ST. LOUIS (AP) — Russell Wilson hit Golden Tate for a short touchdown pass to give the Seattle Seahawks a 7-3 halftime lead against the St. Louis Rams on Monday night, quieting an already sparse crowd.
The teams were playing about a mile down Broadway from Busch Stadium, where the Red Sox and Cardinals were meeting in Game 5 of the World Series. The result was an ocean of empty seats at the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams already have had trouble drawing a crowd.
In fact, some of the folks who turned up at the dome were sporting Cardinals jerseys, and the Rams helped them by showing the World Series game during pregame warm-ups on the dome's big screens, and then keeping the score on the ribbon boards.
Kellen Clemens made his first start in two years for the Rams in place of Sam Bradford, who sustained a season-ending knee injury last week against Carolina.
He completed a 26-yard pass to wide receiver Austin Pettis on third-and-9 to set up a 33-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein late in the first quarter. But he also threw two interceptions in the first half, the second going to ball-hawking cornerback Richard Sherman.
Sherman caught the overthrown pass near the Seahawks' sideline, and made several Rams miss as he returned it 38 yards. It was his fourth pick of the season, tied for the league lead, and the 13th of the season for the Seahawks, who are tied with the Broncos for the most in the NFL.
The opportunistic Seahawks scored six plays later when Russell passed to Tate on a quick slant route from the 2 on third-and-goal.
The Seahawks, who at 6-1 are riding the best start in franchise history, led despite a bunch of penalties in the first half. They were flagged for illegal use of hands to scuttle their first drive, and a hold on right guard J.R. Sweezy wiped out a 16-yard run by Marshawn Lynch.
On that play, Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford — the guy who had been held — comically picked up the yellow flag after it was thrown by the referee and threw it again for emphasis.
Seattle had minus-1 yard of total offense in the first quarter, the first time the Seahawks have had negative yards at that point since Dec. 30, 2001, against Miami, according to STATS LLC.
The Seahawks lost wide receiver Sidney Rice late in the first half with what the team called a knee injury. It wasn't clear which knee he hurt or when the injury occurred, but Rice headed to the locker room without his helmet and was doubtful to return.
Rice was targeted three times in the first half but did not have a catch. He came into the game third on the team with 15 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Rice's role is expected to diminish a bit with Percy Harvin expected to return soon from hip surgery. Harvin practiced for the first time last Tuesday but was not ready to go Monday night.
Robert Quinn had three sacks in the first half for the Rams.