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Rams ready to take their Sunday shot at postseason berth

ST. LOUIS -- A tornado-warning siren alerted the Rams to bad weather, sending them indoors to finish practice Friday.

The Rams (7-8) ended their preparations for Sunday night's winner-take-all game in Seattle against the Seahawks (6-9), in which the winner will claim the NFC West Division championship and a playoff berth.

A powerful storm with heavy rain and wind swept through the St. Louis area in the late morning and early afternoon.

"We were hoping to get it in before anything came. But that was the education I got: As soon as you hear the horns, don't take any chances," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "My nature would have been, 'Oh, well, we can wait a little while. I don't see anything out there.' But they say they can come up quick.

"Then I figured, once they heard the horns, that's all they'd be thinking about were horns, so we immediately came in here."

Rookie left tackle Rodger Saffold acknowledged the weather was something else.

"It was weird, hearing the sirens going off and lightning all over the place," Saffold said. "It was like a monsoon out there. All the weather we've gotten this week is kind of what it's going to be like in Seattle."

Spagnuolo said the Rams weren't affected by the change in plans.

"We got outside for a little bit; it was good to be on the grass, it was soft and all that because we've been in here [practicing indoors] a lot," Spagnuolo said. "We got a little fresh air. Then we came in here. We had a good practice. Everybody practiced. That's the first time I've been able to say that in a while."

Spagnuolo liked that his players seemed loose during the workout and ready to play for a postseason berth.

"It's all about grabbing the prize, and we don't have anything now. It's great we've got an opportunity in the 16th game," Spagnuolo said. "Aside from that, we'll try to finish it and get the final deal."

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The Rams haven't won in Seattle since 2004, when they beat the Seahawks in a wild-card game. It's the last time St. Louis was in the playoffs.

Running back Steven Jackson was a rookie that season, and he certainly didn't figure it would be so long before he'd have an opportunity to return to the playoffs.

"I thought it would be an every-year thing," Jackson said. "I thought the playoffs would be something I'm accustomed to. But, God willing, if we make it back this time, I won't take it for granted."

Kicker Josh Brown played five seasons for Seattle before signing a free-agent contract in 2008 with St. Louis.

"I love the atmosphere (in Seattle)," Brown said. "It's one of those things where you got to go and be focused and the task at hand has to be on the forefront of your mind, because it's going to be loud, loud, loud. It's a bit of a rowdy crowd."

Linebacker James Laurinaitis said he believes the Rams are ready for prime time.

"Guys are loose; they are confident in our game and excited to go out there and play," Laurinaitis said. "We could have played this thing on Wednesday. It's going to be exciting to go out there and see what we can do."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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