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Rams Fumble Away Shot to Win Third Straight in 24-19 Loss

St. Louis Rams quarterback Gus Frerotte reaches for his fumble as members of the Rams and Seattle Seahawks look on late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007, in St. Louis. The fumble on fourth-and-goal from the Seattle 1 with 27 seconds left allowed the Seahawks to hold on for a 24-19 victory.

One play allowed the Seattle Seahawks to hold on to first place in the NFC West. A fumbled snap by St. Louis Rams reserve quarterback Gus Frerotte on fourth-and-goal from the Seattle 1 with 27 seconds left in the game allowed the Seahawks to hold on and defeat the Rams 24-19 at St. Louis.

The game itself got off to an unusual, if quick scoring start in the first quarter. After a punt and a penalty pinned Seattle to its own 1 yard line, Rams rookie defensive tackle Adam Carriker tackled Seahawks running back Maurice Morris in the end zone for a safety. After Seattle’s free kick, St. Louis RB Steven Jackson ripped off a 53-yard touchdown run, making the score 9-0 St. Louis. Rams starting QB Marc Bulger was injured on the game’s first series, but would stay in for 2 more series before giving way to Frerotte. Rams head coach Scott Linehan said that Bulger would be evaluated daily to see if he will be available to play next week against the Atlanta Falcons.

But the Seahawks would bounce, as 16 seconds later, cornerback-kick retuner Josh Wilson would return the kickoff 89 yards for a TD, narrowing the Rams lead to 9-7. A TD pass from Frerotte to wide receiver Isaac Bruce with 29 seconds left in the quarter increased the St. Louis lead to 16-7. A 23-yard field goal by Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins with 8:07 left in the half increased the lead to 19-7.

Seattle would slowly claw their way back into the game, aided by a Josh Brown 33-yard field goal at 9:36 of the 3rd quarter, narrowing the gap to 19-10 St. Louis. A 9-yard TD pass from QB Matt Hasslebeck to Deion Branch narrowed the gap further making the Rams lead 19-17. Seattle would gain their first lead, 24-19, in the 4th quarter with a 5-yard TD run by Seahawks RB Leonard Weaver.

The Rams had one more chance to regain the lead and win the game when Brown missed a 52-yard FG with 2:44 to go. St. Louis took over at its own 42 and rrove all the way to the Seattle 4-yard line with just over a minute to play. The Rams’ Frerotte, after missing a wide-open Bruce on first down, then threw a 2-yard completion to WR Drew Bennett. On 3rd down, Jackson ran to the Seattle 1, setting up the doomed, final play for the Rams.

Seattle’s Hasslebeck had an OK effort, going 21-of-38 for 249 yards with a TD pass and an interception. RB Maurice Morris led all Seattle rushers with 16 carries for 79 yards; Branch led all Seahawks receivers with 92 receiving yards and a TD, while WR Bobby Engram added 7 catches for 70 yards.

The Rams’ Frerotte had a mediocre game, going 20-of-32 for 161 yards with a TD and an INT. Jackson had another strong game, carrying the ball 23 times for 90 yards and a score. Bruce led all Rams receivers with 6 catches for 63 yards and a TD; WR Torry Holt added 5 receptions and 54 yards to the Rams’ losing effort. Seattle (7-4) retains their NFC West lead; they go to Philadelphia to face the Eagles next Sunday, while St. Louis (2-9) stays home to host the Atlanta Falcons, also on Sunday.

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