Everybody Loves Raymond as much as I did? I mean, that's what I had to switch the channel to after a while. I kept flipping back, hoping that by not watching the game it might spark a big play. I tried all the superstitions I could think of.
But, my fears were realized and I got to relive the embarrassment of being completely outclassed in the playoffs. In this age of parity, I assumed, gone were the days of the Rams being throttled by someone in the postseason. Anyone remember having to go against the likes of the Niners, Redskins or Bears? I had that same exact feeling today as I watched a one-dimensional offense spank the Rams' defense like a red-headed, step child.
Just like the 80's, all I could think was: "what the hell are the Rams even doing in the playoffs?". How can a final four(NFC) team be so outclassed? It's pointless to even go into detail about all the same old issues the Rams have had the past three or four years. Has anything changed since 2000? Have any of the team's weaknesses been improved since then? After giving up, what was it, 270 yards against Carolina last year the Rams and Martz focused on bringing in a running back. That worked out well.
Speaking of running backs, why exactly did Marshall earn so much pine time? He started off the game well, established enough of a threat to enable play action to be effective and then...hit the bench! I thought Martz like to keep running something until it didn't work? And, I'm sorry but I'll be damned if I'm going to be happy about being force-fed Eli Ma--uh, Steven Jackson just to justify or prove how smart of a pick he was. At least Faulk can convert a third and one or catch a freakin' swing pass.
I guess this is better than in 2000 or 2001 when I thought the team going in, should actually win in spite of their faults, but I can't say that this game did anything other than add to the block of memory that I keep tucked deep inside my brain. Just like those late 80's teams under John Robinson, I now have a 21st century edition to block out. Even last year's playoff loss was something that I could go back and re-examine. Although disappointing, it was somewhat respectable. But, maybe...just, maybe this will force the Rams to make some significant changes. I don't know which one's they need to make to accomplish it, but obviously special teams and defense are what need to be addressed. Just like in 2000, 2002 and 2003. But at least the high powered offense that carries us put up 17 points. That makes all the neglect of personnel and units that comprise 2/3 of a team worth it.
Just to add to the insult/injury theme, is Marc Bulger's injury plagued career now starting? It takes about three years in Martz's offense to show the limitations of the human body doesn't it? Just like other qb's the Rams have had, he hasn't played a full season injury free for three years straight. Some effects of the punishment he took yesterday are of the more permanent variety (broken bone in his hand? I don't know what happened to his hip/leg). How long before he's missing even more significant playing time? 2002-2 games missed due to injury. 2003-only missed a half but took some beatings. 2004-missed almost three games due to shoulder. It's going to start adding up folks. Is it just bad luck or is there a reason the Rams have lost three starting qb's to injury since 1999? That's not including all the backups that have gone down as well. The one position that should be a source of stability for someone as in love with qb's as Mike Martz, is in a constant state of flux.
Ch-ch-ch-chaaanges should be the theme song around here.