ST. LOUIS (AP) – Josh Brown’s 54-yard field goal as time expired Sunday gave the Seattle Seahawks a 30-28 win over St. Louis, spoiling the Rams’ chance for a third fumble-induced win of the season.

Matt Hasselbeck threw three touchdown passes as Seattle (4-1) regained first place from its NFC West rival.

The winning kick came after a 5-yard penalty that briefly had the Rams (4-2) thinking they’d pulled off another improbable win. Instead, they enter the bye week wondering what happened.

What happened was a simple illegal formation penalty against the Seahawks as they spiked the ball to give Brown a chance for the long field goal. The Rams began to celebrate, believing a 10-second clock runoff would give them the win. But officials ruled that because the ball had been spotted and snapped properly, there was no runoff.

St. Louis dominated the first half and led 21-7 midway through the third quarter. The Seahawks scored the next 20 points.

After Marc Bulger’s first interception in 204 attempts this season gave Seattle the ball deep in St. Louis territory in the waning moments, the game seemed over. But Leonard Little stripped Mo Morris at the St. Louis 7 with just under three minutes to play, and Jimmy Kennedy recovered.

The Rams, who have won two games this season thanks to late-game fumbles by opponents, went ahead 28-27 with 1:44 to play when Bulger and Torry Holt connected on a 67-yard bomb for Holt’s third touchdown of the day. Bulger threw deep over the middle and Holt, in single coverage, got a hand on the ball at the 20, tipped it into the air, then grabbed it and ran into the end zone.

But with no timeouts and starting at the Seattle 17, Hasselbeck hit D.J. Hackett for 14 yards, Darrell Jackson for 19 and Deion Branch for 9. Two runs moved the ball to the St. Louis 31.

Brown then made his third field goal of the game, the ball sailing well past the goalposts.

The Seahawks won without MVP running back Shaun Alexander, who missed his third straight game with a broken foot. They were also without wide receiver Bobby Engram (thyroid condition) and tight end Jerramy Stevens (knee).

Hasselbeck was 19-of-34 for 268 yards and no interceptions. Branch, making his first start since coming to Seattle in a trade from New England earlier this season, had six catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson had four catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Bulger was 26-of-39 for 360 yards and three touchdowns, all three to Holt. Steven Jackson, who entered the NFL leader in yards from scrimmage and tied for the lead in rushing, ran for 56 yards on 20 carries and caught seven passes for 40 yards.

Down 21-7 midway through the third quarter, Hasselbeck threw the ball about 60 yards in the air to Darrell Jackson, who split triple coverage and slid under the pass for a 42-yard TD.

Brown’s 49-yard field goal got Seattle within four. Then Kevin Curtis fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Seattle’s Kevin Bentley recovering at the St. Louis 22.

Two plays later, Hasselbeck threw a perfect fade pass into the left corner and Branch easily beat Travis Fisher.

Brown added another 49-yarder with 10:33 to play.

Earlier, the Rams appeared on their way to a dominating win. Bulger used a play-fake to find Holt wide open for a 38-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. Eight plays later, Holt reached over cornerback Marcus Trufant’s shoulder for a 9-yard touchdown pass.

Holt also caught a 10-yard scoring pass.

Branch’s first touchdown as a Seahawk came in the first quarter on a 14-yard pass from Hasselbeck that tied the game 7-7. St. Louis went back ahead on a 77-yard, 12-play, drive, culminating with Steven Jackson’s 2-yard run.

Mo Morris, subbing for Alexander, gained just 4 yards on five first-half carries, but had 70 yards on 18 carries in the second half.

AP-ES-10-15-06 1703EDT


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