St. Louis’ Special Teams Special Play Lifts Rams Over The Seahawks 26-28
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
The St. Louis Rams were able to knock off the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks Sunday 26-28 with a lot of razzle dazzle on special teams. The Seahawks had no clue what special teams coach John Fossil and the Rams’ had planned for them and neither did the FOX cameraman, who was just as fooled as the players on the field.
The Rams’ speed threat Tavon Austin is always expected to return the ball, however, the Rams studied the Seahawks kicker and know that the Seahawks kicker has a tendency to kick to his left. Austin, and a handful of other Rams players just ran back and acted if Austin was about to return the ball, causing most of the Seahawks’ punt team to follow them. All the while, the Seahawks never saw St. Louis Rams receiver Stedman Bailey on the opposite side of the field, actually fielding the punt with a spectacular over the shoulder catch with his back to the punt team, and sprint down the right sideline for an easy punt return touchdown. The score and extra point gave St. Louis an early 21-3 lead.
4th quarter with just under 3 minutes left in the game on 4th and 3, the Rams line up to punt the ball again with the score 26-28, Rams. In an effort to preserve the win and keep possession of the ball, the Rams pull of a fake punk when their punter, Johnny Hekker, who just happened to be a high school state finals quarterback for Bothell High School in Bothell, WA, instead of kicking the ball, threw a dart of a pass to running back Benjamin Cunningham for an 18-yard gain and a first down.
That play allowed St. Louis to keep the ball and run out the clock, beating the defending Super Champs. This play was so crucial because Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson was having a monster day, throwing for 313 yards and 2 TDs while rushing for 106 yards, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards and rush for 100 yards or more. Keeping the ball out of Wilson hand’s was the key to winning the game in the 4th quarter.
Most fans only acknowledge offense and/or defense in a football game, but especially in a highly competitive contest, one must win in special teams as well.
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