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    Rams only win of the day was coin toss; season opener went downhill from there

    Steve Korte
    News-Democrat


    PHILADELPHIA --It started with coach Scott Linehan winning and then deferring on the coin toss, and the St. Louis Rams' season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles went downhill from there.

    The Rams suffered their worst opening-day beat down in franchise history, falling 38-3 to the Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

    The 35-point loss surpassed a 40-7 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 6, 1992, as the Rams' most loplised defeat on Kickoff Weekend.

    "I really thought we were ready, and obviously we weren't," Linehan said. "I give most of that credit to Philadelphia. I think they are just one heck of a team. We got our butts kicked today. There is really no sugarcoating it."

    The Rams won the coin toss, and Linehan opted under a new NFL rule to defer to the second half.

    In college, coaches choose to defer more than 90 percent of time, giving them the option to kickoff or receive the football at the start of the second half.

    The Eagles chose to receive the ball on the opening kickoff, and they promptly marched down the field for a touchdown.

    The 80-yard drive included a 47-yard pass from Donovan McNabb to rookie wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Another 15-yards was tacked onto the end of the play after wide receiver Torry Holt got too close to the field and an official ran into him on the sideline.

    It was the first of five pass plays of 25 or more yards for the Eagles, who got a 90-yard touchdown reception from H Baskett on a third-and-8 play with 47 seconds left in the first half.

    "A couple of times we were not where we were supposed to be," Linehan said. "You can't allow a team to get those kind of chucks in the passing game."

    Running back Steven Jackson, who held out the first 27-days of training camp and sat out all four preseason games, looked rusty. He had 14 carries for 40 yards, an average of 2.9 yards per carry.

    One step forward, 5 yards back

    The Rams were flagged six times for false start.

    The offending parties were Richie Incognito, Jacob Bell, Alex Barron, Nick Leckey, Randy McMichael and Dane Looker.

    "We had nine penalties, but most of them were false starts," Linehan said. "Trying to overcome first-and-15 or second-and-17, that's just hard, and almost impossible."

    Punter kept busy

    The Rams were forced to punt on their first 10 possessions.

    If that keeps up, punter Donnie Jones will be going to the Pro Bowl.

    Jones averaged 48.5 yards per punt, including a game-long punt of 57 yards.

    "I had a couple of times in Miami where I kicked 10 (times in a game)," Jones said. "You just have to stay focused, and execute and do your job when called upon."

    Jones banged his right knee trying to push Jackson out of bounds on a 60-yard punt return. He had to get treatment on his knee after the game.

    Injury report

    The Rams got a scare when Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace left the game in the fourth quarter, but his injury apparently isn't serious.

    Pace got the wind knocked out of him after getting hit in the ribs pass-blocking on a 21-yard completion to Looker.

    Defensive end Leonard Little injured what appeared to be the hamstring muscle in his right leg on the fourth play of the game.

    Wide receiver Drew Bennett injured his left foot making a catch with 9:17 left in the first quarter.

    Quick hits

    The Rams' inactives were wide receiver Donnie Avery, running back Brian Leonard, safety Brannon Condren, linebacker David Vobora, guard Roy Schuening, tackle John Greco, defensive end Eric Moore and third-string quarterback Brock Berlin.

    Avery has a sprained knee, while Leonard has a shoulder injury.

    Tight end Randy McMichael had a team-leading five catches for 77 yards, his most productive game in terms of receiving yardage in his two seasons with the Rams.

    The Eagles had a 10-minute, 20-second advantage in time of possession.

    According too the press box statistics, defensive end James Hall was the Rams' leading tackler with 10 takedowns.

    The Rams are 8-6 in season openers since coming to St. Louis in 1995, but they've lost five of their last seven season openers.


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams only win of the day was coin toss; season opener went downhill from there

    Why defer the coin toss?

    Does Linehan keep up with what's going on in the NFL or what?

    I can't speak for the rest of us but all I had been hearing and reading about McNabb was that he was healthy and the predictions were that he was going to have a big season.

    So yes, let's defer and give Philly the ball at home and see what McNabb is made of?!!!!!

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