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[PD]: Rams suffer near-total breakdown against Chiefs
Rams suffer near-total breakdown against Chiefs
By Jeff Gordon
POST-DISPATCH ONLINE SPORTS COLUMNIST
The Rams knew what was coming.
They knew the Chiefs would pound at their defense with running back . They knew the Chiefs would try to create mismatches with tight end in man-to-man coverage.
They knew this because the whole world knew this. And yet the Rams couldn't Johnson, Gonzalez or any other Chief during their dispiriting 31-17 loss at the Edward Jones Dome.
What a catastrophe! The Rams, 4-4, suffered a near-total defensive breakdown on their own field.
Johnson ran for 172 yards and a touchdown. Gonzalez caught five passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns.
What's wrong with Jim Haslett's defense?
"We played tight," suggested middle linebacker Will Witherspoon.
"We are making mistakes," defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy said.
"They caused more turnovers than we did," cornerback Travis Fisher said.
"We've just go to play disciplined, that's what run defense is all about," defensive end Leonard Little said.
"We were trying to trying to stop them," safety Corey Chavous said. "We didn't."
The Rams offense contributed to the misery, with and coughing up costly fumbles. Punt returner muffed a fair catch.
And a disputed pass interference penalty called against was virtually a third turnover, since it took the Rams out of scoring range and forced them to punt.
"There are calls that go for you and against you – and in this case it went against us pretty significant at that point," Rams coach Scott Linehan said.
But, he added, "we made too many mistakes in this game to win this game."
Those mishaps undermined Bulger's 354 yards passing and Jackson's combined 219 yards rushing and receiving. The Rams move the ball all day, but couldn't outscore their mistakes and the miserable defense.
Now the Rams head out on the road to Seattle and Carolina. Remember when this team looked like a playoff contender?
It doesn't look like one anymore.
The Chiefs simply pounded the Rams in the first half, rolling to 17-0 and 24-7 before settling for their 24-10 halftime edge.
The Rams battled back gamely. "We knew we were going to have to score on every drive," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We didn't do it, we couldn't stop them and we got beat in all three phases of the game."
They did appear to be marching toward the potential tying score when the Bruce interference call was made. Then Kansas City clinched the victory with a 94-yard touchdown drive.
That painful sequence underscored all that is wrong with the Rams defense at the midway point of the season. The Rams knew what was coming . . . and they couldn't do anything about it.
"I wouldn't call it a downward spiral," Linehan said. "I would say we have taken three steps back. We played three pretty good teams and that factors into it. We just haven't played well enough.
"Certainly the run defense needs to get better, but there are a lot of areas we need to shore up."
On that we couldn't agree more.
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Re: [PD]: Rams suffer near-total breakdown against Chiefs
Talk about stating the obvious. The defense is the issue and we all know it.
We all knew KC was coming in with 1 of the top RB's in the game. Did we game plan for that guy ??? For crying out loud Linehan/Haslett go back and watch the Superbowl between the Rams and the Pats. The friggin' Patriots smashed, held and raped Marshall the whole game. Think that might have worked versus Larry Johnson ??? I'm not sure but isn't that called keying on a certain player??:x
Re: [PD]: Rams suffer near-total breakdown against ChiefsNow the Rams head out on the road to Seattle and Carolina. Remember when this team looked like a playoff contender?
It doesn't look like one anymore.