The Seattle Seahawks punted the ball away with about five minutes left, leaving the St. Louis Rams 97 yards from the go-ahead touchdown and a dramatic come-from-behind victory.
The Seahawks let them move 96 yards before making a stand.
Their stingy defense first repelled Rams running back Daryl Richardson on third-and-goal from just outside the goal line, and then forced quarterback Kellen Clemens to throw incomplete on the final play of the game, preserving a dramatic 14-9 victory Monday night.
“On the last play of the game, they could have done anything,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We called something very aggressive, a good call that might hit the run and at least get some heat on the quarterback. It was one-on-one for guys across the board. They did a really good job.”
The outcome capped a lousy night for St. Louis sports fans. The Cardinals lost 3-1 to the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 of the World Series, played just up Broadway at Busch Stadium.
“There was such a great sense of resolve in the huddle,” said Clemens, who started for the first time in two years in place of the injured Sam Bradford. “Nobody really had to say anything. We gave ourselves a chance to win at the end, but unfortunately we didn’t make the play.”
Seattle (7-1) extended the best start in franchise history despite gaining just 135 yards, with 80 coming on Russell Wilson’s second TD pass to Golden Tate. It was the third-fewest yards for the Seahawks in a win, and their seven first downs were the fewest.
COWBOYS: Dez Bryant and Jason Witten shouted at each other in a sideline scene that overshadowed a stunning loss, with the potential to reverberate if Dallas lets it linger.
Bryant’s antics are the least of the problems for Dallas, with a defense facing more injury issues after allowing a last-second touchdown and the most yards in franchise history in Detroit’s 31-30 win on Sunday.
The offense is sputtering, too, after consecutive hit-and-miss games without brittle running back DeMarco Murray, who is likely to return Sunday against Minnesota.
Bryant first lost his cool by interrupting a sideline chat between Tony Romo and quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, with head coach Jason Garrett and receivers coach Derek Dooley trying to act as peacemakers.
The Bryant-Witten spat came with 12 seconds left and the offense waiting to go back on the field after Detroit’s go-ahead score, a product of the frustration of the Cowboys letting a win get away so late. Witten told reporters after the game he “loved that kid like a brother.”
“Witt was trying to get me to focus on the next drive,” Bryant said during a lengthy session with reporters Monday. “He’s trying to get my mind right. I’m upset because they just scored a touchdown. Like, man, we just, you know, lost. It didn’t sit well with me.”
Panthers: Free safety Mike Mitchell said he’s being “targeted” by Commissioner Roger Goodell after receiving his fifth fine of the season from the NFL.
Mitchell was fined $7,875 last week by the league for taunting after he shoved Rams quarterback Sam Bradford out of bounds during a game on Oct. 20. Bradford suffered a season-ending knee injury on the play.
Mitchell wasn’t penalized for taunting in the game.
“I’m being targeted because I play football physical, but I’m not out here cheap-shoting guys and doing dirty plays like I’ve seen people from Detroit do,” Mitchell said. “I’m not going to name names. But I’m not out here doing those things so why I’m getting fined I really have no idea.”
Mitchell went on to say that the fine money “goes right in Roger’s pockets — right in his pocket.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Goodell does not make the decisions regarding on-field infractions.
RAIDERS: Oakland defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has apologized for making an obscene gesture directed at the officials and will be disciplined by the team.
Tarver was caught on television using the one-finger gesture toward the officials after a flag was thrown on cornerback Mike Jenkins for a hit to the head of Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell in Sunday’s 21-18 win. The flag was eventually picked up.
“I apologize for my action on the sideline of yesterday’s game,” Tarver said in a statement Monday. “It was in the heat of the moment, and I regret drawing attention away from the Raiders players and what they accomplished.”
The NFL said Monday that any discipline for Tarver will be handled by the Raiders.
Tennessee defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil was fined $40,000 by the league in 2010 for a similar gesture.
REDSKINS: After saying he’s going to “take peoples’ knees out” to avoid another suspension for hits to the head, Washington safety Brandon Meriweather struck another blow — declaring that “people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league.”
Meriweather’s comments were a retort referencing the checkered domestic violence past of Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall, who last week suggested that players such as Meriweather should perhaps be “taken out of the game completely” to make the game safer.
“Everybody got their opinion,” Meriweather said Monday. “If he feel like, you know, I need to be kicked out of the league, I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league, too. You tell me who you’d rather have: somebody who plays aggressive on the field, or somebody who beat up their girlfriend?”
Marshall’s career has occasionally been overshadowed by off-the-field troubles, including multiple arrests following confrontations with a girlfriend when he was playing for the Denver Broncos. None of the arrests led to a conviction.
Marshall declined comment when approached by reporters in the Bears’ locker room Monday. Shortly after Meriweather’s comments, he tweeted: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
Monday was Meriweather’s first day back with the Redskins following a one-game suspension for multiple helmet-first hits against defenseless receivers, including two in the Redskins’ win over the Bears last week. One of the hits was against Marshall in the end zone on an incomplete pass in the fourth quarter.