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Rams have shot at rare three-peat ..
BY JIM THOMAS Wednesday, December 8, 2010 12:25 am
For more than a calendar year, the Rams had no success on the road. Zero. Zilch. Couldn't buy a road victory. That all changed in Denver two Sundays ago, and again at Arizona this past Sunday.
"Two weeks ago, at that point, we were winless on the road," running back Steven Jackson said. "So for us to get two wins on the road back-to-back weeks, it shows that this team responds to challenge."
The challenge this week is about as big as it gets, with yet another road game against the New Orleans Saints, 9-3 this season and defending Super Bowl champs.
"We have another huge game, and it's going to be rowdier in New Orleans," Jackson said following the Rams' 19-6 victory over the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. "We have to get ready for this. As games approach, and each and every week as we continue to be successful, games are going to get bigger. And I think this team is starting to understand that. We've just got to continue to execute and play together."
If the Rams can pull off an upset in the Louisiana Superdome — and that's a huge "if" — they also would pull off a "3-peat" of historic proportions. They would become only the third team in the 73-year history of the Rams' franchise to win road games in three consecutive weeks.
The Rams have had some successful road teams, most notably the 2001 NFC championship squad that went 8-0 on the road that season. But that team never played away games in three successive weeks. The best they did was back-to-back road victories twice.
The current league policy, according to Rams executive vice president of football operations Kevin Demoff, is to have teams play as many as three consecutive road games only about once every eight years.
And the Rams last played three in a row on the road exactly eight years ago, losing at Washington 20-17 on Nov. 24, 2002, then losing 10-3 at Philadelphia on Dec. 1 and 49-10 at Kansas City on Dec. 8.
Quarterback Kurt Warner suffered what turned out to be a broken hand in that Washington game, insisted he could play against Philadelphia but was very ineffective. That led to the first "Brenda-Gate" controversy, in which Brenda Warner — Kurt's wife — called a local all-sports radio station to complain about coach Mike Martz's handling of the injury.
So far, this year's three-game road swing has gone much more smoothly, with the Rams surviving a fourth-quarter meltdown to hold off Denver 36-33 and then recording the workmanlike victory in Arizona.
So have the Rams finally figured out how to handle this road thing?
"I've said this from the beginning, I never thought there was really anything to figure out except you go play football between the white lines," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "I don't know if it's that much different. Make plays and not hurt ourselves, those are probably the two biggest things ... If you do that, you've got a chance."
Maybe it is just that basic. But to go from being absolutely, positively unable to win on the road to possibly pulling off a bit of franchise history with an upset in New Orleans? Now that would be something.
Over the past 10 years, 34 NFL teams have played three consecutive road games. Only four — the 2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, the 2005 Jaguars, the 2006 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2009 New York Giants — have been able to win all three.
Before this season, the Rams had been involved in three consecutive road games 42 times in franchise history since entering the NFL in 1937 as the Cleveland Rams. Most of those three-game road swings took place before 1970. (Thirty-one of the 42 to be exact.)
But the Rams were able to sweep all three road contests only twice:
• In 1977, coach Chuck Knox's NFC West championship squad won at Green Bay 24-6 on Nov. 13, won at San Francisco 23-10 on Nov. 20 and then won 9-0 at Cleveland on Nov. 27.
• In 1949, coach Clark Shaughnessy's Western Conference champions won at Green Bay 48-7 on Oct. 2, won at Chicago 31-6 on Oct. 9 and then won at Detroit 21-10 on Oct. 16.
Since the move to St. Louis, this marks only the fourth time the Rams have played road games in three successive weeks. The 2002 debacle was preceded by a 1-2 road swing under Dick Vermeil in 1998.
And the inaugural "St. Louis" Rams team went 1-2 playing three in a row on the road from Nov. 19, 1995 to Dec. 3 of that season. The one victory during that road swing, 23-20 at the New York Jets on Dec. 3, turned out to be quarterback Chris Miller's last as a Ram because of a reoccurring concussions.
Playoff invoices out
As a playoff contending team in December, the Rams are sending out postseason ticket invoices this week to PSL holders. The NFL office has recommended that all playoff contending teams do so.
Anything involving playoff ticket sales to non-PSL holders won't take place until if the Rams know they have made the playoffs, according to Demoff.
Linebacker David Nixon is being promoted to the active roster from the practice squad. He takes the place of linebacker Na'il Diggs, who is out for the season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle against Arizona.
Free-agent linebackers Maurice Simpkins and Harry Coleman visited Rams Park on Tuesday, and the team plans to sign Simpkins to the practice squad to fill Nixon's spo
Re: Rams have shot at rare three-peat ..I believe!
Re: Rams have shot at rare three-peat ..As a playoff contending team in December, the Rams....
I know I'm pretty close to a bl..black....blackout right now..................
..................where am I? What happened? What's this keyboard doing here?"Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod
Re: Rams have shot at rare three-peat ..
Sometimes I think if the Rams played in the Super Bowl it wouldn't be on national TV. Or at the very least the pundits on NFL.com would find reason not to talk about them. Other than to include us in the Shame Report for daring to actually play football games as part of the NFC West which is apparently "universally terrible."
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