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  1. #1
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugly

    Playing their best game by far since the win against Dallas, the Rams gave the playoff bound Falcons all they could handle before falling on the road 31-27 in a seesaw battle that went down to the wire. As you all know, i was at the game today seated directly behind the Rams bench. Since this is the last game of the year for the squad, i am going to alter my historical method of analysis a bit by writing this column without looking at any statistics. I have not seen a boxscore and i did not hear any commentary inside the Georgia Dome, other than the discussions i had with the Falcons fans around me. The views expressed herein will be my personal observations without any outside influence (ie especially the benefit of television replay or highlights). I am sure this will result in me getting plenty of stuff wrong, but it should make for a bit more interesting conversation and group analysis. Sometime in the next week or so, i intend to post a Good, Bad and Ugly for the entire season.

    The Good

    Given the wins by both Houston and Minnesota, i believe that we have clinched the #2 overall draft pick. Hello either Stafford if Detroit is stupid enough to take Bradford or more likely, Andre Smith.

    There is no way for me to describe how amazing The Big Boy looked today. He did it with power runs, with his speed, with some catch and runs and he just plowed ahead time and time again. He had to have over 200 yards total offense and it seemed like he had about 30 carries for 156 yards or so. I cant wait to hear from you guys what the actual stats were. Anyone that doubts this guys talent and value clearly is spending too much time with the Hookah Pipe. You should have heard the Falcons fans. They kept asking me how we could possibly be 2-13 with Jackson. I pointed out that Jackson missed several games with injury and without him we are a completely different team. As Falcon after Falcon tried to tackle him up high and bounced off him time and again, the crowd gasped and groaned collectively. The Falcons saw more than they cared to of The Big Boy and never really stopped him consistently. A healthy Jackson heading into next season is the most important thing for the Rams. Without him, we are going absolutely nowhere fast.

    Bulger was accurate and excellent. Falcons fans were laughing at the idea that BUlger is part of our problem. He had a couple of drops (avery deep of note) and of course the rookie receivers missed two big passes where they were open and the balls were on target and they looked the wrong way or didnt look at all which led to bulger walking off and talking to them on the sideline. Holt also took burton aside and explained on a play where burton never saw the ball coming. we need a developmental qb. We DONT need to replace bulger if we block for him, have an effective running game and develop the young receivers.

    Playing in what is likely his last game as a Ram, Torry Holt was fantastic, both short and deep and converting on key third downs. Holt was literally crying on the sideline into a towel when the game ended and numerous teammates came over the console him. He is truly a fantastic competitor and regardless of where he ends his career, i believe he will be enshrined in the HOF as a Ram. Maybe he will be back, but i think its unlikely and judging by his reactions all game on the sideline, i believe he thinks he will be elsewhere next year. Holt remains an elite possession receiver and he could do great things on a contending team. He spent every possession on the sideline talking to Avery and Burton. Holt also had the equipment guy give my kids one of his gloves. He was five feet away from me with the clock winding down and I yelled at him "Torry, thanks so much for the 10 great years, you will always be a Ram to us." He turned around smiled and waived to me and the kids. A very nice moment for both of us i am sure.

    The offensive line appeared to play very well despite allowing some key sacks, a couple of which looked like coverage sacks. We had NO holding penalties today and i believe only one false start even though the crowd was very loud at times. Keeping in mind that neither Bell nor incognito played (and you cant believe how small Bell looks compared to Greco, Incognito and Goldberg) and Greco made his first start (with goldberg at the other guard) it was an excellent effort. I dont need to see a stat sheet to know that we ran the ball very very well all game long against a playoff team. There were actually some holes for Jackson and Darby, something we havent seen much of all year. Greco by the way is HUGE. I mean he is close to the size of The Big Man, who is just enormous. A number of these guys up close are wide, but not necessarily that tall. Pace, Goldberg and Greco are the biggest guys on the team and Barron is close.

    Jones appeared to punt well again, including one bombed that went over 75 yards resulting in a touchback.

