On Halloween 1976, eight games into the Seahawks’ inaugural season, Seattle traveled to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to play the Rams for the first time.
What followed was a 45-6 loss — the worst Seattle would suffer during its first five seasons — and the beginning of a series that renews with Saturday’s wild-card playoff game.
It’s a series that has included some highlights and clunkers. It has also been a series of streaks — the Rams won 10 of the first 14 meetings as Seattle did not get a win until 1991, making the Rams the second-to-last team it defeated of those who were in the league in 1976.
But Seattle won 10 in a row and 16 of 18 from 2004-14 and leads the regular-season series 25-20.
Here’s a quick review of some memorable moments against the Rams — and one no one can forget, hard as they might try.
The battle to be the best of the worst
The Seahawks and Rams have played one playoff game — a wild-card contest in Seattle after the 2004 season. The Rams won 27-20, a game clinched when Bobby Engram couldn’t come up with a Matt Hasselbeck pass in the end zone on fourth down with 27 seconds remaining.
But a game that was a de facto playoff game — the regular-season finale in 2010, coach Pete Carroll’s first year — might be the most memorable in the series.
The Seahawks entered the game 6-9, the Rams 7-8. But because Seattle had beaten the Rams already, all they had to do was beat them again to win the West and clinch a playoff berth.
That Seattle did, winning 16-6 in a sluggish game that is also remembered for being the only game Charlie Whitehurst won as a Seahawk. Whitehurst hit Ruvel Martin for 61 yards on the second play of the game, leading to a 7-0 Seattle lead, and the Seahawks never trailed.
Marshawn Lynch ran it 10 times on a final Seattle drive that took 7:01 off the clock and sealed the win — foreshadowing more heroics for Lynch the following week against the Saints, which never would have happened if Seattle doesn’t beat the Rams.
And though many made fun of a losing team in the playoffs, Carroll has never diminished the importance of that win in kicking off the success that followed.
That “got us rolling in some regards,” Carroll said this season. “We picked up and started winning a lot of games after that.”
In Seattle’s greatest season of the pre-Carroll era — 2005 — the Seahawks got off to a somewhat floundering 2-2 start as they headed to a game in St. Louis, having lost an overtime game at Washington the week before.
It looked no better when the Rams’ Chris Johnson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
But from there everything began to click.
Hasselbeck threw for 316 yards as Seattle rallied to win 37-31, with Joe Jurevicius catching nine passes for 137 yards an emotional game for him. His young son, Michael William, had died in St. Louis of a neurodegenerative disease in 2003, and the team drove past the hospital where he died on the way to the game.
The victory kick-started a team-record 11-game winning streak that set up the first Super Bowl appearance in team history.
One Golden moment
In Seattle’s greatest season, 2013, the Seahawks needed a win over the Rams at home in the final game to assure winning the NFC West and getting the top seed in the conference. Seattle did just that with a 27-9 victory that other than its importance — and the fun had in the stadium — was mostly forgettable.
That can’t be said of the first game between the teams that year, one of the more bizarre contests in Seahawks history. Seattle won 14-9 on a Monday night despite being outgained 339-135, the third-fewest yards in a win in team history. Eighty came on one play — a Russell Wilson pass to Golden Tate, who made a mocking wave at safety Rodney McLeod as he danced into the end zone, earning a penalty.
“That was immature of me,” Tate said later. “Hurt my team. I’ve gotta stay composed. … Act like I’ve been there before.”
Seattle then let the Rams drive 96 yards, from the Rams’ 3 to the Seahawks’ 1, in the waning moments before a fourth-down pass was broken up in the end zone on the final play.
“You have to be able to win ugly,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said later.
Speaking of ugly, though that term can be overused, it truly fit Seattle’s effort in what was might be the most embarrassing game in team history — a 24-0 home loss to the Rams in 1979 in which the Seahawks were held to minus-7 yards.
That remains an NFL record for fewest yards in a game and is one of just two times in league history a team has been held to negative yards. Given the way offenses are now, it’s a record that might never be broken.
And though that Rams team would reach the Super Bowl, on that day they were just 4-5 and Seattle was favored by four points, having won a rousing Monday night game at Atlanta six days earlier.
The Seattle Times headline previewing the game read: “Don’t Count Rams Out.”
Seahawks quarterback Jim Zorn completed just 2 of 17 passes and was sacked six times as Seattle got just one first down. The Seahawks defense allowed 475 yards.
Asked what he thought of all the boos from the restless Kingdome crowd as the massacre ensued, Zorn said, “I felt like booing, too.”