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  1. #1
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    Missed Opportunities Cost Rams

    Missed Opportunities Cost Rams
    By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
    Posted 9 hours ago

    It is the very nature of a closely contested NFL game that it will ultimately be decided by a play or two here and there.

    The team that makes those plays walks away with a win and the team that doesn’t comes up short.

    On Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome as the Rams and Cardinals opened the 2010 regular season, it was the Rams that were on the short end of that proposition as a series of small missed opportunities ultimately led to one big one.

    “There are a couple of plays in there you have got to make if you are going to win a close football game like that,” Spagnuolo said. “I think we are headed in the right direction, doing the right things and guys are doing what they are supposed to. We just have to make a play. The only thing we didn’t get today was the reward.”

    While the Rams didn’t get that reward and fell to 0-1 on the season, it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort. In fact, the Rams came up time and time again with enough plays to put themselves in position to get a victory.

    What wasn’t there was that extra yard, that extra catch, that extra takeaway that could have ultimately sealed the deal.

    There was, perhaps, no play more indicative of that than defensive tackle Clifton Ryan’s fumble in the third quarter.

    With the Rams holding a 13-10 lead and 7:02 to go in the quarter, defensive end C.J. Ah You burst around left end and hit Arizona quarterback Derek Anderson, forcing a fumble. Ryan scooped it up at Arizona’s 23 and chugged toward the goal line with nothing but green turf in front of him.

    As Ryan approached the goal line, Arizona receiver Steve Breaston cam darting in from behind and stripped Ryan at the 5. Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

    “I don’t know what you do about that,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s a big guy and he usually doesn’t have the ball in his hands…we’ll learn from that and next time it happens to Cliff or anybody else, they’ll squeeze that football, make sure they get in. But that’s a big missed opportunity. Big, big, big.”

    Instead of a 20-10 lead for the Rams, Arizona simply restarted its drive at the 20 trailing by three.

    “It feels bad, especially when I had a chance to turn the game around,” Ryan said. “Steve made a great play. At the end of the day, you have to give him credit.”

    Of course, that near miss was far from the only one that could cause some sleepless nights for the Rams on Sunday night.

    Ironically, it was another chance created by a defensive fumble recovery that ultimately didn’t pan out.

    Arizona took the opening drive and marched deep into Rams territory when safety Oshiomogho Atogwe jarred the ball away from Cardinals running back Tim Hightower at the Rams’ 21.

    Cornerback Bradley Fletcher scooped it up and returned it to Arizona’s 32. Three plays later, the Rams lined up for a 34-yard field goal attempt for kicker Josh Brown.

    Arizona safety Adrian Wilson came through untouched and blocked Brown’s kick, causing the Rams to come away with no points from another good opportunity.

    “The sad part of it is if we don’t get that field goal blocked, it’s a 17-16 game,” Spagnuolo said. “We’re down there in field goal range; it’s a whole different deal (at the end). So something as small as protecting the field goal kicker in a game is really, really important. It comes back to haunt you.”

    That the Rams were unable to capitalize on those chances only hurts worse considering the effort that was put forth the rest of the time. And in spite of those miscues, the Rams still found themselves in position to come away with a win in the closing moments.

    Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford had battled the entire game and found a way to move the ball into Arizona territory late in the game.

    On fourth-and-10 at Arizona’s 21 with 1:47 to play, Bradford was intercepted by Arizona safety Kerry Rhodes. But the ever resilient Rams came up with a forced fumble from Larry Grant and recovery by safety Craig Dahl.

    That gave Bradford a chance to earn overwhelming love from the Rams faithful by executing a final, game winning drive with the Rams trailing 17-13.

    Armed with three timeouts and a minute and 21 seconds to play, the Rams needed to go 76 yards. Bradford says he had never had to engineer a late drive to win a game but the Rams certainly showed the fight of a team that was going to find a way to win.

    “At the end there, I was looking for, like you all were, I was hopeful that this was going to be the first game he was going to run a two-minute drill and we were going to win the football game,” Spagnuolo said.

    The Rams marched into Arizona territory again, this time penetrating as far as Arizona’s 36. Bradford threw a last gasp hail mary as time expired that was intercepted by Wilson to end it.

