By Jeff Gordon
Sunday, November 11, 2007

CM: Gordo-

I noticed during the Rams first extended drive of the first quarter, even Drew Bennett did the little dive after catching the ball. Why are they all so soft? Why not try to bang some bodies and get more yards? Isn't Bennett a big guy? Why go soft like Bruce and Holt?

Jeff Gordon: All three receivers have played through assorted injuries. If they tried to play like Spartacus, then they wouldn't play many games. I think the Rams will take the 300-plus passing yards playing this way.
---------------------
mwindle: Jeff,

I just watched the Rams, barely 7 minutes into the first qtr., try a run (shovel pass actually) on 3rd and 18. We tried this same strategy - a run on 3rd and 25 - earlier in the season against Tampa Bay. It also failed miserably.

The target on Steven Jackson was huge long before the season started - as soon as he telegraphed "Here I am boys, come get me" with "...2500 yards (this year) is possible."

We need to put the blame where it belongs. It's not the players - it's our alleged "leadership." Mike Martz was bold, not stupid - Greg Olson is just plain stupid.

Gimme a break! It ain't our players - it's our coaches. Linehan is weak, and it's downhill from there in my opinion.

Circulating the internet is this note: "What do you call 47 millionaires sitting around watching the Super Bowl? The Rams of course!"

Jeff Gordon: This was not the week to take these shots. The offense played great, despite the makeshift offensive line, Funny what good health does for the top players . . .
-------------------------
YoMurphy: Hi Gordo,

First half looks good so far. Stephen is playing like he's on ice skates when he rushes. It says something when you notice his best play was a decoy.
Alright, I'll stop being a hater. I think Haslet is looking like a genius today, especially since he said all week that his front four was going to have to get all the pressure, then blitzed like it was going out of style. That clever devil.
My question:
Do you think it was wise to let an entire minute roll off the clock when we had the ball on our 30yrd line? Money had hit a nice 49 yarder earlier, so it seems like it might be worth it to throw some quick outs and try for a fieldgoal.
I guess the second half of the game will answer that question.

Jeff Gordon: You know Linehan -- he really hates turnovers. He didn't like the risk/reward scenario there. As it turned out, the Rams didn't miss the points.
------------------------
rick: Jeff,

With a win today, and a Seattle loss, we are only 3 out of the division lead. With a win against Seattle head to head, hey, ya never know.

Jeff Gordon: I don't see the Rams getting all the way back in this thing -- but I do see them winning some division games down the stretch.
---------------------------
shane gray: Jeff, it feels good to submit some positive comments!

One, look what the boys are capable of when Bulger is given adequate time, when we involve McMichael, with a relatively healthy 39, and secretly incorporating some of the air-martz deep in plays that linehan stubbornly reinserted, just like last year when he waited too long to do so. Looks like the offense linehan must have envisioned, using McMichael, hitting Bennett on the fade TD (without as much running, though).

Jeff Gordon: What I liked today was how Bulger hit Holt heading upfield for a change. They hit some passes into some seams and got nice gains. We saw just how good Marc can be when he gets in sync. Maybe folks will want to pass on a QB in the first round now . . .
-------------------------
shane gray: Jeff, in analyzing next year, I assert that:

if we are to let go of any veterans, the obvious places to start are the declining Glover and Chavous. After this, I am not sure. The only thing I am SURE OF is that Isaac Bruce needs to stay! His cap # is not that high. Look at what he did when we had a relatively healthy line in week 2. Look at him today, especially on that TD catch getting the feet down SOOOO quickly. He isn't close to done. From what I hear, big game is closer to being done, (with the bad knees), than the ever-fit rev. ike. i think people get caught up with bday totals rather than looking at what a guy is doing. he still has amazing quicks, routes, and production per catch.

look for a healthy bruce to catch 70 to 80 balls next year, 14 to 15 per. the guys in his class (harrison, who IS older, owens, galloway (still as fast as anyone), etc. are still going strong. the way ike takes care of himself, it would be a major mistake both in terms of short term success for the team (as we can do some things with a healthy jackson, o-line, and bulger next year) with our improving D. plus, this guy epitomizes the rams and is the original ram. for those reasons and so much more, IKE MUST STAY!

