Just finished cranking about 2,500 words for the paper and another 500 in freelance, which means I'd like to have a Corona in hand right about now. Instead we'll pass along the link to my postgame comments, which run nearly 11 minutes (finally had to just shut myself up).
Here are the stories I filed for the paper ...
By Mike Sando
The News Tribune
Sunday - The Seahawks defeated the St. Louis Rams, 30-28, on a last-second field goal in the Edward Jones Dome.
Where they stand - Seattle leads the NFC West division with a 4-1 record. The Rams are second at 4-2.
A look ahead - Seattle returns to Qwest Field for a game against Steve Hutchinson and the Minnesota Vikings.
Best play - Rams WR Torry Holt made a juggling grab for the go-ahead 67-yard touchdown catch in the final two minutes. Seattle SS Michael Boulware nearly broke up the pass, but Holt gained control of the ball and ran the final few yards into the end zone.
Worst play - Seahawks RB Maurice Morris lost a fumble as Seattle was driving inside the 10-yard line with a chance to put away the game in the final three minutes. The ball came loose after Morris landed on the legs of a Rams defender. DE Leonard Little recovered for the Rams.
Star of the game - Seahawks K Josh Brown made the winning 54-yard field goal after making two kicks from 49 yards earlier in the game. He missed a 34-yarder when rookie P Ryan Plackemeier said he failed to turn the laces away from Brown's foot. The missed kick bounced off both uprights before falling short.
Mirror, mirror - The Seahawks and Rams finished nearly even in several areas on the stat sheet. The Rams had one more first down (21-20) and four more yards (368-364). Both teams converted 53 percent of their third-down chances. Both quarterbacks tossed three scoring passes.
Quotebook - "This was huge for us." -- Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren.
Personnel notes - Seattle ditched its four-receiver offense for a more conventional attack featuring two running backs, two receivers and one tight end. The Seahawks also used their two-back, three-receiver personnel grouping. … WR Nate Burleson had a 7-yard punt return after CB Jimmy Williams left the game after a hard collision on a Rams kick return. … Seattle's list of inactive players featured TE Jerramy Stevens, DT Craig Terrill, WR Bobby Engram, RB Shaun Alexander, LG Floyd Womack, RT Ray Willis and DE Joe Tafoya. The Rams' inactive list featured RB Paul Smith, S J.R. Reed, CB Fakhir Brown, LB Jon Alston, OL Larry Turner, G Mark Setterstrom and DE Anthony Hargrove.
Medical report - Stevens was a last-minute scratch from the lineup. He practiced all week after returning from knee surgery, but told the team he did not feel right Sunday. … CB Jimmy Williams left the game after getting the wind knocked out of him, Holmgren said.
HAWKS GAMER 16
By Mike Sando
The News Tribune
ST. LOUIS - Seattle kicker Josh Brown delivered a message to quarterback Matt Hasselbeck sometime in the third quarter.
"We're going to win the game," Brown told him.
No one could have guessed how.
Brown's 54-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Seahawks over St. Louis, 30-28, and into first place in the NFC West.
"This was huge for us," coach Mike Holmgren said.
An illegal-formation penalty had made the winning kick five yards huger than the Seahawks would have liked.
Receiver Deion Branch, who enjoyed a breakout game with two touchdown catches, wasn't on the line of scrimmage when Hasselbeck called for a quick snap to spike the ball and stop the clock with four seconds left.
Rams coach Scott Linehan ran onto the field in celebration, as did many of his players. They thought the penalty would bring an automatic 10-second runoff, ending the game. But referee Ed Hochuli correctly noted that formation penalties are exempt from the runoff rule.
The Rams called timeout to regroup. Seattle snapped the ball from the 36-yard line and Brown's kick had plenty of distance.
"I told Matt, as long as we got to the 35 we would be fine," Brown said. "I said 36 to 37 would be OK, back to 55 yards."
Brown holds the franchise record with a 58-yarder, but breakdowns in protection and holding had led to three blocks already this season.
Brown made two 49-yarders earlier Sunday, but he missed from 34 yards when rookie holder Ryan Plackemeier failed to turn the laces away from Brown's right foot. There were no guarantees, in other words, as Brown lined up for his second game-winning kick of the season.
"I want these guys just to believe in me and I think I'm getting there, for them to trust me," Brown said. "We have had some mishaps. They still trust me. That's the relationship and the confidence I'm trying to build, for my teammates to have in me."
