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Goal-line failures cost Rams 11 points and a win
By Bill Coats 11/26/2007 7:38 pm
A day later, the Rams’ brain trust offered no coherent explanation for their goal-line failures Sunday in the 24-19 loss to the Seahawks. To review:
Leading 16-7, the Rams had a first down at the Seattle 1-yard line midway though the second quarter. On the first snap, running back Steven Jackson was stopped for no gain off left tackle. On second down, he lost 4 yards on a pitch in which the Rams had “a little miscommunication,” according to offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
Before the third-down play, the Rams inexplicably took a delay-of-game penalty when backup quarterback Gus Frerotte, in for the injured Marc Bulger, took far too long to size up the defensive alignment. On third down, Frerotte’s pass for Isaac Bruce was incomplete.
Jeff Wilkins’ field goal made it 19-7, but a shot at a 23-7 bulge was frittered away.
The game’s final series began with 1:03 to go, Seattle up by 5 points, and the Rams, who had two timeouts left, with a first down at the Seahawks 4. On Monday, Olson noted that “when you look at (Jackson’s) statistics from a year ago, he was the best in the league in short-yardage situations.”
But perhaps skittish after the second-quarter breakdown, Linehan called passes on the first two plays that moved the ball only to the 2. Jackson got a yard on third down, and then Frerotte fumbled away the snap and the last hope on fourth down.
Why not give the ball to Jackson from the get-go?
“We figured if we missed on two shots in the pass game, once we got the 2 (yards) that we had two chances to score with the timeout and the option of running the ball,” Linehan said. “The feeling was, being that Steven was playing and almost in (the end zone on third down), we were going to run an off-tackle power play. We never got the exchange. It doesn’t guarantee we would have scored, but I would have liked to have seen whether we could have gotten it in.”
When asked the same question, Olson gave a rambling response that didn’t really address the issue.
In any case, the Rams could’ve earned 14 points on those two sequences, and wound up with three. And they could’ve had a victory, and wound up with yet another wrenching loss.
If Bulger, who suffered a concussion, isn’t cleared to play this week, Frerotte would be the starting quarterback with . . . who backing him up?
“I don’t know right now,” Linehan said. “If we get to that point I’ll let you know by Wednesday or Thursday. Brock Berlin is on our roster as a practice-squad player, so that’s one possibility for sure.”
Brock Berlin? Do you think anyone at Rams Park regrets trading Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Bengals for a seventh-round draft pick just before the season started?
Notes & quotes:
>>The Rams have been effective using three-man fronts, with a linebacker deployed as a rush end. But defensive coordinator Jim Haslett insists that’s a situational scheme and not a precursor for a switch to a 3-4 next season.
>>It appeared as if the Rams got a bad spot on Jackson’s third-down run in the last series. The ball was placed at the 1; it looked as if it should’ve been at least a half-yard closer.
>>After picking off a pass about 5 yards deep in the end zone, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe decided to run it out. He got to the 8-yard line; if he’d just taken a knee, the ball would’ve gone to the 20. “I don’t know what the hell he was thinking about,” Haslett said. “Obviously, he heard about it when he came to the sideline. It was just a poor decision.”
>>LB Pisa Tinoisamoa, who tore the MCL in his left knee, probably is done for the year. Chris Draft takes over on the weakside.
All for now. . .
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