Nobody could have seen this coming. The Seahawks were a relatively new NFL team, playing in only their fourth season, but they seemed to be on the rise. The previous Monday night they had scored their biggest victory. Using trick plays and improvisation by their scrambling quarterback, Jim Zorn, the Seahawks came from behind to beat the Atlanta Falcons 31-28. The national television audience couldn't help but be entertained by the plucky underdogs from the Northwest.
The Rams, meanwhile, had lost three straight games and would be playing before a hostile crowd in Seattle's dome. But when they met, everything went right for the Rams and wrong for the Seahawks. One-sided games happen, but this was ridiculous.
No First Downs, No Yards, No Nothing
The Seahawks simply could not move the ball. At halftime the Rams had a 21-0 lead and the Seahawks had no first downs, meaning they weren't able to gain 10 yards in any four-play sequence. The crowd of 62,048 was getting restless and surly.
The Seahawks' first play of the second half was a completed pass from Zorn to Steve Largent, the future Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver and Congressman from Oklahoma. The play gained 11 yards -- good for a first down, a meager accomplishment that would be shown repeatedly that week on Coach Jack Patera's television show.
For Seattle, that was as good as it got. The Seahawks never earned another first down. And they never got closer to the goal line than that, eight yards shy of midfield. The Rams had lost quarterback Pat Haden and running back Wendell Tyler to injuries in the first half, so the second half was an unrelieved display of two offenses that couldn't do much, if anything. The Seahawks at one time got their offensive total up to 23 yards, but the Rams kept tackling Zorn for losses while he was trying to pass. For the last quarter of the game, the only suspense was whether the Seahawks could raise their net yardage into the black.
They couldn't. When time ran out, mercifully, the Rams had a 24-0 victory and the Seahawks had minus-seven yards. It truly was a sub-zero performance, worst by two yards in the league's 57-year history, a stinker for the ages.
The Rams and Seahawks were teams going in different directions in 1979.
The Seahawks had won 3 out of their last 4 games.
In those three wins, Seattle averaged 33 points and 350 yards a game.
The previous Monday night, the Seahawks had scored their biggest victory.
The Seahawks came from behind to beat the Atlanta Falcons 31-28.
The Rams had lost three straight games and would be playing before a hostile crowd in Seattle's Kingdome
The Seahawks were a 3 point favorites.
But the Rams came to play.
The Ram offense was awesome, rushing for over 300 yards.
They had the ball for over 45 minutes and rolled up 500 yards.
First TD was a sweep by Wendell Tyler.
Then Haden threw a 2 yard TD to Charlie Young.
After one quarter it was 14-0 Rams.
With the Rams at 149 total yards to Seattle's 6.
Wendell Tyler rushing for 86 of those 1st quarter yards.
Haden in the second quarter hit Drew Hill on a 17 yard TD.
Making it 21-0 Rams
Pat Haden was having his best game of the season, throwing 2 TD's and completed his last 13 passes in a row when he broke his ring finger and was replaced by rookie Jeff Rutledge.
Haden hit Elvis Peacock on a swing pass and made super run for a 58 yard TD.
It was brought back for illigal procedure penalty.
But, that run showed the talent we lost.
The Ram defense was even better.
Coach Malavasi designed a defensive scheme called "delay-bim".
Playing a nickel with Elmendorf and Eddie Brown on the line.
That truly befuddled the Seahawks.
When the first half ended, the explosive Seattle offense had no first down and zero yards.
At the half the Rams had 18 fist downs to the Seahawk 0.
The Seahawks' first play of the second half was a completed pass from Jim Zorn to Steve Largent, the play gained 11 yards, good for a first down.
For Seattle, that was as good as it got.
The Seahawks never earned another first down.
And they never got closer to the goal line than that, eight yards shy of midfield.
The Seahawks at one time got their offensive total up to 23 yards, but the Rams kept sacking (7 times) Jim Zorn for losses.
For the last quarter of the game, the only suspense was whether the Seahawks could raise their net yardage into the black.
The Seahawks had just moved into positive yardage for the day. 2 total yards, to be exact. They called a pass play, and Youngblood beat the blocker to sack Zorn for a 9 yard loss.
Those nine yards put Seattle at minus-7 total yards for the game.
To this day, that is the record for fewest yards allowed in a game by any defense in the history of the NFL.
29 first downs to the Seahaw's 1.
With minutes left in the game, Zorn scrambled and Dryer didn't pursue like Malavasi wanted him to and screamed at Dryer "Get your axx in gear".
Freddie, said "screw you, Ray, it's 24-0".
To Malavasi's reply "screw me? Screw you."
The game film picked up both Dryer and Malavasi lips. Which they ran in slo-mo that busted up the team.
This is how John Facenda explained the game LISTEN