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Era for Rams closes with embarrassing loss to Arizona
By Jeff Gordon
ONLINE SPORTS COLUMNIST
An amazing era of Rams football ended ignominiously Sunday afternoon at the Edward Jones Dome. What a sad spectacle it was.
The man who starred on the best of those teams, Kurt Warner, helped finish them off. He led the Arizona Cardinals to a stunning 38-28 victory over the Rams.
We figured he would have a big game back at The Ed, but never could we have imagined Warner could lead the hapless, injury-battered Gridbirds over the Rams at The Ed. In a season featuring many lows, this was finally rock bottom.
“A very disappointing afternoon for our football team,” interim Rams coach Joe Vitt said.
Disappointing doesn’t begin to cover it, Joe. Bill Bidwill owns the Gridbirds. He is the man who took the NFL away from St. Louis, because our town’s Powers That Were wanted nothing to do with him and his losing team.
The Gridbirds were 2-7 this season. Two and seven! A former Rams hero quarterbacked this team, a couple years after this franchise gave him up for dead.
Tthe Rams could NOT lose this game. They knew coming in that there would be no recovering from a defeat. Failure in this game would be fatal to their postseason hopes.
They understood just how high the stakes were . . . and still they rolled over on their own field. Their performance was a complete embarrassment. There is no way to sugarcoat such a fiasco.
So like we said, it’s over.
That loss drops the Rams to 4-6, virtually ending their playoff hopes. Quarterback Marc Bulger aggravated his shoulder injury, further dooming this once powerful team in ’05.
Head coach Mike Martz, the architect of one of the NFL’s all-time offenses, will finish out the season on medical leave and then pursue coaching opportunities elsewhere. Barring a change of heart among top Rams executives, Mad Mike is finished here.
The Rams will just be playing the string now, playing for pride in the final six games of the season while wondering what the future might bring.
We presume the next coach will overhaul the defense, install a whole new system and bring in a fresh set of assistant coaches to teach. The turnover could be massive, all the way across the board.
We like Vitt, but this loss finished him as a legitimate candidate to become the franchise’s next head coach. He is the linebacker coach and the Rams linebackers stink.
Vitt had a hand in bringing free agents Chris Claiborne and Dexter Coakley here. He has played a major role in developing Pisa Tinoisamoa and Brandon Chillar, too.
None of these guys are playing winning football. Vitt tried to claim the defense didn’t play poorly until the end of this game.
“For the most part,” Vitt said, “we kind of did our job on defense.”
No you didn’t. The Gridbirds have an awful ground game and yet they ran on the Rams. A tight end named Adam Bergen made huge plays right in the middle of the “D.”
The Rams knew that Warner was vulnerable in the pocket, given his lack of mobility and tendency to hang onto the ball too long. Other than one early fumble, though, the Rams didn’t force him to spit up the ball.
So much went wrong for the Rams in this game. They couldn’t run the ball. The offensive line opened up nothing for running back Steven Jackson.
The officials flagged the Rams for a variety of untimely infractions. The special teams chipped in by allowing a 90-yard kickoff return at the critical juncture of the game.
Once again, the sloppiness of the Rams’ play was galling.
“We keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” Vitt said. “We keep self-destructing.”
That’s why we know that it is over, o-v-e-r. The team cannot survive as is. The men running this franchise must hit the restart button and create a new team and a new atmosphere at Rams Park.
Re: Era for Rams closes with embarrassing loss to ArizonaIn a season featuring many lows, this was finally rock bottom.
We're going to hear more and more stories of frustration out of this locker room over the next few weeks. I've been saying it for 2 weeks now and I will say it again.......4-12 is a very real possibility that we need to prepare ourselves for now.
Re: Era for Rams closes with embarrassing loss to ArizonaOriginally Posted by RamWraith