Jeff Gordon: A better finish will help management's view of Ike and Wilkins -- two potential cap casualties if the team finishes horribly. Fans were pretty eager to ditch both guys for younger players for much of this season. Bruce would continue to adjust his contract to stay, so that would help, too,
---------------------------
shane gray: Jeff, this D has promise! We do need to add a pass rusher and a TRUE MLB next year and let the Spoon move outside where he's a pro bowler. (IT HURTS WATCHING HIM GET THOSE 2 SACKS COMING OFF THE EDGE the past two weeks knowing what he could have done if he were there all along.) Anyhow, the interior line looks great with Ryan in particular. Hall is nice on the right side. We must draft or sign an end on the other side, IMO, becuase of Little's uncertain future (for a myriad of reasons).

We also should look to promote D Stanley or draft an early round reciever. Of course, some O-line depth would be nice, especially at tackle with the injury-prone pace and the SLOOOOWW developing Barron. But , if healthy, I think our line this year would have VERY GOOD! We look to be set at corner and pretty nice at OLB positions. Probably could use a safety to go with OJ and if money isn't back, we need a good K., maybe a younger, cheaper one.

Jeff Gordon: Geez, even Brandon Chillar looked like a stud when Haslett hit all those bltiz calls. Even Claude Wroten made a mark in this game. The interior defensive line continues to shine. But, yes, the Rams do need to add another edge rusher to improve the DE rotation.
-------------------------
Scotto: Gordo, what in the name of Robert Delpino is going on here?

Just when you think all hope is lost for this team, they smash the Saints to biscuits.
Is this what could have been had there been a half healthy team on the field this season...or is this just a teaser, a fluke, and the sad sacks we've been treated to thus far the real team?

Jeff Gordon: We do need to remember that the Saints D is not great. Still, it was refreshing to see the Rams get back on the attack with their offense. Jackson makes a difference, true, but how about all those empty-backfield sets? Did Mike Martz phone those in?
------------------------
YoMurphy: I will remove my last question now about Linehan not going for it at the end of the first half. Who would have guessed we could turn out to be the team we read about "on paper" in the preseason in THIS game. On the road, against a good team, wow.
It is as if the big pass catching tight-end and Tall receiver idea was actually being applied today!

Have you seen any Rams defense move that much before the play?
Who were the standouts on that D-line today? The announcers gave a lot of credit to Ryan here and there, but who else? It always seems like a gang tackle situation, (which is good) so it is hard to pick out individuals.
Who the heck is our right guard, and why does he liik like he is 5'2"? Whever he is, he did an ok job today, along with those other no-names on the o-line today.

Did you like how the corners played today, given that they were in man coverage so much? I think Hill needs to make some of those "almost" interceptions on e of these days.
Antonio Pittman? Power back or speed guy? I think M. Jones-drew would not have gotten caught on that long play, but... there I go being negative again.
Go Rams!

Jeff Gordon: As I noted earlier, Claude Wroten showed up for the game and helped create push up the middle on passing downs. Hall, Adeyanju and Johnson did OK at end, but the pass pressure came on blitzes. Pittman isn't a true speed guy, but he had enough burst to get loose on the one run. Interesting to see him in the mix so prominently.
The corners were solid. Can't say that I agreed with the one pass interference call on Fakhir Brown. He nearly got a couple of picks and he made a great break-up in the end zone.
-----------------------
GoneGator: Jeff ya gotta help me! I have no complaints with today's game! Nothing! I don't know how to act!

Seriously though, kudos to both sides of the ball - the "team" played excellent. Heck, even ol' Scott deserves credit today!

Jeff Gordon: We'll pass along your praise . . . Lord knows, he's taken enough abuse from all of us!
--------------------------
Stacey: Gordo,

Can you believe it were gonna win. All hope is not lost. When the defense was laying down in the fourth ,I thought the orders came down to secure that number one pick next year.

Jeff Gordon: They got a little too passive in the pass defense at the end. They needed to keep blitzing and keep pounding on the receivers. The Saints are too good to turn loose. Had the Saints got one of those onside kicks, this game would have got fun at the end.
--------------------------
Mike: Niners next week. I smell a win streak. Can they play well two weeks straight?

