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  1. #1
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    Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Rams Get Win in Cleveland
    Sunday, August 22, 2010
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    CLEVELAND – Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo made it clear what he wanted to see from in his team’s second preseason game.

    Asked Thursday afternoon what he hoped to get out of the game against the Browns, Spagnuolo immediately mentioned that he wanted his team to get off to a fast start in Cleveland.

    And the Rams gave him exactly what he wanted in putting together a strong first quarter and finishing with a flourish on the way to a 19-17 win at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Saturday night.

    “It was good to see the team come out strong early like we talked about,” Spagnuolo said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a preseason game or not when they keep score and you win, that’s a good thing so I think the team feels good about that.”

    The Rams improved to 1-1 on the exhibition slate while the Browns fell to the same mark.

    One week after the Rams offense failed to put any points on the board in the opener against Minnesota, they wasted no time in marching down the field and punching it in with a little help from a familiar face.

    After the Browns won the toss and elected to receive, the Rams top defense picked up where it left off against the Vikings.

    In the wet and rainy conditions in Cleveland, the Browns had trouble handling the ball and the defense came up with a quick three and out to get the ball into the hands of quarterback A.J. Feeley and the offense.

    Against Minnesota, the offense struggled with pass protection, allowing six sacks and failed to find a rhythm.

    Feeley wasted no time finding his, hitting tight end Billy Bajema for a gain of 16 on the first play from scrimmage. Running back Steven Jackson, in his first work of the preseason, burst up the middle for 11 yards on the next play.

    With Jackson in the backfield and an offensive line with the five projected starters in place for the first time, the Rams confidence soared before they even stepped on the field.

    “That’s the kind of boost…that’s what he is,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s one of the best players on our football team and to have him out there, I think the offensive line feels better about it, I think the quarterback does, I mean everybody does. We certainly look forward to having him.”

    Suddenly, the Rams had some rhythm and Feeley continued to spread the ball around, finishing the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Fells on third down.

    The score gave the Rams a 7-0 lead on a drive that covered 65 yards on 10 plays in a little more than five minutes.

    It was the type of drive that clearly increased the confidence of the offense across the board. Feeley was five-of-six for 45 yards with the touchdown and Jackson racked up 20 yards on four carries.

    The news wasn’t all good as Feeley injured his right thumb and elbow midway through the series and had to leave the game.

    Feeley said after the game his X rays came back negative and he was confident he’d be able to play next week against the Patriots.

    “On the first drive, I liked the tempo,” Feeley said. “I wanted to finish the first quarter but with the injury I couldn’t. I think we’re getting better, which is what you want to do in the preseason. We hope to build on that and continue to improve. We’re showing improvement. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re headed in the right direction.”

    Meanwhile, the first defensive unit continued to have the success it did last week. On the Browns’ second possession, the defense didn’t even wait for three downs to get the ball back to the offense.

    This time, Cleveland quarterback Jake Delhomme again had trouble handling a snap and lost the ball. Defensive tackle Fred Robbins recovered at the Browns’ 24 to set up a 32-yard field goal from kicker Josh Brown.

    The defense followed with another three and out as Robbins came up with a sack on third down to again get it back for the offense.

    All told, in the first quarter, the Rams defense came up with two three and outs, a fumble recovery and a sack in holding Cleveland to 50 yards of offense. The Browns didn’t get their first first down until there were 42 seconds left in the opening quarter.

    For the game as a whole, the Rams allowed just 98 yards on 27 carries, an average of 3.6 per attempt and finished with four sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

    “It felt good, just coming out and trying to improve from last week,” Robbins said. “We did some good things last week, but we had a lot of little mistakes we had to clean up. That was our focus today, to come out and play hard, eliminate some of our mistakes and play our football.”

    As for rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, his night was a bit more interesting. Bradford acknowledged earlier in the week that one area he wanted to improve against the Browns was in the center exchange.

    Of course, that was tested further with the addition of the slippery outdoor conditions in Cleveland on Saturday night. But after one bobble early in his time, Bradford was able to improve and handle the ball clean the rest of the night.

    Bradford played about the same amount of snaps as he did last week and finished his night six-of-14 for 24 yards.

