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Defense improves, keeping Rams in it
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Dec. 01 2008
Don't blame the defense for what took place Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
The Rams yielded only 16 points, their second-lowest total of the season. And
their 327 yards allowed — to Miami's eighth-ranked offense — also was their
second-lowest yield of 2008.
"We didn't give up 34 points in a half," linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said. "That
Embarrassing times four, because over their past four games the Rams had
yielded 24 (Chicago), 35 (San Francisco), 40 (New York Jets) and 24 points
(Arizona) by halftime.
The Rams trailed only 10-9 at the half Sunday, en route to a 16-12 defeat to
"We know when we play good 'D,' that's what we're capable of," Tinoisamoa said.
So what was the key to the dramatically better performance?
"Better execution," Tinoisamoa said.
Unlike most Rams fans, Tinoisamoa was glad when coach Jim Haslett opted to punt
on fourth-and-1 from the St. Louis 40 with 4 minutes, 43 seconds to go.
"I was real happy that Haslett chose to punt the ball and put it on our
shoulders at the end," Tinoisamoa said. "Because guys have been down and out.
But as a defense, it was good to prove to ourselves that we can come through as
long as we play together."
The defense also held firm after the first two interceptions by quarterback
Marc Bulger. After the first, they got the ball back two plays later on a
forced fumble by safety Oshiomogho Atogwe that was recovered by linebacker
After the second interception, which allowed Miami to take over on the Rams'
40, the Dolphins managed only a field goal.
"That shows you that our mentality was totally different," defensive end
Leonard Little said. "Coach Haslett tells us all the time that bad things are
going to happen in a game. It's how we're going to respond to them. We had a
couple of turnovers on offense, but on defense, we made up our mind that we
were going to stop 'em and make 'em kick a field goal."
TIGHT ENDS BUSY
Largely an afterthought since Randy McMichael's season-ending foot injury Sept.
28, Rams tight ends were uncharacteristically busy against Miami. Eight of Marc
Bulger's 35 passes went to tight ends Sunday, with Daniel Fells and Anthony
Becht combining for four catches for 23 yards.
BLANKED BY THE EAST
The loss to Miami meant the Rams went winless (0-4) against the AFC East this
season, the first time that has happened since the move to St. Louis in 1995.
The Rams went 1-3 against the AFC East in '95, then 3-1 in '98, followed by 4-0
in '01 and 1-3 in '04.
SITTING IT OUT
Rams inactives were cornerback Tye Hill (knee), linebacker Chris Draft (foot),
offensive tackle Anthony Davis, linebacker Larry Grant, defensive end Eric
Moore, offensive guard Roy Schuening and center Cory Withrow.
The Rams scored on their first two possessions Sunday, the first time that has
happened since the New England game Oct. 26. … The Rams' 3-0 and 6-0 leads in
the first quarter marked their first leads since the Nov. 2 game against
Arizona. … With three catches (for 30 yards) Sunday, Torry Holt has 850 career
receptions, moving ahead of Rod Smith into 13th place on the NFL's career
receptions list. … Dane Looker's six catches Sunday were the second-most in his
career, and his most since an eight-catch day vs. the New York Giants in 2005.
Re: Defense improves, keeping Rams in it
The Dolphin penalties and drops probably had something to do with our defensive performance also. Did they play better than usual- in terms of tackling and the basics- yes, but it was the same boring, uninspired scheme that's been thrown out there all year. I remember on a 3rd and 13, we ran that same stupid 3 man rush that always kills us and a Dolphin receiver was wide open for 15 yds, but just flat out dropped the ball. Like always, we got little to no pressure on the QB, rarely blitzed- if at all, didn't try to disguise coverages, the corners were playing soft, we didn't run any stunts with the DL, or try anything else that good coordinators do. If this was a solid offensive team we played, we would have given up 40 easily. They did nothing different this game. I can't wait until Haslett and Venturi are gone.
-12-01-2008 #4Registered User
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Re: Defense improves, keeping Rams in it
I dont really think the D played better at all. Instead, the offense was able to sustain more drives thanks to Steven Jackson and the running game which kept the D off the field.
The Dolphins still ran for almost 150yds on 35 carriers.
The real difference in this game was time of possession.
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