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Seattle Seahawks clinch No. 1 seed, beat St. Louis Rams

The Seattle Seahawks' Kam Chancellor, left, and K.J.

The Seattle Seahawks' Kam Chancellor, left, and K.J. Wright, right, celebrate a play against the St. Louis Rams in the second half of an NFL game, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Seattle. Photo Credit: AP / John Froschauer

SEATTLE - For the second straight season, the road through the NFC playoffs will go through Seattle.

Marshawn Lynch scored on a 9-yard run with 12:07 remaining, Bruce Irvin returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown and the Seahawks wrapped up home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs with a 20-6 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

The two fourth-quarter touchdowns by Seattle (12-4) capped a six-game win streak to end the regular season. That earned the Seahawks a second straight NFC West title and the ninth division title in franchise history.

St. Louis (6-10) couldn't take advantage of two first-half turnovers by the Seahawks and its only points came on a pair of field goals from Greg Zuerlein.

Getting home-field advantage seemed highly unlikely for the Super Bowl champs after losing at Kansas City and falling to 6-4 in Week 11. But Seattle's close to the season was perhaps more impressive than what it accomplished last season going 13-3 in the regular season.

The Seahawks bulled through Arizona and San Francisco twice, won at Philadelphia and finally dispatched the pesky Rams.

Seattle held five of its final six opponents to less than 10 points. The Seahawks became the first team since the 1969-71 Vikings to lead the NFL in scoring defense in three straight seasons, finishing the season by giving up 15.9 points per game.

And it was again Seattle's defense that came up with continuous big plays when needed, forcing three turnovers in the fourth quarter. Jordan Hill and Irvin had interceptions and Earl Thomas knocked the ball from Benny Cunningham at the 1-yard line as the Rams looked to score with 6 minutes left. The ball went out of the end zone for a touchback and Seattle took over.

The turnovers were massive after St. Louis made the first half miserable for Seattle and kept the Seahawksscoreless for the first time since Oct. 23, 2011, at Cleveland.

Lynch finished with 64 yards on 15 carries. Russell Wilson was 17 of 25 for 239 yards and an interception in the first half. Paul Richardson led Seattle with five receptions for 60 yards.

Shaun Hill was 26 of 37 for 243 yards for St. Louis. The Rams finished with just 42 yards rushing and no play longer than 20 yards.

Down 6-0 at halftime, Seattle moved the ball effectively in the third quarter but settled for a pair of field goals by Steven Hauschka to pull even at 6-6. Jordan Hill's interception ended up turning the momentum.

St. Louis was in field-goal range when Stedman Bailey was flagged for holding on the final play of the third quarter to back the Rams up to Seattle 34. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Hill tried to set up a screen pass to Tre Mason but it was read by Seattle's defensive line. Hill attempted to throw the ball away at the feet of Mason, but Jordan Hill got his hands down quick enough to intercept the pass and return it near midfield.

Seattle needed just six plays to take the lead. On third-and-7 at the 40, Wilson found Kevin Norwood uncovered for 31 yards to the Rams 9. Lynch then went untouched for his 17th touchdown of the season.

The capper came less than 3 minutes later from Irvin. St. Louis was driving near midfield and Hill attempted to find Lance Kendricks. Bobby Wagner knocked the ball from Kendricks' hands before he fully gained possession and it ricocheted into the hands of Irvin. He ran untouched for his second TD this season.


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