    “Obviously, I would have liked to have had some more completions out there tonight,” Bradford said. “I felt like I struggled a bit early but once I settled down, I made some smart decisions and for the most part I was in the right place with the ball.”

    While the Rams got off to a hot start on offense and defense, their special teams might have made the biggest difference of all. In addition to the two fumble recoveries the punt team came up with, kicker Josh Brown nailed four field goals to provide the bulk of the offense.

    Brown, who has been limited or missed practice for most of the past week and a half with a sore hip, opted to play this week after missing last week’s game.

    Brown was busy right away, kicking an extra point and two field goals in the first quarter alone, not to mention four kickoffs.

    But Brown made the most of his chances and booted a 28-yard field goal in the closing minutes to secure the win.

    “He was ready to go,” Spagnuolo said. “I thought maybe we would have to limit the area we kick field goals but he said ‘Coach, I am fine” at the beginning of the game.”

    The Rams have a short turnaround this week, getting back to action on Thursday night when they travel to New England to play the Patriots.


  2. #2
    lordwhttgr's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Whooo hooo, we won. Well now that that is over with, I liked the way we came out and played good in the first quarter. It shows we can handle a mediocre team. I just don't see the browns as any good this year. So that being said, I wish our 87 million dollar man would show up and play. I got it, it rained. But it is time he threw down the field and hit some recievers for some big gains. So the critics will shut up. It was not all bad as Bobby the chainsaw Carpenter got a pick on a real good defensinve stand. I was happy to see that. We may have some D this year after all, if we can pass defend in the backfield.

    Well untill I can get back in the states,,,GO RAMS

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Quote Originally Posted by lordwhttgr View Post
    Whooo hooo, we won. Well now that that is over with, I liked the way we came out and played good in the first quarter. It shows we can handle a mediocre team. I just don't see the browns as any good this year. So that being said, I wish our 87 million dollar man would show up and play. I got it, it rained. But it is time he threw down the field and hit some recievers for some big gains. So the critics will shut up. It was not all bad as Bobby the chainsaw Carpenter got a pick on a real good defensinve stand. I was happy to see that. We may have some D this year after all, if we can pass defend in the backfield.

    Well untill I can get back in the states,,,GO RAMS
    We'll see what he does Thursday, if Murmer lets him.

    Stay safe, dude.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

  4. #4
    gap's Avatar
    gap
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    The one thing that I liked about this game was that we won in spite of the officials doing almost everything they can to make sure we wouldn't.

    That reminds me of the 99 season. In almost all of those games the officials did all they could to help our opponents win, and they only succeeded on three of them.

    Loss 1: roughing the kicker flag picked up to keep us from having first and goal after a rare Wilkins miss.
    Loss 2: Game winning TD was one of the most flagrant push off a Lions WR has ever gotten away with.
    Loss 3: Can't remember a specific penalty called or ignored, but the starters rested because we didn't have to win the game. Even then we almost won the game. Had we been playing for 16-0, the Beagles get blown out by the GSOT.


    gap

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Quote Originally Posted by gap View Post
    The one thing that I liked about this game was that we won in spite of the officials doing almost everything they can to make sure we wouldn't.
    If that were the case, I doubt they call that PI on Wright in the first quarter. The Browns were flagged for seven penalties while the Rams were called for two.
    Last edited by Nick; -08-23-2010 at 07:51 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    If that were the case, I doubt they call that PI on Wright in the first quarter. The Browns were flagged for seven penalties while the Rams were called for two.
    They may have been flagged for seven, but they got away with at least 10.

    The most GLARING was the blow to Feeley's head that wasn't called. Say what? Protect the QB? Preaching concussion prevention? Maybe this only applies to everyone but the RAMs.

    The next most glaring were two push-offs. One on 4th and 3 that was ignored and the other on the TD reception. There's 14 points that would have been 3 at best.

