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Thread: Rams report
For several weeks, as the Rams found creative ways to lose on the road, coach Steve Spagnuolo insisted he treats every game the same, whether it is at home or away.
Well, Spagnuolo had a confession Sunday after the Rams held off a furious Denver rally in the fourth quarter, and outlasted the Broncos, 36-33. It was the first win of the season on the road, and the team's only win in November. Turns out Spagnuolo had emphasized both things in the days prior to the game.
"The bottom line is we got a win on the road," Spagnuolo said. "We won one in November and we talked all week long about two of the things we haven't done yet: win in November and win on the road. We checked those boxes off and we will move forward."
The Rams had blown late leads in road losses to Tampa Bay and San Francisco, and came close to doing it again Sunday. They entered the fourth quarter leading, 33-13, but found a way to stop the Broncos on their final possession.
Said linebacker James Laurinaitis, "I think it's huge, because you have to fight and claw and do whatever you have to to get the W, especially on the road. We had two check marks that we wanted to do. We wanted to win on the road, and we wanted to win in November. We got those accomplished. With the way I am, I'll enjoy it on the flight back, but once we get to tomorrow, I'm already on the next game."
That next game and the one after are road trips to Arizona and New Orleans. Coupled with Seattle's loss to Kansas City, the Rams and Seahawks are tied for first place in the NFC West with 5-6 records.
In their previous four road games, the Rams had totaled just four takeaways and none in the last three games. Against the Broncos, they overcame an early 10-0 deficit to build that 33-13 lead, and had no turnovers, two takeaways and just four penalties for 30 yards.
Summarized Spagnuolo, "We did not hurt ourselves with penalties. We did find a way to get some turnovers, and we protected the football, which is really big when you play on the road."
Still, there were big plays allowed on defense in the fourth quarter, and the offense went three-and-out on three straight possessions, gaining just 11 yards on nine plays.
Spagnuolo knows those things have to improve, especially when there is a fourth-quarter lead.
He said, "Going forward here, if you are going to win consistently in this league ... the only thing we want to do when we get to that point is to stay there and somehow close it out, whether it is driving the football and chewing the clock, or putting another field goal or touchdown on there, or somehow finish it on defense with a turnover."
BY THE NUMBERS: For the second straight game, Sam Bradford wasn't sacked, the first time that has happened for a Rams quarterback since the final two games of the 2006 season. From 2007-2009, the Rams had just one game each season where the quarterback wasn't sacked.
TRENDING: Entering the game, Bradford averaged just 9.46 yards per completion for the season. With wide receiver Danario Alexander back from a knee injury, Bradford's average was 14.0 Sunday as Alexander had four receptions for 95 yards.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
—TE Michael Hoomanawanui scored a touchdown on a 36-yard pass play, but later left the game with injuries to his ribs and right ankle. Hoomanawanui missed four games earlier this season after suffering a high ankle sprain in the season opener, and the concern is that he has another high ankle sprain.
—TE Billy Bajema saw more playing time in the passing game after Michael Hoomanawanui suffered an ankle injury, and he took advantage of it. Bajema scored two touchdowns on plays of two and 26 yards, and they were the first touchdowns of his NFL career.
—LB James Laurinaitis missed a few plays after being poked in the eye, but came back in and had a deflection on one of the Broncos' final pass plays of the game.
—FB Mike Karney was a surprise inactive, the first time since he joined the team last season that he has been a healthy inactive.
—FB Brit Miller has been a solid contributor on special teams since being signed to the active roster from the practice squad on Oct. 11. Sunday, Miller saw time at fullback with Mike Karney inactive.
—LB Larry Grant was back in the starting lineup on the weak side after not starting the previous three games. Grant started the first seven games of the season. Bryan Kehl started one game and Chris Chamberlain two before Grant returned against the Broncos.
—QB Sam Bradford has passer ratings of 112.4, 94.4, 84.7 and 113.3 in his last four games. In those games, he has completed 68 percent of his passes for 993 yards, with eight touchdowns and one interception on a late-game shovel pass against Atlanta. Bradford has that one interception in his last 217 pass attempts.
Re: Rams report
LOOOVVVING BRADFORD right now!!!! Glad we made that pick instead of Suh! Now its time to get some weapons and beef up this team !!
Re: Rams report
Are we sure that those Bradford stats aren't from 2011 or 2012? It's simply mind-boggling that Bradford has matured this fast and is having this good of a season as a rookie. If he doesn't win the OROY award it would be a shafting of epic proportions. He deserves the MVP, not just the OROY award in my mind as well.I believe!
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