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Thread: Defeat in desert sums up season
Defeat in desert sums up season
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Dec. 31 2007
With a 3-13 record, this year's Rams finish as one of the worst teams in
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The 2007 Rams' football season ended with a loud and
inglorious thud Sunday afternoon in the Arizona desert. The Rams didn't just
lose their fourth straight game since team President John Shaw gave coach Scott
Linehan a vote of confidence in early December — they crashed and burned.
Talk about closing out a season in style. The 48-19 loss to the Cardinals was
the most lopsided defeat for the Rams this season. The team's 3-13 finish is
its worst in 13 seasons in St. Louis, thus ensuring a place for the '07 Rams as
one of the worst in franchise history.
In the 70-year history of Rams football, only six other teams have finished
with three or fewer victories: the '91 Rams (3-13); '82 Rams (2-7, in a
strike-shortened season); '62 Rams (1-12-1); '59 Rams (2-10); '41 Rams (2-9);
and the 1937 Cleveland Rams (1-10, in the franchise's inaugural season).
The Rams scored only 263 points this season, the lowest total for the franchise
since the '93 Los Angeles Rams. Meanwhile, they gave up 438 points, the
second-highest total of points allowed in franchise history.
So in a cruel sense, Sunday's debacle was a fitting ending to a nightmare
"It was definitely an embarrassing loss," safety Corey Chavous said. "We
competed but they beat our (butts), and that's tough."
Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner looked frisky at age 36 in passing for 300
yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target, Larry Fitzgerald, was the
proverbial kid in the candy store, grabbing one pass after another against a
beleaguered St. Louis secondary. He had 11 catches for 171 yards and two TDs.
After going 14 games without allowing a 100-yard rusher, the Rams finished the
season by allowing a 100-yard rusher for the second straight game. On Sunday,
it was Edgerrin James, with 102 yards and a TD on 24 carries. (Ten days ago it
was Najeh Davenport with 123 yards for Pittsburgh.)
Even subtracting two interception returns for scores by Arizona on Sunday, the
Rams' defense has yielded 68 points and 847 yards over the past two games. So
what happened to the defense?
"I don't know," Linehan said. "We're going to have to look at it."
Actually, the Rams have to look at everything in the wake of a disastrous
season that began with expectations of contending for a playoff berth.
"I've got to make a lot of changes myself," Linehan said afterward. "We've got
to look at what we're doing scheme-wise. We've got to look at everything."
When it comes to the draft, the Rams aren't on the clock yet, but they're the
next "best" thing. Sunday's loss to Arizona, coupled with victories by Atlanta
and the New York Jets, leaves the Rams with the No. 2 pick overall in April.
In the immediate aftermath of yet another defeat, quarterback Marc Bulger
didn't know how to characterize the train wreck that was 2007.
—"'Disappointing' probably isn't the right word," Bulger said. "I'll probably
need a couple of weeks to come up with the right word. Wherever 'disappointing'
is, it's in the farthest spectrum of that."
Sunday's game unraveled quickly in the second quarter. With the score tied 3-3,
Linehan uncharacteristically gambled on a fourth-and-4 play from the Arizona
43. But Bulger threw incomplete on an out pattern intended for Drew Bennett.
The Cardinals took over on downs and promptly marched 57 yards in eight plays,
scoring on a 2-yard run by James. Just two plays later, a deep pass down the
middle intended for Torry Holt was intercepted by Antrel Rolle and returned 47
yards for a touchdown.
"My interception hurt us pretty bad," Bulger said. "I couldn't see Torry, so I
tried to (float) it a little bit behind him. I threw a bad ball, and they made
a nice play. It kind of switched the momentum, but it was definitely on me."
Just like that it was 17-3, and the Cardinals weren't done yet with their
second-quarter scoring spree. The Rams went 3-and-out on their next offensive
series, with Bulger getting sacked twice. After a Donnie Jones punt, the Big
Red marched 64 yards, with Warner throwing the first of his two TD passes to
That score, with 1:06 left in the half, made it 21 points in just 6½ minutes
for Arizona and gave the Big Red a 24-3 lead. It marked the eighth consecutive
game that the Cardinals had scored 20 points or more — and it wasn't even
The Rams never got closer than a two-score deficit afterwards. Even with a
36-yard TD by tight end Joe Klopfenstein, on only his second catch of the
season early in the third quarter. And a 52-yard interception return for a TD
by safety Oshimogho "O.J." Atogwe late in the third quarter, on his eighth
interception of the season.
The St. Louis offense struggled most of the day to move the football; and the
defense was even worse, generating next to no pressure on Warner. "That was the
biggest problem for us — we didn't create pressure on Kurt, and when we did, it
was a step late," Linehan said.
A step late in a 2007 Rams season that was over almost as soon as it started.
"We fell short in a lot of areas," Linehan said. "Just look at our record."
Re: Defeat in desert sums up season
Our season is over.:x
Now for the long off-season.:x
I'll be honest, I would rather watch a losing RAMS team than no games at all.
-12-31-2007 #3rams2061 Guest
Re: Defeat in desert sums up season
After watching that game in Phoenix, if we had to play Miami this year, I think Miami would have won 2 games. How the Rams even won a game this year just shocks the hell out of me.
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