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  1. #1
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    Bernie: Rams answer the charge

    Bernie: Rams answer the charge
    Bernie Miklasz | Posted: Monday, October 18, 2010 2:00 pm

    Rams fans, your boys are growing up. They weren't paying attention last weekend and drove the car off the road in downtown Detroit, but on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome we saw a team that was focused, determined and driven to succeed.

    The Rams were asked to past two tests against the San Diego Chargers. A week after getting bullied by the Lions, would the Rams be mentally locked in and ready to make amends? And when the Chargers came hard at them with the inevitable charge, could the Rams survive the pressure?

    The crucially important answers: Yes and Yes.

    It added up to a tense 20-17 upset victory and an attractive 3-3 record for a franchise that's been used as a veritable foot wipe for dirty cleats in the other 31 NFL locker rooms.

    "To be 3-3 after six games, I think everyone is starting to take us seriously," Rams running back Steven Jackson said. "And going into Tampa next week, they're not going to look at this game and feel like the same old Rams are showing up."

    As Jax said, Tampa Bay is the next stop on this interesting journey. And the Rams will face another checkpoint, needing to prove to themselves (and others) that they can win on the road.

    "To be an elite team, and to get ourselves in position to be in the playoffs, we have to learn how to win on the road," Jackson said. "And I think that's our next challenge."

    The Rams are in the process of building a better team, and part of that is reestablishing a home-field advantage. Even with 15,000 empty seats per home game, progress is being made on the dome front, with the Rams having won three consecutive home games for the first time since late in the 2004 season.

    In one of the most impressive and thorough performances by a Rams outfit in many years, your boys dominated the Chargers in the first half to bop their way to a 17-3 lead. In the first two quarters the Rams outgained the Chargers 206-87 and sacked quarterback Philip Rivers five times. It was an uprising.

    In his NFL debut, rookie wideout Danario Alexander caught a 38-yard TD pass from Sam Bradford. The exciting launch of the "DX" missile inspired the crowd and Alexander's teammates, including Sam the Ram.

    The pumped-up Bradford rushed over to offer Alexander his congratulations.

    The Sooner and the Tiger.

    And the sooner the better.

    Talk about instant impact.

    "What a huge boost for our offense today," Bradford said of his new, tall, pass-catching buddy.

    This could be the beginning of a fantastic friendship between the former Big 12 Conference rivals. On top of that, this was a fine way to kick off Missouri vs. Oklahoma week.

    Saturday night, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo angered the blood of his players by showing them video of the famous Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearnes fight. I covered that spectacularly bloody three-round brawl, sitting at ringside and stunned by the level of violence. I'll never forget the ferocity of the first round. And if you want to get your guys in the mood to rumble, this was the way to do it. The Rams were insanely intense as they jumped the Chargers early.

    "I talked to them (Saturday) night about it it's the nature of man to rise to greatness when greatness is expected," Spagnuolo said. "And I expected greatness out of them."

    Stoked by the pugnacious coach, revved up by the rollout of the DX missile, and feverish to make up for last week's Motown mugging, the Rams smacked the Chargers upside the head and had everything going their way. The Chargers seem shocked to have been flattened by such a previously feckless, toothless bunch of patsies.

    And just when it seemed that this hopeful, happy day would slip away and turn into a hideous loss, the Rams retrenched and slugged back.

    The Chargers had romped 76 yards in five plays against a fatigued Rams defense for a touchdown that cut the St. Louis lead to 20-17 with 3 minutes, 23 seconds remaining.

    Uh-oh ...

    Everyone in the building knew what would happen next. The Rams, who had been ridiculously conservative on offense in the second half, would give the rock to SJ39 and try to muscle their way to a couple of first downs to bury the Chargers.

    Spagnuolo told Jackson to go into the huddle and, uh, preach to his teammates to get them in the proper mood to hurt someone. Breathing fire, Jackson demanded that the Rams man up, assert themselves and apply the knockout.

    On third and six, Jackson powered for nine yards in the most important run of the game. Later, he knocked over the Chargers like they were the little men from an electronic football game and rumbled for 12 to put San Diego on the flight home.

    "We had the character and the will to fight 'em off," Jackson said. "This game here is going to do a lot for us later in the season."

    If you are trying to understand how this Rams team can fall apart at Oakland, lose by 38 at Detroit but also beat teams quarterbacked by Rivers, Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck ... well, quit worrying about it. The NFC is a jumbled pile of incomplete squads. Of the 16 NFC teams, 11 have records ranging from 4-2 to 3-3. Another is 2-3.

    We're going to see wild fluctuations. It's that simple. But at least the Rams have upside. They aren't an old, tired, spent team that's trying to hang on. Their best days appear to be ahead of them. And that's a good thing.

    I asked Spagnuolo to describe his team's emerging personality.

    "I just think there's a lot of fight in this team," he said. "This is a team that enjoys playing football, and enjoys playing with each other. There are a lot of character guys in there. Anytime I stand in front of them, I'm proud to do it. Anytime I'm pushing for something, they give it. Anytime they may sway one way or the other and you've got to pull 'em back, they react and they come back. You can't ask for more than that."

    Well, we can ask for more wins.

    Why stop now?

  2. #2
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    Re: Bernie: Rams answer the charge

    I just got done reading all these over on stlouistoday. Its so much easier to read Bernie when the Rams win. Sometimes its easy to forget the Spags and his coaches are still learning too.

  3. #3
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bernie: Rams answer the charge

    "a previously feckless, toothless bunch of patsies." ?!!

    Nice to have you on The Rams bandwagon, Bernie, but call ANY incarnation of The Rams THAT again & I'm sure we'll all vote for you to be tossed from said the front so we can be sure both wheels bump (squelch?) over you. SOSAR is a compliment by comparison.

  4. #4
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    Re: Bernie: Rams answer the charge

    Steven Jackson said "Same old Rams"......Give him a Negative Rep!

  5. #5
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    Re: Bernie: Rams answer the charge

    This is exactly the type of overexaggerating that Bernie ALWAYS does; he rubs it in and doesnt know when to stop. But we need to keep winning so he can run out of negative stuff to say.

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