The Seahawks needed Brown's final kick after running back Maurice Morris lost a fumble at the St. Louis 7-yard line with Seattle leading 27-21 and less than three minutes remaining.
The Rams struck quickly with Marc Bulger's 67-yard touchdown pass. Torry Holt's juggling catch put the Rams ahead, 28-27, and Seattle appeared doomed when kickoff returner Willie Ponder couldn't get past the 17-yard line.
The Seahawks were out of timeouts, but not out of moxie. An eight-play, 47-yard drive needed only 1:44.
"When we fumbled, (quarterbacks coach) Jim Zorn called me on the phone and we started going over our two-minute scenarios, started going over their two-minute tendencies," said Hasselbeck, who passed for three touchdowns with no interceptions. "He was very focused. He was very prepared on us getting the ball back.
"Not that we didn't have faith in our defense, but I think that's the amount of respect that we have for their offense and how explosive Bulger and Holt and those guys are. We were talking that whole time about our two-minute offense with no timeouts and what we might have to do to give ourselves a chance to win the game."
Hasselbeck opened the winning drive with a 14-yard pass to D.J. Hackett and a 19-yarder to Darrell Jackson. He handed off to Mack Strong for a 9-yard gain on third-and-1. Seventeen seconds remained when Hasselbeck spiked the ball at the 32-yard-line. He handed off one more time, but Strong gained only a yard.
Then came the penalty for illegal formation.
"All I can say is, 'Thank God we have Ed Hochuli out there, who knows the rules, because I don't," Hasselbeck said.
The Seahawks were also thankful for having Brown. The fourth-year kicker is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, but for now he belongs to Seattle.
"It was a big day for everybody," Brown said. "We were up, we were down, we were moving, waves of momentum came, went. You enjoy the moment for the second."
In addition to beating the Rams for the third consecutive time, the Seahawks rediscovered their offensive identity following a poor first half. The team used only one four-receiver formation after using 42 in the previous two games.
Seattle revived its familiar two- and three-receiver personnel groups; the latter produced a pivotal 42-yard touchdown pass to Jackson in the third quarter.
"It was a game-changing moment," Jackson said. "They kept (all-out) blitzing us. That's supposed to be an audible, but Mike Holmgren made a great call and said we were just going to run with it.
"Matt was hanging in the pocket and threw the ball and I just had to get it in the back of the end zone."
Three nearby defenders could only watch.
"I'm lucky I caught the ball," Jackson said, "and for the team, it gave us a chance to get back in the game."
Seattle took its first lead on Hasselbeck's 19-yard scoring pass to Branch early in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Kevin Bentley had recovered a Rams fumble on a kick return, and the offense needed only two plays to find the end zone.
HAWKS SIDER HOLT 16
By Mike Sando
The News Tribune
ST. LOUIS - Torry Holt had never caught three touchdown passes in a game before Sunday.
Some might find that surprising given how many times the St. Louis Rams receiver has torn up Seattle's secondary over the years.
Holt did it again - and again and again - in forcing Seattle to rally for a 30-28 victory at the Edward Jones Dome.
"He's a great player," Seattle strong safety Michael Boulware said. "I got an up-close-and-personal (look at) why he is so good."
Boulware deflected and nearly intercepted Marc Bulger's deep pass to Holt in the final two minutes Sunday. But Holt somehow managed to corral the ball for a 67-yard touchdown grab that put St. Louis into the lead, 28-27.
"Until he caught it, I thought I was catching it," Boulware said. "I'm still kind of … I can't believe that he caught it."
Holt finished with eight catches for 154 yards. He caught a 38-yard pass early in the game, followed by scoring grabs of nine and 10 yards.
"It's like wow, this kid may have a job in the NFL," Holt quipped after passing the 10,000-yard receiving mark for his career.
Holt caught eight passes for 126 yards and a touchdown when Seattle visited the Rams last season. He caught six for 100 yards and a score against the Seahawks in 2003, also at home. There was also a nine-catch, 92-yard, one-score performance at Seattle in 2002.
Holt also extended to 111 his franchise-record for consecutive games with a reception.
But it was the 67-yarder that everyone was talking about Sunday.
"It was a shot," Bulger said. "You know that at the end of the game they are going to be really deep. As long as I could get one-on-one coverage, I just wanted to give him a chance.
"Great players do things like that. It was just a great play by Torry."
Holt beat single coverage from Seattle corner Marcus Trufant for his 9-yard touchdown. Bulger had time after Rams running back Steven Jackson picked up a blitz from Seattle free safety Ken Hamlin.