    We had an amazing experience on the field before the game. The kids shook hands with Pisa, Draft, Incognito, , Darby, Josh Brown, Trainer Todd Hewitt, in addition to countless waives and high fives. The players i mentioned couldnt have been nicer. Josh Brown had an entire conversation with us. He is a big guy for a kicker. Coach Haslett, Burton and Avery all waived at us. Chris Long was also great and he is a very big musclebound guy as well. Chaveous was super nice. Pisa is pretty small in person. I am sure i am missing some guys, it was really a fantastic time interacting with the players upclose.

    During the game, we got dozens of smiles and waives from the players and i had a nice conversation with Looker regarding my game worn Faulk jersey that i was wearing. After the game, Leonard Little took off one of his shoes and handed it to my kids. THe equipment guy came over the my kids and handed them an actual game ball which was really amazing. We also got a pair of sweatbands. Quite a haul today, a ball, a shoe, a glove and sweatbands.

    You would not believe the size of Steven Jackson up close. We dont have a single linebacker who is as big as Jackson and i am not sure the Falcons do either. Forget what you read about the sizes of these guys, i was standing next to them for four hours and jackson is just a massive moose.

    The defense was great in the first half, caused three turnovers (while we didnt turn it over at all) and got worn down in the second half. I know Turner had a ton of yards, but Ryan was just awful. Even most of his big passes were off target and he missed a number of open receivers. 27 points could have been enough to win, the kickoff return really was the key play in the game.

    The Bad

    The kickoff return right before half killed us. We had just gone 80 plus yards to take a lead and had all the momentum. Allowing both the kickoff return and then the 8 yard run for the td before half was a biblical disaster.

    We really appeared to get torched in the running game in the second half. We had a chance to win the game, but the defense just couldnt hold and we gave up three or more really long runs to Turner, the last of which was effectively the game winner. We have GOT to get better play out of the defense tackles or we just arent going to be a good run defense for a full game.

    The Ugly

    Some of the play calling was just ugly. I loved hasletts aggressiveness on 4th down and the onside kick was a thing of beauty. However, the offsides by Vrboda on the onside kick was ugly in the extreme and inexecusable. We had holt working great on the short passes and we never tried the slants to holt on 3rd or 4th and short that had worked for ten years. With third and two we threw wide to pittman for an incomplete and then got sacked. IF we knew we were going to go on 4th down, why doesnt he just run jackson twice? I was thrilled when we hired saunders. I am not impressed. At least today he put the ball in jackson's hands and rode the horse as far as the Big Boy could take the squad.

    The kickoff coverage before the end of the half deserves mention as ugly, in addition to the aforementioned bad because it was really the critical play in the game.

    I am not sure on this one, but i think we had a better but still not a great game converting td's in the red zone and i think that ultimately cost us the game, along with lousy rush defense in the second half.

    SUMMARY

    To the extent its economically feasible, i can't suggest enough that when the Rams come to where you live, you get as close as you can to behind the Rams bench. There is no TV experience that can ever replicate the interaction with the players. Believe me, from the first row, they hear EXACTLY what you are saying and if you are polite and wearing a Rams jersey, they will respond to you.

    We are probably better off losing and getting the better pick, but i sure would have loved to see them pull this one out. There is NO WAY anyone can criticize the effort today. We played just well enough to lose a tough game on the road to a playoff team, but if we played this well all year, there is no way in the world we would be 2-14. The Jackson injury against Dallas on a meaningless play was in reality the end of our season and it will likely cost Haslett the job as head coach.

    If i can figure out how to do so i will post a great picture my wife got of Incognito picking his nose on the sideline. A perfect summary for the end of one of the worst Rams seasons of all time.

    Ramming speed to all and keep the faith everyone, the Horns live on and we can only get better from here.

    I can't wait for your comments and your bringing me up to speed on the actual stats to see how close my perceptions were to reality.

    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    Last edited by general counsel; -12-28-2008 at 08:32 PM.



  2. #2
    JFMose's Avatar
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    Awesome post.

    You had some sweet seats! Glad that the offense looked great.

    I wish Holt will come back, even though it seems unlikely. He's my favorite player, next to Faulk.

  3. #3
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    I think Greco played good today as well. It would be great if he could step it up and become a good OL starter next year.