    And by the time they started calling those penalites, the RAMs showed a propencity to fail anyway, and the Browns were winning. I would bet money that the only reason they started calling those penalties was something Spags said to them. When ever I got a chance to see Spags on the sidelines, he was giving the officials an earful.


    gap

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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Quote Originally Posted by gap View Post
    The most GLARING was the blow to Feeley's head that wasn't called. Say what? Protect the QB? Preaching concussion prevention? Maybe this only applies to everyone but the RAMs.
    That isn't Ram specific, it's QB specific. Tom Brady takes a hit like that and it is probably at least a 50 yard penalty with a 6 game suspension and ban from participating in the draft or signing FA. Feeley? Feel free to take out a pistol and shoot his kneecaps a few times too, who cares?

  8. #8
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Quote Originally Posted by gap View Post
    They may have been flagged for seven, but they got away with at least 10.

    The most GLARING was the blow to Feeley's head that wasn't called. Say what? Protect the QB? Preaching concussion prevention? Maybe this only applies to everyone but the RAMs.

    The next most glaring were two push-offs. One on 4th and 3 that was ignored and the other on the TD reception. There's 14 points that would have been 3 at best.

    And by the time they started calling those penalites, the RAMs showed a propencity to fail anyway, and the Browns were winning. I would bet money that the only reason they started calling those penalties was something Spags said to them. When ever I got a chance to see Spags on the sidelines, he was giving the officials an earful.


    gap
    A few counterpoints...

    I'm sure plenty of other fan bases could point to instances where their quarterback was "roughed" and it wasn't called. Heck, go back to the Cardinals/Packers playoff game where a facemask to Aaron Rodgers was not called on the final play of the game. The NFL admitted to missing a roughing the passer call against Brett Favre in the Saints/Vikings championship game, as well as one against Mark Sanchez in the Jets/Colts championship game. This stuff happens, and not just to the Rams.

    As for the game from this weekend, were there calls missed? Absolutely. But did the officials do "almost everything they could to make sure the Rams didn't win?" Of course not. Again, Cleveland was called for more than three times the number of penalties the Rams were. They were called early in the game for a very questionable PI call that extended a Rams' drive in the red zone. In the fourth quarter, the Browns were penalized for illegal contact which gave the Rams a new first and goal series. When the Rams were down by one point with less than eleven minutes to go, Cleveland was flagged for two penalties on the Rams' go-ahead drive, one being a PI call that once again gave the Rams a first down inside the red zone. How are they trying their best to help the Browns win when they're throwing flags that extend Rams drives in key situations?

    I agree the hit to the head on Feeley and the second push off by Cribbs should have been called. I didn't have a problem with the fourth down push off. I thought it was subtle enough and within the five yard cushion that it was a good no-call. But regardless, if the officials were actually trying their best to prevent a Rams win, they certainly would have kept the flags in their pockets for some of the above mentioned infractions. I just can't agree with this notion at all.

  9. #9
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Quote Originally Posted by VegasRam View Post
    We'll see what he does Thursday, if Murmer lets him.
    Murmer, that's too funny and so far this preseason, 100% apropos. Rep to you Vegas!

  10. #10
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    One thing I took away from this game was the Rams lack of penalties. Can't remember off the top of my head but I think there were only two called on the Rams. On the road. In terrible weather. That's a major positive.

  11. #11
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    One thing I took away from this game was the Rams lack of penalties. Can't remember off the top of my head but I think there were only two called on the Rams. On the road. In terrible weather. That's a major positive.
    Good point Tx, let's hope that's a trend that continues. Zero turnovers and a +5 margin were major positives as well.

  12. #12
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    That, and special teams are fun to watch, (as opposed to having to hold your breath). I hope we don't lose this ST Coach.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Quote Originally Posted by gap View Post
    The one thing that I liked about this game was that we won in spite of the officials doing almost everything they can to make sure we wouldn't.
    Whoa, 1999 comparison??? Yikes slow down buddy. I watched this game closely and if it probably wasn't for the rain Bradford put it into the opponents breadbasket twice. Once could have gone 80 yards for the TD. This is no where near GSOT, not even a hint. I'm not trying to be a pessimist but I just don't see it.
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    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    One thing I took away from this game was the Rams lack of penalties. Can't remember off the top of my head but I think there were only two called on the Rams. On the road. In terrible weather. That's a major positive.
    only two penalties... could that be because budded Barron isn't on the team anymore?
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