Rams open 2015 with 34-31 OT win against Seattle

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The St. Louis Rams opened the 2015 season with an exciting overtime victory over the Seattle Sahawks, 34-31 Sunday afternoon. In an ironic twist of fate, the team crucified in the offseason for not allowing Marshawn Lynch an attempt to bull rush his way into the end zone in last years Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots, was given that opportunity Sunday against the Rams and failed. In an up-and-down game, St. Louis had the last “up” and pulled one out to start this year 1-0.

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Things started off very well for the Rams on defense, holding the Seahawks out of the end zone on the opening drive. However, after a sputtering effort from the St. Louis offense in their first series forced them to punt, the special teams unit put them in the hole early. Seattle rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett, out of Kansas State, brought back a Johnny Hekker punt for a 57-yard touchdown. That was only the first of many fireworks to go off Sunday afternoon.

The passing game was clearly better for St. Louis, a team that has suffered through the likes of Austin Davis, Shaun Hill and the injury plagued Sam Bradford. Nick Foles stood in the pocket on more than a few occasions more than willing to take a hit to extend a play or complete a pass. At times, his footwork was suspect, and he did fumble twice including a strip sack that allowed Seattle to take the lead late. Foles was 18 of 27 for 276 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for another 11 yards and and a touchdown that would put the Rams up 17-13 in the third quarter.

Sep 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas (29) brings down St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook (89) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

His favorite target was tight end Jared Cook. Cook would haul in five passes on six targets for 85 yards. He was a big play threat all afternoon including two plays of over 20 yards during key moments of the first half. Kenny Britt, who was nonexistent in the first half, came on late to the tune of two catches for 37 yards. Stedman Bailey also showed up late to the party but set up the Rams go-ahead field goal in overtime as part of his three catch, 58-yard day.

Tavon Austin would provide the Rams their first touchdown of the season, and in creative fashion. Usually lined up out wide, Austin lined up as a running back early in the second quarter and showed off some serious speed in route to a 16-yard rushing touchdown. Austin would also add a 75-yard punt return touchdown in the third quarter, but only managed -2 yards for the day receiving. He was a very creative play maker for St. Louis on Sunday, but still needs some refining in the passing game.

The hero in this one though was most assuredly tight end Lance Kendricks. Kendricks only had two catches all game, but none more important than a 37-yard touchdown with under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter to help tie the game at 31. Kendricks was left one-on-one on the outside with safety Dion Bailey, who was playing in place of Kam Chancellor who is currently holding out due to a contract dispute with Seattle, when Bailey lost his footing and Kendricks walked it in for the score.

Benny Cunningham rumbled his way to 45 rushing yards on 16 carries. But was also the most targeted Rams receiver at seven targets. He was very productive as a pass catcher racking up 77 yards, second most on the afternoon. St. Louis gained 13 first downs through the air, and just five on the ground. For a team now committed to the run, this seems a little backwards, but also may be a sign of a weakened secondary in Seattle.

Kicker Greg Zuerlein was a perfect 2/2 on field goal attempts and 4/4 on point after attempts.

Next: The St. Louis defense dominated Seattle all game long