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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Better late than never for Rams

    By BRYAN BURWELL
    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch



    If their timing wasn't perfect, it surely was, oh, just a wee bit intriguing. Several weeks late -- and with a won-loss record that looks more like a defensive lineman's jersey than a Super Bowl contender's flashy dossier -- the better-late-than-never Rams are finally beginning to behave like the team we all thought they would be.

    They may have stumbled and bumbled, gasped and sputtered for almost the entire regular season, but now they're here, only two steps away from an improbably trip to Super Bowl XXXIX.

    They lost games they shouldn't have, endangered their quarterback's life and limbs, and then watched their head coach perfect the art of living dangerously.

    And yet here they are, back in the championship hunt, leaving a lot of folks perplexed, but making so many more teams in the NFC's upper bracket very nervous. These Rams with their impressionable youngsters and their desperate veterans hungry for one last championship grasp, are heading into this weekend's rematch with the NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons with their competitive hearts pumping with confidence.

    "I don't care about the history of being the first 8-8 team to win a playoff game," said veteran guard Tom Nutten. "It really doesn't matter, because we have more work to do. There's another game to be played. We can think abouthistory later."

    Three weeks ago, they were a 6-8 team with a season on life support. But now, they have not only turned the season around, but also redirected this franchise's fate from a failing team in turmoil to a hopeful one on a decided upswing. This is why it's OK to be positive about the Rams and their less-than-beautiful 9-8 record. This is why it's rational to feel positive about a team that gave you so many headaches and heartbreak for most of the fall and winter.

    You can look at the Rams in a different -- and clearly more positive -- light now and not feel delusional. I don't know if they can go into Atlanta and beat the Falcons, but I believe that they are certainly capable. A few weeks ago, I couldn't have said that with a straight face. A year ago, the 12-4 Rams of a year ago slumped at the finish. So why are these 9-8 Rams swaggering instead of staggering?


    It's all about timing. It's all about progress. Consider this: The Rams offense really began to struggle right around the time we thought they would surge early in the season. They were 4-2 entering Miami, but got routed 31-14. Quarterback Marc Bulger got beaten up pretty good in that game, injuring his shoulder on a fourth-quarter hit by Dolphin pass rusher Jason Taylor.

    After that hit, the Rams offense struggled noticeably for the next seven games, averaging barely one touchdown per game (1.28) and 335 yards of total offense. But since Bulger came back from a late-season two-game rest when he reinjured the shoulder, the offense has gone on a staggering three-game tear. The Rams offense scored nine touchdowns, 79 points (26.3 points a game) and an eye-popping 431 yards a game of total offense.

    Though it's only over a three-game span, those total offense numbers are back to the old Greatest Show on Turf yardage production. The two Super Bowl teams averaged less yards a game and only the 10-6 team of 2000 surpassed those numbers (442 yards a game).

    And at just the same time, the defense has turned things around, too. The team's most glaring weakness -- the defensive line -- is now looking like one of its strengths with the emergence of Jimmy Kennedy, Bryce Fisher and Anthony Hargrove. After allowing more than three touchdowns a game over the first 11 games, the defense has made a major turnaround (1.3 touchdowns allowed).

    The Rams are underdogs this weekend, and that seems right. Michael Vick's offensive highlight show and Jim Mora's nasty defense could spoil this giddy party by late Saturday night. But there is no need to qualify the Rams' playoff existence right now because they are playing like a team that belongsin the playoffs.

    They may not have converted all their doubters, but they have turned at least one disbelieving head in their direction. Better late than never I say. Better late than never.


  2. #2
    sbramfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    I think I'll put on some Rams gear tonight and go stomping around town.

    Some days are better than others as a Rams fan.

    Today's a good day.

  3. #3
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    :angryram: :angryram: Good idea sb since I live in the central valley in calif.All I ever see is funky whiner and faider jerseysThink I'll go to the local pub with my $500.00 leather Rams xmas prez. jacket and stir up some noise

  4. #4
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    why would anyone were anything other than Ram gear ?????


  5. #5
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    Psycho, I just may see you in one of those pubs with my Rams jacket on as well since I live in the Central Valley in Cali too. The Raider fans haven't been too bad to tell you the truth but the dang whiner fans are certainly living up to their name. Cry babies just can't take it!!! :tongue: Too bad, soooooooooo sad!!!!

  6. #6
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by RammieGirl
    Psycho, I just may see you in one of those pubs with my Rams jacket on as well since I live in the Central Valley in Cali too. The Raider fans haven't been too bad to tell you the truth but the dang whiner fans are certainly living up to their name. Cry babies just can't take it!!! :tongue: Too bad, soooooooooo sad!!!!
    Hey you two, I'm in so cal But I'm From MODESTO. Where are you all located, Cause I may be up that way to Watch the bowl.....IF the Rams Make it!
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

  7. #7
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    Theo, I live in Merced, so we are practically neighbors!!! Soooooooo, If the Rams, or I mean, WHEN the Rams make the Superbowl, I will be having a Superbowl party, but just an FYI, there will be alotta whiner fans there that are just there to see us go down. But we have some diehard RAMS fans that will be there to shake it up too!!! Stay tuned!!!!!

  8. #8
    sbramfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    I'm in so cal, but I'll be heading up to San Luis Obispo for the game. (Pops lives up there).

  9. #9
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    rammiegirl, if I get up that way for the Bowl I'll let you know so I can get Direction. I grew up with them 9er fans too. I went to davis high and we always played merced. Usually it was a big game . I'm a grad of 82!
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

  10. #10
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by RamDez
    why would anyone were anything other than Ram gear ?????
    Great question. I'd say about four or five days of the week, I'm wearing something Rams related.
    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Two
    Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!



  11. #11
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    Hey guys I live in Visalia,Dont really know yet where I'll watch the Rams win the Superbowl.WE have a local pub called Brewbakers,but I might have to reserve a seat.Whiner fans will camp out for them to watch and hope for the Rams to lose.Their just like dems after Bush won they cant get over it.

  12. #12
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    You got it Theo and Psycho!!! I hope Saturday gives us much more to discuss next week as we head in the direction of Jacksonville..........paleeeeeze!!!! I think we can make history here!!!!

  13. #13
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    Re: Better late than never for Rams

    These are two different teams but, Who thought theRams were going to the Bowl in 99? I didn't! And I have felt the same way this year. It kinda caught me by surprise! They aren't there yet but it is buiding toward direction!
    I stopped going to the dentist.......I got tired of the cavity searches!

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