    Had the Rams been able to pull off that final drive, it would have been a fitting way to bookend the game as in the first half the Rams found a way to breakthrough for a touchdown on a perfectly executed two-minute drill.

    Trailing 10-3, the Rams marched to Arizona’s 1 where they had a fourth down and enough time for one more play in the half.

    The Rams put their faith in Bradford, who rolled to the right, waited patiently for Laurent Robinson to come clear and throw a strike on the move for a touchdown to tie it at 10.

    In the end, the Rams’ resolve wasn’t quite enough to get the desired result but if nothing else, they walked away with the knowledge that they were a couple of plays – plays that can definitely be made – away from a breakthrough.

    “There’s going to be things in there when we watch it where we’re going to say ‘Hey, if we could have just done this, we would have won the football game,’” Spagnuolo said. “But, that’s the NFL.”

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  2. #2
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    Re: Missed Opportunities Cost Rams

    We better make these plays next week in oakland or they will beat us too!!!!

  3. #3
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Missed Opportunities Cost Rams

    Article is 100% on the money. It's exactly what I said in another thread. Three or four plays a game spell the difference between winning and losing. Good teams take advantage of miscues and make the opposition pay. Bartell not picking that ball and Clifton Ryan not holding onto a sure TD cost us dearly and made the difference.

  4. #4
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    Re: Missed Opportunities Cost Rams

    “The sad part of it is if we don’t get that field goal blocked, it’s a 17-16 game,” Spagnuolo said. “We’re down there in field goal range; it’s a whole different deal (at the end). So something as small as protecting the field goal kicker in a game is really, really important. It comes back to haunt you.”
    If you have this game on DVR it's worth looking at again. It is a really bad breakdown on the protection. The Rams lined up with gaps on both ends. I'm certain that is not the proper way to line up. Wilson was able to just run right through that gap.

    That's not pro level. Bush league protection there. Bad coaching, very bad. That game changer is on coaching as much or more than execution. Tsk, Tsk, Spags!


    As Ryan approached the goal line, Arizona receiver Steve Breaston cam darting in from behind and stripped Ryan at the 5. Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

    “I don’t know what you do about that,” Spagnuolo said.
    I'll tell you what you do....You have someone looking for Breaston and when they see him - have them knock his head off. You need to help the guy score. Block all the way, don't stop, because Breaston sure didn't stop.

    Again if you have this game on DVR look at the fumble return by Fletcher in the first half. The reason he does not score....Breaston.

    Breaston comes from way back and makes the tackle and takes the same swipe at the ball. He just misses the ball with the swipe, but still gets the tackle. And he could have been blocked on that play.

    You'd think they would have learned something from the first half. You can bet other teams will learn. If you get a turnover and a runback on AZ have the nearby defenders looking for Breaston and knock his arse down.



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    Re: Missed Opportunities Cost Rams

    Yes we lost and the cliche' is that we should have won. Really we should have won this game!

    If I would have changed anything other than the obvious....more Jackson and less Bradford throwing the ball.

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    Re: Missed Opportunities Cost Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferter View Post
    If you have this game on DVR it's worth looking at again. It is a really bad breakdown on the protection. The Rams lined up with gaps on both ends. I'm certain that is not the proper way to line up. Wilson was able to just run right through that gap.

    That's not pro level. Bush league protection there. Bad coaching, very bad. That game changer is on coaching as much or more than execution. Tsk, Tsk, Spags!


    I'll tell you what you do....You have someone looking for Breaston and when they see him - have them knock his head off. You need to help the guy score. Block all the way, don't stop, because Breaston sure didn't stop.

    Again if you have this game on DVR look at the fumble return by Fletcher in the first half. The reason he does not score....Breaston.

    Breaston comes from way back and makes the tackle and takes the same swipe at the ball. He just misses the ball with the swipe, but still gets the tackle. And he could have been blocked on that play.

    You'd think they would have learned something from the first half. You can bet other teams will learn. If you get a turnover and a runback on AZ have the nearby defenders looking for Breaston and knock his arse down.



    You mean, the same thing they taught us in Junior High?

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