A Rams fan photobombs a group of 12th Man fans before the game.

Click here for photo slideshow.The Seattle Seahawks clinched the NFC West division

Click here for photo slideshow.

The Seattle Seahawks clinched the NFC West division and earned home-field advantage in the playoffs on Sunday night in Seattle, after beating the St. Louis Rams 20 to 6.

While the Seahawks were heavily favored for the win, the Rams gave the 12th Man a scare at CenturyLink in the first half. The St. Louis offense scored a pair of field goals, one in each quarter, while the defense kept the Hawks off the score board altogether.

Seattle evened up the score in the third quarter, at sixes, before pulling away spectacularly in the fourth.

It began with an unlikely interception, after Seattle defensive tackle Jordan Hill scooped up a failed Rams screen pass early in the fourth. The play set up a 6-play, 54-yard drive that ended with Marshawn Lynch in the end zone. The star running back scored on a 9-yard run with 12 minutes and change left in the game to put the team up 13-6.

Only five plays later, on the subsequent Rams possession, Seattle linebacker Bruce Irvin wound up returning an interception of his own all the way to the end zone, extending the lead 20-6. Irvin had fellow linebacker Bobby Wagner to thank for the tip (or whatever exactly it was), after Wagner managed to knock the ball loose from Rams receiver Lance Kendricks.

The back to back scores effectively knocked out St. Louis, though the team threatened to narrow the lead late in the game. The effort was thwarted by Seattle’s Earl Thomas in an unusual play that resulted in Thomas dislodging the ball from the Rams receiver, where it bounced into the end zone and forced a touchback.

Seattle has been on a six-game winning streak, dominating rival San Francisco (twice), the former division-leading Arizona Cardinals (also twice), Philly’s Eagles, and now the Rams. The Hawks held their opponents to under 10 points in five of the six games, further allowing only three touchdowns. The performance helped usher Seattle into the top spot in the NFL for fewest points allowed for the third consecutive season.

It is a pleasant reversal of fortune for the Hawks, who earlier in the year were fighting to be part of the playoffs at all, let alone the top seed in the NFC.

Sunday’s victory leaves Seattle with a 12 and 4 record in regular season play, tied with Dallas and Green Bay for the winningest record in the NFC. Tiebreakers for the NFC top seed broke in Seattle’s favor, granting the team a post-season bye-week and home-field advantage.

Depending on how next Sunday’s wildcard games shake out, Seattle will face off against the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, or Carolina Panthers at home on Saturday, January 10.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch gives his mother a hug before the team faces off against the St. Louis Rams.

Over 68,000 fans cheer inside the CLink before the game begins.

Holding up colored pieces of paper, fans in the famed Hawks Nest recreate the American flag for the singing of the National Anthem.

Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson searches for an open receiver in the first quarter.

Russell Wilson is sacked by Rams’ safety Mark Barron in the first quarter.

Rams running back Tre Mason picks up four yards in the first quarter.

Rams quarterback Shaun Hill throws a pass in the first quarter.

Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein completes a 52-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter.

Seahawks’ running back Robert Turbin evades a Rams defender on a run in the first quarter.

Seattle tight end Luke Wilson is brought down for a 4-yard gain in the first quarter.

Hawks’ receiver Paul Richardson gets his bearings after an overthrown pass intended for him was intercepted by Rams’ cornerback Marcus Roberson.

Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin works the line for a gain in the second quarter.

Seattle’s Byran Walters returns a punt in the second quarter.

Marshawn Lynch rumbles upfield for a gain in the second quarter.

Flanked by a 12th man flag, a lone Rams fan supports his team in the Hawks Nest.

Marshawn Lynch evades capture from a Rams defender in the second quarter.

Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll debates a call with referees in the third quarter.

Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka completes a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Rams’ quarterback Shaun Hill looks for options downfield as Seattle defensive tackle Kevin Williams closes in for the sack.

Receiver Paul Richardson, who led the Hawks in receiving yards, turns to work upfield after a catch in the third quarter.

Rams defender Lamarcus Joyner jumps over a tackled Paul Richardson in the third quarter.

Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka completes a 45-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Seattle fans cheer the team on in the third quarter.

Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin takes off after catching a pass in the fourth quarter.

Hawks receiver Kevin Norwood drags a Rams defender downfield for a 31-yard pick up in the fourth quarter.

Stadium staff pick up Skittles from the end zone after Marshawn Lynch’s 9-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Fans cheer after Marshawn Lynch’s 9-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Seattle’s Byran Irving reaches the end zone after intercepting a Rams pass in the fourth quarter.

Seattle running back Robert Turin works upfield for a gain late in the fourth quarter.

With NFC West division champ hat on, a victorious Russell Wilson exits the field after the game.

More in News & Comment

Auburn Mountain View Cemetery Manager Craig Hudson, center, confers with maintenance workers David Partridge, left, and Zach Hopper in March 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
State allows weddings, funerals, religious services to restart with restrictions

Gov. Inslee issues new rules during May 27 news conference.

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

State loosens cougar hunting restrictions

The regulations will impact 19 areas around the state.

American Medical Response (AMR) organized a parade of first responders to show appreciation for St. Elizabeth Hospital staff April 30. Photo by Ray Miller-Still/Sound Publishing
The complications of counting COVID deaths in Washington

State relies on results of tests and death certificates in calculating the daily toll of the disease.

Republicans file lawsuit over Inslee’s emergency: ‘Facts, and the science, are clear’

Lawsuit says state has violated Constitutional rights of citizens.

The Regional Homelessness Authority was created by agreement in December 2019. Pictured: King County Executive Dow Constantine shakes hands with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. Courtesy photo
Regional homelessness authority takes first step amid COVID-19

The authority held its first meeting on Thursday.

Among the candidates for Washington state governor in 2020: (Top row, L-R): Omari Tahir Garrett, Winston Wilkes, Thor Amundson, Cameron Vessey, Martin ‘Iceman’ Wheeler, Ryan Ryals; (middle row L-R): Liz Hallock, Goodspaceguy, Gov. Jay Inslee, Don Rivers, Gene Hart; (bottom row L-R): Phil Fortunato, Tim Eyman, Alex Tsimerman, Cairo D’Almeida, Cregan Newhouse, Raul Garcia.
GOP gubernatorial hopefuls aim to oust Inslee amid COVID-19

Former Bothell mayor Joshua Freed and initiative-pusher Tim Eyman could be the front-runners.

Nonprofit launches new online COVID-19 local resource hub for King County

Hub collects links for more than 300 local resources for people affected by virus.

Most Read