that,” joked Carroll. “We’re getting into some dangerous territory with tortures and all kind of things. Water treatments, or whatever you call it.”
Perhaps the most frustrating penalty for Carroll was the personal foul call on Kam Chancellor for hitting a defenseless receiver when he used his head to smack St. Louis tight end Lance Kendricks coming across the middle.
Chancellor was fined $20,000 last week for hitting Baltimore receiver Anquan Boldin in a similar situation, which left Chancellor with a concussion.
“I thought Kam tried to get his head out of that hit,” Carroll said. “He knew what happened last week. He got fined a lot of money for that hit last week, and he was trying to do it right and trying to be a great competitor, too. I don’t know.
“It’s a distraction to the game right now and the way you play the game,” Carroll went on. “I don’t know where this goes. We’ll just have to sit back and talk about it during the offseason, and hopefully they’ll make some decisions on how we can make some sense of this to the players. They almost have to take their helmets off. You almost have to play with no helmets, or at least I think John Madden said get the facemasks off, and maybe it will be a different game.”
Seattle had no injuries of note. Wide receiver Sidney Rice had some minor cramping but is OK. … Safety Atari Bigby and defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove were on the inactive list and did not play because of sore hamstrings. Others on the inactive list included QB Josh Portis, offensive tackle Jarriel King, receiver Deon Butler, cornerback Ron Parker and offensive tackle James Carpenter. … Punter Jon Ryan finished with nine punts for a 49.7 kicking average and a 44.9 net average, including a long of 71 yards. … Returner Leon Washington had returns of 37 and 25 yards on punts. … Seattle finished with a 35-25 advantage in time of possession.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks