|Rams DE Chris Long got three sacks in Sunday's loss to Seattle. (US Presswire)|
The Rams played the surging Seahawks closer than any recent team, but ultimately lost 20-13 and failed to have their first winning record since 2003.
St. Louis (7-8-1) showed once again that its offense needs major upgrades heading into 2013. The Rams have quality wideouts, but no one who demands consistent double coverage.
The Rams’ chances ended with 26 seconds left, when Sam Bradford was intercepted in the end zone to give Seattle (11-5) its fifth straight win and finish 8-0 at home on its way to the playoffs.
The playcalling was curious. In a game that was close throughout, the Rams ran 19 times for 79 yards (4.2 ypc) and threw 42 times. Bradford completed 25 passes for 252 yards, with a TD to Austin Pettis and the game-ending INT. The Rams were 2 for 11 on third down. RB Steven Jackson went over 1,000 yards rushing for the eighth straight year, becoming the sixth back to accomplish that feat. Previous game's grade: B-
The Rams got six sacks to finish with 52, tied with Denver for most in the NFL. DE Chris Long had three sacks for a loss of 26 yards. He and DE Robert Quinn are the first Rams duo to have double-digit sacks since Grant Wistrom and Kevin Carter in 2000. But the Rams allowed Marshawn Lynch to average 5.6 yards a carry, and they couldn’t stop rookie QB Russell Wilson when it mattered most. Previous game's grade: A
Special teams: B
Greg Zuerlein made 2 of 3 field goals, barely missing a 50-yarder. Chris Givens returned two kickoffs for 51 yards, and the Rams contained Leon Washington, holding him to a 20.7-yard average on three returns. Johnny Hekker averaged 48.6 yards on five punts. Previous game’s grade: B
Coach Jeff Fisher and his staff had the Rams plenty fired up, but they didn’t play with discipline, drawing 14 penalties for 98 yards. Long and OT Wayne Hunter committed personal fouls. At one point the Rams were 3-6-1. Coaches kept the team playing hard for a 4-2 finish that has fans optimistic about 2013. Previous game’s grade: A
Get more Rams updates and analysis from Larry Hartstein on Twitter @CBSRams.