St. Louis — Walking off the field, his back to the huddle, Austin Davis had no idea the Rams would gamble in this spot. Not backed up at their 18.
The quarterback glanced back in surprise to see Johnny Hekker, arm cocked, about to let one go.
It certainly surprised the Seahawks, even though they’ve seen it before.
“That’s pretty sweet,” Hekker said of the pass to a wide-open Benny Cunningham that helped the Rams run out the clock and beat the defending Super Bowl champions, 28-26, on Sunday. “We’ve been practicing that play for a long time.”
Hekker is a former high school quarterback and is the holder on placekicks.
His TD pass on a fake field goal to Danny Amendola, who’d pretended to jog off the field, was the go-ahead score and the lone touchdown for the Rams in a 19-13 win over Seattle in September 2012.
The Seahawks were familiar with the fake punt/pass but didn’t expect trickery in that situation.
They got fooled more than once.
Stedman Bailey had a 90-yard touchdown on a trick return that had the Seahawks thinking another player was going to field the punt. Cunningham had a 75-yard kickoff return on a squibbed kick that had rolled into the end zone and perhaps put the Seahawks on their heels. It set up an early touchdown for the Rams (2-4).
The Rams won for just the third time in 19 games against Seattle. They scored more than 20 points against Seattle for the first time in 15 meetings since 2006.
“It was great execution by them on a couple different scenarios,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It made a huge difference in this game.
“If they don’t catch that ball, it’s ours and we kick the field goal and it’s over. A very gutsy play.”
Russell Wilson rushed for 106 yards on seven carries and also passed for two touchdowns while going 23 for 36 for 313 yards, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history with 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing.
But the struggling Seahawks fell to 3-3 with a second straight loss.
The Seahawks dominated statistically, outgaining the Rams 463 yards to 272. Doug Baldwin’s’ 9-yard reception cut the deficit to two with 3:18 to go, but the Rams were able to run out the clock after Hekker’s completion to Cunningham on fourth-and-3, and somehow recovered a fumble by Tre Mason in the final minute.
NFL spokesman Michael Signora said the play was reviewed by the league and that there was “no evidence of a clear recovery by either St. Louis or Seattle.”
Cory Harkey was credited with a fumble recovery, and the Rams finished it with a kneel-down. The Seahawks’ Richard Sherman had the ball after it popped out of Harkey’s grasp, but Harkey apparently grabbed it back in the scrum.
“I stripped the ball and it was a big scuffle and I was just trying to help Sherm get the ball,” safety Earl Thomas said. “He had it but somehow … I don’t know.”
Hekker was a high school quarterback and is 4 for 5 for 60 yards and a touchdown in three seasons. He also serves as the emergency quarterback.
“I don’t know how many completions I had, but it wasn’t even close to the most important one of the game,” Davis said. “Sometimes you’ve got to go get one.”
(At) Jacksonville 24, Cleveland 6: Former Michigan star Denard Robinson ran for a career-high 127 yards and a touchdown, and the Jaguars ended a nine-game losing streak.
Jacksonville (1-6) won for the first time since beating Houston on Dec. 15, 2013.
Blake Bortles connected with fellow rookie Allen Robinson (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s) for a 31-yard score.
The Browns (3-3) settled for two field goals.
“When you get turnovers, you’ve got to turn them into points, not field goals,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “When you’re only kicking field goals, you start to press.”
(At) Indianapolis 27, Cincinnati 0: Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes and was 27-of-42 for 344 yards as Indianapolis (5-2) won its fifth straight. It was Indy’s first shutout since December 2008.
“We’ve always had confidence, but at the same time we want to humble ourselves and be on to the next game and try to do it again and again, and again, and again,” safety Mike Adams said after getting his first shutout in 11 NFL seasons.
Cincinnati (3-2-1), which hasn’t won since starting 3-0, endured its first shutout since December 2009 and had a franchise record-tying 11 punts.
Ahmad Bradshaw’s 1-yard TD run made it 10-0 in the second quarter and Luck threw two second-half TD passes to make it 24-0.
Colts linebacker Erik Walden was ejected in the first half for making contact with umpire Bruce Stritesky.
(At) Green Bay 38, Carolina 17: Aaron Rodgers threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns, and Green Bay (5-2) scored touchdowns on their first three series and led 28-3 at halftime.
“It definitely was a great game for us offensively, being able to put things together the way we did with the run, with the pass, play-action,” said Reggie Cobb, who caught six passes for 121 yards and a score. “So as long as we can continue to execute the game plan and make plays, we’re going to continue to have these types of wins.”
Cam Newton, who had a career-high 17 carries last week, had 41 yards rushing on seven attempts. He passed for 205 yards for Carolina (3-3-1).
The Packers never looked back after Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson for a 59-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive in winning their fourth straight. Eddie Lacy and James Starks each ran for TDs in the first half.
(At) Miami 27, Chicago 14: Ryan Tannehill threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns, connecting on his first 14 passes.
Lamar Miller also had a 2-yard touchdown run for the Dolphins (3-3), who had lost three of four since an opening victory over New England.
“We were making plays on offense. I think the guys were getting open, and we were able to hit them,” Tannehill said. “That’s the name of the game is to have protection, the guys get open and me make the throw. We were able to put it together today as an offense.”
The Bears (3-4) remained winless in three home games this season and have dropped five of their last seven at Soldier Field. Matt Forte scored two touchdowns.
(At) Washington 19, Tennessee 17: Kai Forbath kicked a 22-yard field goal on the last play of the game, and Colt McCoy stepped in after Kirk Cousins was benched at halftime to lead Washington.
McCoy completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown in his first meaningful role in a win since Nov. 20, 2011. Back then, he led the Browns to a 14-10 victory over the Jaguars.
“This league,” McCoy said, “is very unforgiving.”
Washington (2-5) ended a four-game losing streak. The Titans fell to 2-5.
“Being 2-5 and losing two heartbreakers in the last three weeks, we can only go up,” Tennessee safety George Wilson said.
(At) Buffalo 17, Minnesota 16: Kyle Orton hit Sammy Watkins on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 1 second remaining. The touchdown capped a 15-play, 80-yard drive which Orton extended by converting a fourth-and-20 and a third-and-12. Orton set up the decisive score with a 28-yard pass to Chris Hogan at the Vikings 2.
Orton overcame an interception, a lost fumble and six sacks to finish 31 of 43 for 283 yards and two touchdowns — both to Watkins.
It was Orton’s second last-second victory in three starts for Buffalo (4-3).
“Any time you get a chance to go on a game-winning drive, it’s awesome,” Orton said. “We hung in there, made some mistakes, but in the end we got the win, and that was our goal.”
The Vikings’ defense forced four turnovers but Minnesota (2-5) lost its third in a row.
Arizona 24, (at) Oakland 13: Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes in his return to Oakland and the Cardinals sent the Raiders to their 12th straight loss.
Stepfan Taylor caught one touchdown pass and ran for another, and Andre Ellington gained 160 yards from scrimmage for the Cardinals (5-1), who are off to their best start since 1976.
Darren McFadden ran for a touchdown for the Raiders (0-6), off to their worst start to a season since losing their first 13 games in 1962.
Kansas City 23, (at) San Diego 20: Cairo Santos kicked a 48-yard field goal with 21 seconds left and the Chiefs ended the Chargers’ five-game winning streak.
The Chiefs (3-3) moved into field goal range thanks to Alex Smith, who completed three straight passes on the drive for 53 yards, including a 29-yarder to Dwayne Bowe.
Smith was playing on the field where he led Helix High to consecutive San Diego Section championships.