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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams OT win is a sign of progress

    By Jim Thomas
    Tuesday, Dec. 26 2006

    Just as Rams long snapper Chris Massey hiked the ball to punter Matt Turk,
    Washington flooded the middle of the line. Redskins safety Vernon Fox got
    through to block the punt.

    It was only the third Rams punt blocked since the franchise moved to St. Louis
    in 1995, and the first since 2000. Washington scored two plays later to tie the
    game 14-14 with 6 minutes, 14 seconds left in the first half.

    "That was a tough change of momentum there," coach Scott Linehan said.

    Plays like that can deflate a team, and it looked as if that would be the case
    Sunday for the Rams. Washington tacked on two more touchdowns, taking a
    28-14 lead six minutes into the second half. But the Rams' defense righted
    itself in the third quarter, the offense kept pushing, and the Rams had a 37-31
    overtime victory.

    "The biggest thing I was impressed with was the team's resiliency," offensive
    tackle Todd Steussie said. "When things turned bad, it would have been easy to
    pack it away and say, 'You know what? The season's almost over anyway.' But we
    did not do that. We just kept on coming after it."

    The team has crumbled in the past under similar circumstances. But not this
    time. Winners of three of their last five games since a 15-0 debacle in
    Carolina on Nov. 19, the Rams just might be showing signs of maturing as a team.

    "No question," Linehan said. "I think you see a team since we played Carolina
    that's gone back to the drawing board. Really worked on the little things. Come
    together. And is focused on what we need to do to win games.

    "So we're improving. Is it too late, or whatever? I don't know. We'll figure
    that out. But we're still alive and in the hunt. And if we win this (Minnesota)
    football game, then maybe we'll see the dividends of it. But I'm very pleased
    with their willingness to work and stick together."

    The comeback began midway through the third quarter.

    "On third down, I just went for a checkdown, and Steven (Jackson) takes it to
    the house," quarterback Marc Bulger said.

    Jackson caught the ball near the St. Louis 40, broke a tackle attempt by Fox at
    midfield and then juked Redskins safety Sean Taylor who didn't look eager to
    tackle Jackson en route to a 64-yard touchdown.

    "It's nice to finally get those plays," Bulger said. "If we feed off each
    other, we're a lot better team. I said a couple years ago, we're a lot better
    team when we're having fun and playing loose. We haven't had a whole lot of
    that this year."

    Sunday, there were a lot of what Bulger called "those plays," particularly in
    the fourth quarter and overtime:

    With the score tied 28-28, Bulger scrambled 29 yards on third and nine for a
    first down at Washington's 29. The longest run of Bulger's career led to a
    go-ahead field goal by Jeff Wilkins with 7:57 to play.

    Nearly six minutes later, with the game tied at 31, Washington running back
    Ladell Betts broke the Rams' line and appeared headed for the end zone when
    safety Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe chased him down and poked the ball loose. Corey
    Chavous recovered for the Rams. Otherwise, the Redskins would have been in
    position for at least a game-winning field goal with 2 minutes to play.

    "I said, 'O.J., you know you won the game,'" Linehan said afterward. "Because
    at that point, it didn't look so good. That was a big play. It gets kind of
    lost in all the things that happened afterward. But if you go back to it, if
    that doesn't happen, we wouldn't be having this discussion right now."

    In overtime, Washington running back T.J. Duckett headed right on third and
    one from the Redskins 15 but was stopped for no gain.

    "Dexter (Coakley) came in and got the initial hit, and everyone was like BBs to
    the ball," linebacker Raonall Smith said. "I got him up high. Dexter stuck him
    up in the chest, and I got on top of him and tried to drive him back."

    Washington punted on the next play. Shaun McDonald, whose four previous
    returns Sunday netted minus-1 yards, broke loose for 33 yards, his longest
    return of the season.

    "It was actually a right return," McDonald said. "But I just saw a big hole (up
    the middle), so I tried to hit it and got through, and made some people miss."

    The Rams took over on their 39. Five plays later, Jackson was in the end zone
    with his game-winning touchdown.

    "Shaun had his best return of the year when we needed it," Linehan said. "I
    think that just says a lot about how everybody hung in there offensively,
    defensively and special teams. It was a great team win. I'm sorry that a lot of
    people didn't get a chance to watch it here locally."

    That's because the Rams' first home television blackout since moving to St.
    Louis just happened to be the most exciting game of the season.

  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Rams OT win is a sign of progress

    That Washington game was awesome. Every group contributed.

  3. #3
    jkramsfan Guest

    Re: Rams OT win is a sign of progress

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    That Washington game was awesome. Every group contributed.
    your right it was good to see all areas contribute,and really great to see mcdonald run forward and get positive yardage,i think he can break one with some blocking


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