Crucial calls cost 0-5 Rams vs. Cardinals
By Bill Coats
10/07/2007 7:29 pm
These 0-5 Rams just can’t catch a break. Two crucial calls went against them Sunday in a 34-31 loss to Arizona at the less-than-full Edward Jones Dome:
1. With the Rams leading 10-3, the Cardinals drove to the 1-yard line. On second-and-goal, running back Edgerrin Jones fumbled before crossing the goal line. The ball spurted into the end zone, and it appeared as if Rams cornerback Jonathan Wade had fallen on it. But Cards guard Reggie Wells eventually wound up with the ball in his hands, and after a Rams challenge, the call stood and it was 10-10.
2. As the final seconds of the first half wound down, James was stopped at the 1-yard line. The officials hustled to spot the ball, but it skittered away, the clock hit :00, and the gleeful Rams headed off the field. But the officials ruled that a Rams player, or players, had kicked the ball, resulting in a delay-of-game penalty. Arizona was given another play, and QB Kurt Warner got in, giving the Cards a 17-13 halftime edge. “The ref dropped the ball . . . he just lost the ball and we were just walking by. I didn’t kick it on purpose,” said Ron Bartell, an apparent culprit. “He dropped the ball. He has to hold on to the ball.”
Even when the Rams don’t suffer a bunch of injuries, they get them in the wrong places. They already were a safety short Sunday, with Corey Chavous out with a pectoral injury. They lost his sub, Jerome Carter, in the second quarter with a broken foot and then Carter’s replacement, Todd Johnson, went down with a neck sprain late in the third.
That forced Bartell to move to safety from cornerback. Bartell said he hadn’t taken a rep at safety since last season. “Guys are dropping like flies right now,” he said. “I really wasn’t expecting two of our safeties to get hurt, but it happened. I guess that’s the good thing, to be versatile and be able to fill in where needed.”
Notes & quotes:
>>Warner’s TD was just the third of his career.
>>CB Fakhir Brown had two interceptions in his return from serving a four-game league suspension. The Rams had picked off just one pass in the first four games. Said Brown: “I never thought we’d be 0-5. I just can’t believe it right now.”
>>G Richie Incognito also played for the first time this season, after recovering from a high-ankle sprain. But his debut was less auspicious. Incognito was nailed for 50 yards in penalties -– two personal fouls, and two holding calls. Didn’t bother QB Gus Frerotte, though. “You know what, I’ll take a lineman who fights and wants to give it all he’s got,” Frerotte said. “That’s what you get with Richie. But you get a heck of a player who’s going to give you a hundred percent on every play. As a quarterback, you like to have those guys in front of you.”
>>Andy McCollum was generally solid in his first start at LG since 2003. “I did all right. A little rusty and sloppy on some of my sets, especially in pass pro(tection),” he said. “I’ve got to get a little better at the little things. It’ll come. I think it was a good start.”
>>Rookie RB Brian Leonard got away with another “Leonard Leap,” hurdling CB Roderick Hood on a 12-yard run in the second quarter. He was known for that at Rutgers, and he reprised it in the preseason game at Oakland. “That’s what I’ve done since high school,” Leonard explained. “I did it in college and I said I was going to try it in the pros, and when I tried it the first time, it worked, and now it worked again. I guess I’ll do it till I get flipped.”
>>Donnie Jones had another strong outing, averaging 56.0 yards (46.8 net) on four punts. He also was flawless as K Jeff Wilkins’ holder. Dane Looker usually handles that duty, but he was out with a severe thigh bruise.
All for now . . .