By Jeff Gordon
ONLINE SPORTS COLUMNIST
Sunday, Dec. 16 2007

It was (bad) business as usual for the Rams Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

Scott Linehan devised a safety-first offensive game plan featuring bulldozing
back Steven Jackson. The Rams sustained two impressive first-half scoring
drives and trailed the Green Bay Packers by just three points at the half.

Jim Haslett’s defensive unit did some good things, with Brandon Chillar forcing
a fumble (which Adam Carriker recovered) and O.J. Atogwe picking off two
passes. Even rookie cornerback Jonathan Wade broke up a couple of passes, which
was unusual for him.

But . . .

As usual, the Rams found ways to fail. Their kicking game was awful. They
consistently gave the Packers short fields.

They were prone to penalties, getting flagged 13 times for 93 yards. Jeff
Wilkins chunked another field goal attempt.

They suffered their normal breakdowns in pass protection, allowing batter Marc
Bulger to absorb four more sacks. Bulger also suffered two interceptions on
passes through the hands of his receivers.

And, as always, the Rams faded badly in the second half. Whatever the reasons
for – poor tactics, training or motivation -- the Rams turned a close,
competitive game into another painful defeat.

Green Bay’s 33-14 win will be remembered for its unusual atmosphere, with
raucous Packers fans filling about half the seats in The Ed. It will be
remembered for Brett Favre’s record-setting greatness; he passed Dan Marino as
the NFL’s career passing yardage leader.

Packers fans gleefully chanted “M-V-P” as he led the interlopers to victory.
This was a festive time for the visiting Cheeseheads.

But on the bottom line, this was just another monotonous Rams loss in a 3-11
season. The march toward a high NFL draft pick and much fan restlessness

As usual, coach Scott Linehan had no explanation for what went wrong. What
about that terrible kick coverage?

“We have done a lot of shuffling and moving people in and out of there and we
have not found the right combination,” Linehan said. “It has not been a bright
spot for us. We have made some adjustments and made some progress for a few
weeks, but we have not been consistent. We all need to take credit for that.”

What about their second-half collapse, right on cue?

“We are working on it, we haven’t been able to execute it,” Linehan said. “We
have not played good as a team in the second half. You can focus on offense,
defense or special teams, but our team has not been a good second-half team.”

Jackson vented some frustration afterward, complaining about all the Packers
fans in The Ed. They were noisy and highly visible. They hung banners in
support of Favre and the Pack in general.

“It’s a joke, it’s as simple as that,” Jackson said. “The whole first level was
Green Bay Packers. We allowed them to put up signs. It’s a joke.”

Earlier, Jackson went off on the miserable sound system in the dome, as well as
the musical selection.

His points are well-taken. But the bigger issue is this: The Rams are losers.
They do a lot of the same things wrong game after game – and they mix in some
new problems from game to game, just to keep us all guessing how they will fail
next.

Injuries are a big factor in this disastrous season, but so are the team’s
general sloppiness and baffling inability to make tactical adjustments.

They appeared to play hard in this game, but . . .

“We lost today, so it wasn’t good enough,” Jackson said. “It gets to the point
where I say the same thing over and over again.”

We know the feeling. So do all the Rams fans out there visiting the
STLtoday.com discussions and forums.