Jeff Gordon: The Niners are really bad, so, yes, there is hope for a streak, That was one of the games I figured they would win in the second half.
--------------------------
Stacey: Gordo,
Forgive my sarcasm. Its been a hard year. No injuries. Amazing.

Jeff Gordon: Yeah, how did the Rams get through the game without an offensive lineman suffering a knee injury? Is the curse broken?

Go Rams!!!!!!: Bulger takes a knee........Rams win!!!!! For the first time this season, everyone on offense (- the entire offensice line) was relatively healthy. I hope this is a taste of what the Rams can do next year. This was not a garbage win against a bad team. This was a win against a great offensive team that is fighting it's way back into playoff contention. I'm happy, suprised and impressed. So much for the #1 pick! Gordo, for the first time in a long time, you have a POSTGAME with a victory......enjoy!

Jeff Gordon: This WAS a quality win, since the Saints needed the game to keep their playoff drive alive. New Orleans isn't great on D, but that was still impressive.
-----------------------
Jack J: Gordo,

OUR FIRST WIN!!!!

For three quarters we played great but stumbled a bit allowing Brees to catch up somewhat. I think Haslett may have backed off on his defensive scheme. I just wonder if he thought the score was so lopsided he could get away from it. Anyway do you think we can build on this win?? I think so.

Congrats to the Rams!!!!!!

Jeff Gordon: Many positives, especially on offense. Loved to see the passing game click with longer throws in addition to all the short stuff. All the talent was put into play for a change.
---------------------------
Carlos Galdamez: I am glad the Rams finally won. I am glad too that they did it with so many points. It would be insane to see the Rams win 8 straight and make the playoffs. Wouldnt that make me and all the other knee jerk fans of the season eat crow? This win also reminds people of the promise Linehan showed last season; I almost gave up on him but now I believe that with some more correct free agency and draft picks for the offensive line and defense -and of course, and end to the insane injury curse we have had all season- that the Rams can compete next season with Linehan as a head coach.

Jeff Gordon: It's early to get too excited about next year, but Rams Management will like the way the team responded to this staff.
----------------------------
Ramgal1: Great win for the Rams today! Hats off to everyone, offense, defense, and special teams. If someone finds something to complain about today, they are in need of intensive therapy - immediately.

Jeff Gordon: Well, there was that one long kickoff return . . .
---------------------------
Johnny: If the Rams play the way they did today, I don't see any reason why we can't beat any team that remains on our scehdule. Say we end up just winning 5 out of our last 7... does Linehan leave any room to prove he can be a head coach or is he still gone at the end of the year?

Jeff Gordon: I don't know if there is a number there he has to reach. If the team puts out for Linehan and proves that much of the earlier trouble was more injuries than coaching, that will help. The players still have a chance to save this man -- since the Rams management won't be eager to admit he wasn't the right guy at the right time.
----------------------------
David: I loved the aggressive defensive look in the first half. If I have one criticism it is that they got away from that too much and almost let the Saints come back. However, the Saints were smokin hot and putting up a lot of points on really good defensives so I am proud of the effort today. Seems like a different Bulger with some blocking and Steven Jackson (especially Jackson). I hope the coaches can put together some more wins to justify keeping their jobs. I am almost more of a Haslett fan than Linehan. Nothing against Linehan but I thought Haslett got a bad deal in New Orleans. I think there were definitely mitigating circumstances in his losing season there. Bring on the *****!

Jeff Gordon: Haslett was disappointed when the Saints didn't make a long-term commitment to him after he led the team though the post-Katrina fiasco. So, sure, this win had to feel good -- since he must wonder what he could have done with the players Payton got last year.
-------------------------
Jeff Lange: Hey Gordo, Love reading your chats. You are the best sports analyst in st louis. Any way the question. Am I the only one who thinks the Rams are a totally different team with Steven Jackson in the game. When he is in the lineup we are a lot better team. Albeit that we played two team with no defenses but they now have to respect the run with Jackson in there. What do you think our record will be for the second half of the season. Thanks.

Jeff Gordon: I think this team can go 5-3 in the second half, after seeing this effort. Their NFC West rivals are scuffling.Adding Todd Steussie in two weeks will really help the O-line.
---------------------------
Mark Williams: Congratulations! The best thing to happen to the Rams and their fans all year--a win!