  4. #4
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    Great summary as always GC. Seeing the Rams up close is awesome, but how did you get down on the field before the game? That must have been sweet. You hit the nail on the head in regards to S Jax, he is the best and most important player on our team, and we need him healthy if we are to be successful.

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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    glad to hear it went well for you and your family,it's something the girls will never forget,Greco played great today as did the entire o-line,Jackson is a beast and with 30 carries he showed he can carry the load, I saw things today that make me excited about next season already.

  6. #6
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    Thanks GC for the effort all year long. Here come the draft, if we don't figure out a way to stopped the run I don't see alot changing.
    :ramlogo:

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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    Glad you enjoyed the game, the season couldn't have ended any sooner....Let the rebuilding begin.

  8. #8
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    pretty fair post, General Counsel.......but the dome was "loud" on more than just a few occasions.....it was "rockin" in the 4th quarter.

    I did not think Marc Bulger was impressive but he was definitely adequate. Very impressed that your offensive line played well in spite of the noise in the dome - that was very good. Granted Falcons defense is not good but I thought your offensive line looked plenty adequate. With Steven Jackson running so well, I would be OK if I was a Rams fan if you took one of the QBs if you felt them worthy at #2.......

  9. #9
    Mooselini's Avatar
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    Bulger isn't the problem. We have young receivers. Bulger looked much better today and comfortable in the pocket. Next year will be something different.

    I hope this isn't Holt's last season as a Ram. Devaney needs to get things worked out so he can be in Horns next year. He had a wonderful game. Hate it to be the last. We'll be just as sad as he was today. Don't want to see him in anything except HORNS!

    We need a huge upgrade on defense.

    It's the offseason guys. Lets fix this team!

  10. #10
    jkramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    Bulger isn't the problem. We have young receivers. Bulger looked much better today and comfortable in the pocket. Next year will be something different.

    I hope this isn't Holt's last season as a Ram. Devaney needs to get things worked out so he can be in Horns next year. He had a wonderful game. Hate it to be the last. We'll be just as sad as he was today. Don't want to see him in anything except HORNS!

    We need a huge upgrade on defense.

    It's the offseason guys. Lets fix this team!
    I would tend to agree with you but after the Bruce mess last year anything can happen

  11. #11
    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    Wow...I'm all for starting a collection to send GC & his wimmenfolk to every away game next year.

    Not only does he take the time to lovingly craft these great game reports for us but the General Counsellettes seemed to bring out the best in the players as people as well as athletes today, Cogs' boogermining notwithstanding.

    Many thanks GC & I'm so happy that your kids got some great memories and loot, to boot.

    Takes me back to my first games @ The Coliseum as a tyke. Those memories put the blue & gold into my heart forever. Great to hear that it's happening to a new generation.

    A great sign, methinks.

  12. #12
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    Very nice GC. Thanks for sharing. That's great that the players came over and talked to you and your girls and gave them things. It must be quite an experience to be right behind the bench. Those are great seats. It's nice that the Falcons fans were decent to you.

    That was quite a game to go to. Jackson got enough yardage to go over 1000 yards for the 4th year which is good for him. It was good to see Bulger and Holt hooking up again. I sure hope that this is not Holt's last game with the Rams.

    It is nice to get to talk to the players. Rampower and I talked with Henry Ellard this year in St Louis. It looks like the young receivers should continue to develop if they still have Ellard and Holt around next year.

    I expect that we will see many changes this off-season. I am glad they ended the season on a more positive note with three very close losses, as funny as that is to say.

    Please post up your pictures so that we can see them.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  13. #13
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    Looks like you saved the best for last GC, great write up. I did not see you or any other Rams fans for that matter in the stands, which is a first. I guess if they're not going to show up in St. Louis, they're not going to show up in Atlanta. Glad you had a good time, too bad the team didn't reward you with a win.

  14. #14
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    Re: Despite valiant effort, Rams lose 31-27 to Falcons; The Good, the bad and the ugl

    Great post, only bad thing about it is that it will be the last one for a while. Sounds like it was a great experience we all should enjoy at least once in our lives, hopefully next time you go, they'll pull out a win to make it even that muc better. Thanks for the posts, aftger everygame i cant wait to read them.


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