Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns and running back Steven Jackson accounted for 124 total yards as the Rams snapped a 10-game losing streak against the visiting Seattle Seahawks and topped last year’s win total with an impressive 20-3 victory at the Edward Jones Dome.
“I know we have a philosophy around here that we don’t look back but sometimes you just can’t help but think about some of the hardship that this organization has been through,” Jackson said. “So for us to be able to get a win against Seattle at home, a divisional win, it means a lot to me and I think it means a lot to the guys in this locker room.”
St. Louis, which won two games in 2008 and just one game in 2009, is now 2-2 in 2010 after consecutive victories against the Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks (2-2).
“I think it’s a huge win for us, especially coming off last week’s win over Washington,” Bradford said. “I think everyone kind of wanted to see if we could validate that and see if we could put two together or that was just a fluke that we happened to catch them on an off night. To come out here and play the way we did a get a win against a divisional opponent and move to 2-2, I think it’s huge.”
The Rams’ back-to-back wins have gone a long way to ease the pain of last year’s 1-15 campaign in coach Steve Spagnuolo’s first season. The end result of last season’s struggles was the No. 1 overall draft pick that St. Louis used to select Bradford out of the University of Oklahoma.
On Sunday, Bradford completed 23 of 41 passes for 289 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception, and also rushed for eight yards.
The rookie quarterback connected with seven different receivers in the game — Mark Clayton (five catches for 72 yards) and Danny Amendola (five catches for 46) — and the 10-play, 90-yard scoring drive on the Rams’ second possession he directed that set the tone for the game.
Bradford hooked up with Clayton for an 8-yard reception on third and six and later found him downfield for a 36-yard completion. The quarterback capped the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass on third down to Brandon Gibson with 5 minutes and 49 seconds remaining in the first quarter to give the Rams an early 7-0 advantage.
“Gibby did a great job of wrapping around their backer in front of the safety,” Bradford said. “He made a great play on the ball in the end zone.”
Gibson said: “It was a great throw by No. 8. He made an incredible throw, put it right in the hole so all I had to do was catch it.”
The Seahawks answered on the following series with a 22-yard field goal by Olindo Mare to cut the deficit to 7-3 with 14:20 left in the second quarter.
Bradford threw an interception in the red zone on the Rams second-to-last series of the first half, but made up for it by directing back-to-back scoring drives in the next two St. Louis possessions.
The rookie orchestrated a scoring drive in the final 61 seconds of the first half that turned into a 30-yard field goal by kicker Josh Brown as time expired in the second quarter and a 10-3 lead at halftime.
In the Rams’ first series of the second half, Bradford converted a third-and-10 situation with a 12-yard pass to Amendola, connected with Jackson for a 49-yard completion on a screen pass and then found backup running back Kenneth Darby for a 21-yard touchdown reception on another screen pass to give St. Louis a 17-3 lead.
“I thought the Rams played a really good football game,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “The quarterback played good and they took care of (the ball) other than the turnover going in. They did a terrific job of just playing good solid football, and it was enough to get a win.”
Jackson, the Rams’ standout running back, had a milestone day just one week after injuring his groin in the win over Washington. Despite admittedly not playing at 100 percent, Jackson rushed 22 times for 70 yards and caught three passes for 54 yards.
With his 15-yard run early in the fourth quarter, Jackson moved into second-place ahead of Marshall Faulk on the Rams career rushing yardage list. He now has 6,991 yards in seven seasons and trails only Eric Dickerson, who racked up 7,245 yards with the Rams from 1983-87.
“Day one when I stepped into this organization, I set a tone that I want to leave here setting a presence, putting my footprint on this organization,” Jackson said. “Hats off to my offensive line, all the guys over the year that I’ve played with, to help me get to this point. It’s very meaningful, but I’m eying first place. Today, more importantly, two wins in a row is what I’m really proud of.”
The Rams defense, which has yet to allow more than 17 points in a game this season, limited the Seahawks to just 83 total yards in the second half. Seattle, which had 16 rushing yards in the final two quarters, did not convert any of their six chances on third down in the second half.
St. Louis sacked Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck four times in the game — veteran James Hall had two — while intercepting him once and also forcing a fumble.
“They came out and played a heck of a game,” Seahawks running back Justin Forsett said. “They’ve been playing some good, close games all year long. That defense is aggressive, they like to blitz and cause confusion. That is a good team we played against today.”
The Rams, who travel to winless Detroit next Sunday, tacked on a 31-yard field goal from Brown with 2:35 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“They’re a lot better than they’ve been,” Hasselbeck said of the Rams, “and they’re building something here.”