Holt outlegged cornerback Kelly Herndon across the end zone toward the right sideline for his 10-yard score.
HAWK NOTZ 16
By Mike Sando
The News Tribune
ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski had no chance for goodbyes when the Seattle Seahawks released him two weeks ago.
He got that chance when the Rams and Seahawks played Sunday, and it was needed, if a bit strange.
"After the game, everyone - pretty much it felt like the whole team -came up and had good things to say," Kacyvenski said following the Seahawks' 30-28 victory at the Edward Jones Dome.
Though they never said so publicly, some Seattle players and coaches were angered to see their special-teams captain let go one day before a nationally televised game at Chicago on Oct. 1.
The Seahawks had hoped to re-sign Kacyvenski, but feelings were hurt and for Kacyvenski, signing with the Rams meant more money.
"The whole thing with 'Kaz,' the way it all went down, was a little bit of a distraction for our players - for me for sure - because of what I think of Kaz and what he means to our team," Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "I tried my best to block that out and focus on playing their defense.
"I really wish him all the best and wish him well and I'm happy he's found a spot here in St. Louis where they seem like they want him and they're excited to have him."
Coach Mike Holmgren was not among Kacyvenski's well wishers on this day. Kacyvenski previously said Holmgren was upset at him for leaving; the Seahawks had planned to re-sign him.
"I'm sure I'll see him down the road somewhere and be able to shake his hand," Kacyvenski said.
Bentley steps up
With Kacyvenski in St. Louis, the Seahawks activated linebacker Kevin Bentley for the second game in a row.
The move paid off when Bentley recovered a Rams fumble early in the fourth quarter. Josh Brown had just kicked a field goal to pull Seattle within 21-17 when linebacker D.D. Lewis forced Rams kick returner Kevin Curtis to fumble at the St. Louis 22.
Bentley recovered and the Seahawks scored two plays later for their first lead of the game, 24-21.
"It was huge, and we scored a touchdown off it," Bentley said. "It helped us in the long run because we got a turnover, we got seven points out of it and then we came back and kicked the field goal to win it."
Three penalties for Spencer
Seattle's offensive line showed improvement Sunday, particularly in the second half. But left guard Chris Spencer committed two false-start penalties and a holding penalty in his third NFL start.
The holding penalty cleared the way - and negated - Mack Strong's 32-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Hasselbeck tossed a 42-yard touchdown pass on the next play.
The false-start penalties also proved inconsequential. The first came during a touchdown drive. Seattle overcame the second false start with a 37-yard pass.
Hackett makes case
Receiver D.J. Hackett made a strong case for more playing time. He caught three passes for 66 yards, and each reception was important.
Hackett's 15-yard grab on third-and-10 sustained the Seahawks' first touchdown drive. His 37-yarder on third-and-12 helped Seattle move deep into Rams territory late in the game, although the drive ended with a punt.
Hackett added a 14-yard grab on the first play of the winning drive.
The third-year pro had been inactive since Deion Branch made his debut Sept. 24 following a trade with New England.
Hackett barely played against Arizona in the previous game. In the season opener, his 14-yard reception on second-and-14 helped Seattle move into position for the winning field goal as time expired.
The Seahawks made Hackett active Sunday because veteran Bobby Engram was sidelined by a thyroid condition. Hackett ranked third on the team with three receptions.
Former starter Nate Burleson did not catch a pass.
Plackemeier takes blame
Rookie punter Ryan Plackemeier interrupted an interview with kicker Josh Brown to fess up to a sketchy hold on Brown's missed 34-yarder.
"Didn't hit the ball right for whatever reason," Brown said.
"Blame it on the hold," Plackemeier interjected. "I didn't get the laces around.
"For whatever reason, we didn't make it," Brown continued.
"I didn't get the laces around," Plackemeier said.
"I don't have to do my own interviews now," Brown quipped.
Officials assessed 10 penalties against Seattle, the second time since 2002 that the Seahawks have reached double digits in penalties.
Seattle did win for the sixth time in its last seven games officiated by referee Ed Hochuli, although Holmgren lost a replay challenge when he tried to reverse Morris' fumble.
Holmgren has lost 23 of his last 25 replay challenges. …
The Seahawks expect running back Shaun Alexander to miss at least one more game with a broken foot. …
Seattle used the shotgun formation for the first time in recent memory, including on the 37-yard pass to Hackett.