Rams Looking Forward To Bye
By Nick Wagoner
The Script couldn’t have been written any better. Torry Holt makes a miraculous touchdown catch, the Rams beat division rival Seattle and ride off into the sunset of the bye week with a 5-1 record and an emotional victory over their heated foe.
Unfortunately for St. Louis, the story didn’t end there. There was another 1:44 on the clock, a controversial finish and a booming field goal in the Rams’ future. As Josh Brown’s 54-yard boot split the uprights and the Seahawks marched off the field victorious, the Rams were left to trudge away disappointed after falling short of yet another spirited victory.
Now, the Rams must head into the bye week with thoughts of what could have been dancing in their heads.
“I think it’s worse,” running back Steven Jackson said. “You have two weeks to sit on it and think about the game. It was a tough one out there and you really hate to lose ones like this in the last seconds.”
It hurts even more considering that the Rams have made a habit of winning games just like the one Sunday throughout the season. St. Louis won all of its four games by a total of 20 points, usually following a familiar formula of getting a huge defensive play late.
The Rams got that play from defensive end Leonard Little when he forced a fumble deep in St. Louis territory to set up Holt’s heroics. This time, though, there was too much time left.
In the St. Louis locker room after the game, there was plenty of silence for a group that was on the verge of its biggest win of the young season.
“It’s still a shock with them pulling it out in the end,” defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy said. “It went down to the end but they got the field goal. I don’t think anybody is really going to rest on this bye week. It’s hard to take a loss especially with the new attitude and this new defensive team. I’m sure everyone is going to take this personally. We’ll make some adjustments and move on to the next team.”
The next team is an Oct. 29 showdown at San Diego against the Chargers. That leaves the Rams with the next two weeks to move on past the loss, something that might be difficult but right guard Adam Timmerman says the Rams do a good job of not getting too high or too low based on one game.
“I think Coach Linehan does a good job with a 24 hour rule win or lose,” Timmerman said. “Watch the tape, fix the mistakes and move on. I think all in all guys will be fine. It will sting for a day then we can get rest and comeback healthy.”
The loss dropped the Rams to 4-2 heading into this week’s bye. The Rams spent Monday as they spend most Mondays, reviewing film and correcting mistakes and errors.
The team will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before coach Scott Linehan lets the players and coaches go their own way on Thursday.
Tuesday’s practice will be a departure from the normal work as the Rams will work on issues that need to be corrected within the team. On Wednesday, they will peek ahead to San Diego and begin a little work on the Chargers.
After that, they are free to go until Monday when they will be back on the practice field.
“It’s a good time to self-scout yourself and look at what you’re doing well and not doing well,” Linehan said. “If you have to make adjustments, you can have those discussions now because you’re not under the gun so much. Once we get through Wednesday we’re going to take a little time off. The players will be done and once we get through Thursday the coaches will have some time off too. The coaches haven’t had any time off since the day before training camp. They’ve been working very hard and need to get fresh as well.”
At 4-2, the Rams pre-bye performance exceeded the expectations of many. With a couple more breaks, they could be 5-1 or even 6-0, showing glimpses that they are already turning the corner in the first year of the Linehan era.
There is plenty to be optimistic about heading into the second part of the season with quarterback Marc Bulger playing lights out, Holt seemingly headed toward his best season (which is saying something considering what he’s accomplished) and an opportunistic defense that consistently forces turnovers.
Maybe 4-2 isn’t the ideal start, but it’s certainly a good jumping off point according to Linehan.
“I don’t know if you put a record on it, but you’d love to be in a great position and you’re going to be okay with a good position,” Linehan said. “I think we’re in a good position. Certainly, the loss puts us in a different position than we’d be in if we had won the game, as far as our division, but we’re still in a good position.”