Since I wrote when they lost, I had to write now that there is FINALLY a win...

...And, since this is still tit for tat: Do you think this win will save Linehan's job?

Jeff Gordon: Seeing the Rams rally make make his bosses smile. But they will need to see lots more of this to commit past this year. The Linehan Regime is just 9-16, so it's tough to get too excited after one victory.
------------------------
Nick: Gordo,

Love the result, but am a little concerned that the Rams could decisively snuff out the Saints in the fourth quarter. Is there anyway they can bring about the killer instinct that the Pats exhibit every week?

P.S. Great game by Antonio Pittman, maybe they can find more ways to exploit his strengths

Jeff Gordon: It's just to fault a team that got 27 points ahead. But if Haslett had to do it over again, he would have called more blitzes. New Orleans is too good to sit back on. Brees quit missing.
----------------------------
BobJMc13: Man o' Man. You know, it was exciting and fairly well-played. And my favorite whipping boy, Mark Bulger, was accurate and only threw one ball on the back hip of the receiver (to Bruce on the goal line...but Rams scored anyway on a running play). Good to see Jackson play well.

Got dicey at the end, but...dare I say...go 6-2 the last 8 games and maybe Linehan keeps his job....if he makes some significant changes in pre-season approach, opens up the offense, and develops some back-up linemen.

Buy a tough middle linebacker, draft a super-fast receiver, a few picks on offensive linemen, and get Orlando healty...whaddya think? Win the weak NFC West next year?

Jeff Gordon: I'd want to add another hitter at safety for next year, too, before making parade plans. You're right about the MLB, WR and OL. As I noted earlier, another edge rusher would be nice as well. But there are some pieces to retool with here.
---------------------
Ken: Hey Jeff,

Great game. It was a real fun one to watch. Anyways why in the 4th quarter is Jackson running out of bounds? Why didn't anyone slap him on the helmet and tell him to stay in bounds keeping that clock moving

Jeff Gordon: I'm sure that is just instinct. He figured moving the sticks would be enough there. The team needed to work the clock a lot harder than they did.
--------------------------
ColoradoRamsFan: Welcome Back Steven Jackson! It's amazing how diverse the play calling can get with a healthy #39. Also, the Offensive and Defensive lines deserve a ton of credit this week as well. I haven't seen the defense play this well since the Denver game last season, although it got a little interesting in the end.

Jeff Gordon: I know the New Orleans defensive front was depleted, but I can't believe that makeshift line played that well. It allowed Olson and Linehan to empty the backfield and attack for a change.
----------------------------
Mike: so, which one are the REAL Rams?

Jeff Gordon: This was a good indicator, The end got dicey, so we're reminded that nothing comes easily for this group.But, yes, those were the skill players we expected to see all season. McMichael and Bennett finally had some fun.
---------------------------
jjg: Do you think better prep work during and the extra days to prepare from the bye made the difference?

Jeff Gordon: That break allowed Bulger, Jackson, Holt, Bruce,. Bennett, et al to get healthier. That had to be the biggest thing -- along with the mental break for everybody.
------------------------------
Bill: Great game today. A little nerve-racking at the end, especially when their kicker nailed 2 perfect on-side kicks. I think we are going to be a team that no prospective playoff team wants to play at the end of the season. I hope they keep flying around and having fun out there. How about the Rams using the full arsenal, hey? Holt, Bruce, McMichael, Bennett, Jackson, even Pittman.

Jeff Gordon: Four players split wide -- who knew Linehan would go there as often as he did in this game? This aggression had to jack up Bulger. Finally, it felt like the good old days out there.
-------------------------
mark: All I can say is HOT DAM!!!! What role do you see Pittman playing in the future with the Rams?? Looks like Bulger and the boys finally are on the same page, is this the turning point or are the Saints just bad??

Jeff Gordon: Pittman is a legit player. What a gift from the Saints? He and Leonard do different things, so both can back up Jackson. They are a step up from where this team was in recent years.

With the victory, there isn't so much activity this week. So we bid farewell!
----------------------
ben: NOTE;NO INJURY'S NO TURNOVERS= WIN "NICE"

Jeff Gordon: Indeed. Clean game, no gurneys -- what is going on here!