ST. LOUIS — Ugly is being redefined by the Seattle Seahawks.
Throw out those known definitions that intimate a negative connotation. Ugly for the Seahawks has become a beautiful thing, worthy of a franchise-best 7-1 start at the midway point of the season.
Seattle had another beautifully ugly evening in St. Louis on Monday during a gasping and wheezing 14-9 win over the Rams.
During a game that had all the elegance of a rusted and abandoned car for the Seahawks, the result was that simple yet ever-important three-letter word: w-i-n.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stood postgame again using phrases such as “very fortunate” after another narrow road win, lumping this in with the opener at the Carolina Panthers and the rally in Houston.
Neither of those had the Seahawks a yard from defeat with four seconds remaining, however.
The Rams had five shots from the 6-yard line or closer to score the winning touchdown and could not.
On fourth-and-goal from the 2 with four seconds remaining, St. Louis went to the shotgun and quarterback Kellen Clemens lofted a pass toward receiver Brian Quick.
Quick was well covered by Brandon Browner, the pass was not close to being complete and the Seahawks sprinted onto the field with their most brutish win of the season.
“They just tried me on a simple corner or fade route,” Browner said. “They threw it up and I was able to get my hands on the ball and make the play.
“A win is a win. However they come, we take them.”
Penalized often and unable to protect quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks gave the Rams numerous chances for an upset.
Wilson was sacked seven times. The Seahawks committed 10 penalties for 83 yards. Marshawn Lynch was held to 23 yards on eight carries. Wilson completed 55.5 percent of his passes.
“Million problems in protection again,” Carroll said.
The Rams started at their own 3-yard line with 5:42 remaining and down 14-9. They put together their most effective drive of the night, briskly moving into scoring territory.
“They could do anything they wanted on that drive,” Carroll said.
Almost everything. The final score eluded St. Louis.
The first quarter was an abomination and harbinger for the Seahawks. Seattle was outgained 75 yards to minus-1. It was the first time since December 1992 versus Pittsburgh that the Seahawks finished with negative total yards in the first quarter.
Wilson was sacked twice. Lynch gained 1 yard on two carries.
But, two interceptions thrown by the turnover-prone Clemens, playing in place of injured starter Sam Bradford, kept the Seahawks in it. Linebacker Bruce Irvin dropped into coverage, jammed the tight end off the line, and intercepted Clemens in the first quarter at the Seahawks’ 21.
Richard Sherman snagged a wayward Clemens pass for a second-quarter interception to set up the Seahawks at the St. Louis 26 following a 38-yard runback.
Wilson eventually hit Golden Tate on third-and-goal from the 2-yard line for a 7-3 Seattle lead.
In the third quarter, he hooked up with Tate again for an 80-yard touchdown to finish the Seahawks’ scoring on a night they had just 40 offensive snaps, 135 total yards, and possessed the ball for almost 17 minutes fewer than the Rams.
“We just couldn’t get going at all on offense,” Carroll said.
The offensive line was woeful. Wilson couldn’t get loose to run, gaining 16 rushing yards, his second-lowest total of the season.
Consistently pressured off the edges, Wilson braced for sacks with a focus on simply maintaining possession of the ball.
“Those guys were obviously bringing pressure all night,” Wilson said. “The quarterback coach (Carl Smith) and I were talking about all week, ‘If it’s not there, sometimes you just have to surrender.’ ”
It wasn’t there on a night when Wilson had his fewest total yards of the season. Lynch had his fewest carries and yards.
Still, the Seahawks have four road wins this season, one short of the franchise record and one more than last year.
“I never get tired, but today, this was the most physical game I’ve ever played in,” safety Earl Thomas said. “I’m mentally drained and physically drained.”
But, somehow, Thomas goes home a winner.