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Latest stinker leaves fans bewildered by the Rams
By Bryan Burwell
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Oct. 09 2005
At the end of this ignominious afternoon, the sad and exasperated faces of a
dispirited Rams world barely had enough spunk to work up an old-fashioned
leather-lunged ruckus. The afternoon had been filled with plenty of that
already, dipping wildly among anger, disgust, false hope and despair from every
corner of the Edward Jones Dome as recurring football horrors continued to
flash before their eyes.
Yet when the scoreboard clock had mercifully ticked off the final seconds of
this 37-31 spanking by the Seattle Seahawks, the few folks who had bothered to
stick it out until the bitter end looked too dazed to do much of anything
except slump in their seats.
That seems about right, now doesn't it? That's what this Rams season has really
come to - just a lot of long, exasperated wheezing and flummoxed hand gestures
because of the frustrations involved in trying to dissect this clunker of a
game and season.
Do we begin to evaluate the collapse of this ballgame with punter Reggie
Hodges' five wobbling, wounded ducks that averaged only 33 yards and gave the
Seahawks a short field to work with every time? Do we regard the 20 points his
poor punting helped put on the board for Seattle as the problem or simply a
symptom of the problem?
Maybe we should harp on the defensive coordinator, who continues to display
some of the slowest coaching reflexes in the history of modern football. How
can we ignore Larry Marmie's unbelievably pedestrian reaction to discovering
that Seattle wanted to throw the ball? Can you imagine how long it must have
taken for Seattle's Mike Holmgren to decide - gasp and swoon - that maybe he
ought to pass against these guys after watching footage of the Rams' debacle in
Should we dwell on the punt returner and well-conditioned professional athlete
who was so exhausted after running up and down the field on three consecutive
plays at cornerback - elapsed time: 11 seconds!!! - he couldn't find the
strength to be on the field for the most important punt return of the game?
Special teams coach Bob Ligashesky was so totally aghast after Terry Fair
walked off the field and told Shaun McDonald to take his place with 2:51
remaining (only to see McDonald fumble the ball, essentially ending whatever
comeback the Rams offense might have had up its sleeve), that as he stood in
the middle of the locker room surrounded by reporters, his lower lip almost
trembled as he fought to restrain his emotions.
"All I can tell you is that wasn't supposed to happen," Ligashesky said.
"(Fair) should have been in the game."
Or perhaps it would be easier to ponder the biggest mystery since Rubik's cube:
the relevance of Rams safeties, who are either physically overmatched or
mentally out to lunch (or both?), and neither prospect makes any of us happy.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Seattle receivers kept running these
drag routes across the middle of the field, and the Rams safeties acted as if
they'd never seen it before. The only thing missing from the parade of Seattle
receivers, tight ends and running backs who kept slipping in underneath the
coverage on these delayed patterns was, of course ... THE RAMS SECONDARY!!!
These weren't just bad coverages. This wasn't as if Ram safeties were
physically incapable of pursuing a stable of whippet wide outs who were Jerry
Rice clones. Joe Jurevicius is not Don Hutson, although he played him on TV
yesterday (nine catches, 137 yards, one TD). And neither were the seven other
"who's he?" receivers, such as D.J. Hackett, Jerramy Stevens, Ryan Hannam and
Jerheme Urban, who ate up the secondary.
These were unsightly, incomprehensible blown coverages by safeties who had no
idea what they were doing.
Ahh, but it only gets better, because they couldn't stop the run either. This
is the recurring nightmare that just won't end. These weekly gash-and-slash
exhibitions from every running back who steps onto the field have become so
commonplace that it's a wonder Shaun Alexander didn't hurt himself laughing as
he galloped for some of the easiest 119 yards you'll ever see.
What makes this so hard to stomach is that it isn't a full-scale breakdown by
the entire roster. It's always a little thing here or there. One guy who should
be here, but he's over there. I don't mean sometimes. I don't mean
occasionally. I don't even mean frequently.
I mean ALWAYS.
That has to stop.
"We didn't play as well as we could have," said quarterback Marc Bulger. "But
we've been saying that a lot this year. If we keep saying it, we're going to
end up 2-14."
Re: Latest stinker leaves fans bewildered by the Rams
The defense needs help. Shaw/Zygmut/Armey, DO FRICKING SOMETHING. Get behind Martz or get the heck out.