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Brown kicks winning 54-yard field goal, Seahawks edge Rams

Oct 15, 2006 - 8:41 PM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Torry Holt did his best to turn the balance of power back to the St. Louis Rams in the NFC West. But Josh Brown had the final say for the Seattle Seahawks.

Brown kicked a 54-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Seahawks into first place with a thrilling 30-28 victory over the Rams.

Holt caught three touchdown passes, the last one a juggling 67-yard reception with 1:44 remaining, to give St. Louis (4-2) a 28-27 lead.

But that was enough time for Pro Bowler Matt Hasselbeck to direct an eight-play, 47-yard drive to set up Brown's winning kick.

"I told Matt, '36 or 37 (yard line) will be OK. Or 54 or 55 we should be OK in here,'" Brown said. "He said 'OK be ready.' As long as I'm inside midfield I figure I have a shot."

Brown almost didn't get the chance to kick the field goal as the Seahawks were flagged for illegal formation as Hasselbeck attempted to spike the ball with four seconds remaining. The Rams players spilled onto the field thinking they had won the game as the penalty would result in a 10-second runoff since it was in the final minute.

"The players were set, but the widest receiver instead of being up on the line of scrimmage, was in the backfield putting only six men on the line of scrimmage," referee Ed Hochuli said. "With the players all set, it's simply an illegal formation and that's a situation where there is no 10-second runoff.

"There's only three or four penalties that bring with them a 10-second runoff. The common one is for false start. The team was all set. They were set for a full second. They were just in an illegal formation."

The Seahawks (4-1) had rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit and appeared to be in control with a 27-21 lead when Maurice Morris, who was starting for injured Shaun Alexander, had the ball stripped from him by end Leonard Little and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy recovered the fumble at the St. Louis 7 with 2:48 left in the game.

"I kind of gave our team a heart attack with that fumble," Morris said. "We had all the momentum before that."

Five plays later, Marc Bulger threw a long pass over the middle that Holt turned into a 67-yard touchdown. Michael Boulware appeared to be in position for an interception, but Holt moved inside the safety, tipped the ball in the air and made a juggling catch at the 15 before racing into the end zone.

"It was a shot," said Bulger, who threw for a season-high 360 yards. "As long as I could get one-one-one coverage, I just wanted to give him (Holt) a chance. Great players do things like that. It was just a great play by Torry."

Holt earlier caught touchdown passes of nine and 10 yards in the first half when the Rams built a 21-7 lead. He finished with eight catches for 154 yards.

After Holt's third touchdown, Seattle took over at its 17 with no timeouts left. Hasselbeck hit D.J. Hackett for 14 yards, Darrell Jackson for 19 and Deion Branch for nine. Two runs by fullback Mack Strong for 10 yards moved the Seahawks to the St. Louis 31.

When Hasselbeck spiked the ball with four seconds left, the Seahawks were called for illegal formation, pushing the ball back five yards. But that didn't stop Brown from making his third field goal of the game.

"I really didn't have a whole lot of worries," said Brown, who did miss a 34-yard attempt earlier by hitting both uprights.

Branch, who was acquired by Seattle from New England last month for a first-round pick in 2007, made a major impact with two touchdown catches - a 14-yarder in the first quarter and a 19-yarder with 13:33 left in the fourth quarter.

"This is what I envisioned when I came here," said Branch, who finished with six catches for 76 yards. "A lot of balls coming my way and lot of opportunities to do something. I feel like I did something today."

"I am comfortable with him but that doesn't mean we don't have miscommunication," Hasselbeck said. "We do, but he gives us an element of a mismatch. Deion has been great and he made big, big catches for touchdowns."

Hasselbeck, who also connected with Jackson on a 42-yard touchdown in the third quarter, threw for 268 yards. He was sacked four times.

The Seahawks sacked Bulger six times. Former Ram end Bryce Fisher and linebacker Julian Peterson had two apiece.

"We gave up too many sacks," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "And some of those came with a three-man rush, which is not good."

The Rams built a 21-7 halftime lead as they controlled the ball for 20 minutes and held the Seahawks to only five first downs.

However, Seattle stormed back in the second half, racking up 290 yards and holding the Rams to 143 yards, 93 of them coming on the last drive.

"I unloaded on them," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said of his halftime speech. "I told them to step up. Now it's time. We're a better football team than we showed."

"He reminded us of a few things," Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck said. "He just said point blank we were not leaving here without a win."

The comeback started when Hasselbeck connected with Jackson on a 42-yard touchdown pass with 4:28 left in the third quarter.

"It was 3rd-and-15, it was kind of a desperate time in the game," Hasselbeck said "We needed to get back. I gave Darrell a chance. To be honest, I didn't really think he was going to get there and make the play. It was all Darrell."

"It was a game-changing moment," Jackson said. "In sports you have momentuem swings and that was one of them. Being down 14 versus being down seven is a big difference in the NFL. We hung in there and came back."

Brown kicked a 49-yard field goal with 14:21 left in the fourth quarter to pull the Seahawks within 21-17.

Kevin Curtis fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Seattle's Kevin Bentley recovered at the St. Louis 22. Two plays later, Hasselbeck hit Branch with a 19-yard touchdown to give the Seahawks their first lead with 13:33 remaining.

Brown kicked a 49-yard field goal three minutes later to increase the lead to 27-21.

Two years ago, the Rams beat the Seahawks three times, with the last victory coming in the wild-card round.

But last season, Seattle swept the Rams en route to reaching the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.

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