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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Rams Seem To Be Getting Worse Instead Of Better

    Rams seem to be getting worse instead of better

    BY JIM THOMAS
    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 12:10 am

    In an ideal NFL world, teams peak for the playoffs, and even young squads that aren't in a playoff race show improvement as the season winds down. But are the Rams stumbling to the finish line? Or conversely, has the team gotten any better over the last few weeks?

    "On the surface you'd say that would not be the case," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "Because the last two weeks we've lost two games. But it doesn't mean that at any point, you can't get the thing right."

    A lot of things haven't gone right lately. After scoring a season-high 36 points to hold off Denver on Nov. 28, the Rams have managed only 45 points over their last three games.

    The Rams were sixth in the league in scoring defense after nine games, allowing 18 points a game, following their 23-20 overtime loss to San Francisco on Nov. 14. Now, as the ***** come to St. Louis for Sunday's rematch, the Rams are 15th in scoring defense, after allowing 27 or more points in four of their last five contests.

    A run defense that ranked sixth in the league in yards allowed after the San Francisco game has tumbled to 16th after allowing 210 yards against Kansas City — a high for a Spagnuolo team in his two years in St. Louis.

    In a quarterback-driven league, rookie Sam Bradford hasn't thrown a TD pass in the last three contests but has thrown five interceptions — including two against KC.

    No disrespect to Kansas City, but the Rams are capable of playing much better against the Chiefs than they showed Sunday.

    "I would agree with that," Spagnuolo said. "I think our guys feel that way. In other words, we're not sitting here saying, 'Oh, that's a pretty good team. And there's no way we can beat that team now.' Nobody's thinking that."

    But the Chiefs certainly looked like the better team Sunday. Part of the recent downturn can be attributed to the schedule. Atlanta (12-2) and New Orleans (10-4) are two of the elite teams in the NFC. Kansas City (9-5) has a very good chance to make the playoffs in the AFC. And three of the last five games were on the road.

    Defensively, the Rams have gone from facing one of the league's most balanced offenses (Atlanta) to facing a couple of the NFL's top passing teams (Denver and New Orleans), to facing the No. 1 running game in Kansas City.

    On offense, the pass blocking suddenly sprung major leaks against New Orleans and Kansas City. The Saints did it with lots of blitzes; the Chiefs did it largely with three- and four-man rushes.

    The methods may have differed for the Saints and Chiefs, but the results were the same. Namely, that Bradford had little time to throw more often than not.

    "He'd be the first to admit he'd like to play better," Spagnuolo said of Bradford's recent play. "But yet I do think there were a lot of things that he did pretty good."

    Bradford's recent struggles have prompted questions about whether he has hit the so-called rookie wall — worn down mentally by the strain and grind of playing every snap at quarterback as an NFL rookie.

    "I can honestly tell you I have not seen that," Spagnuolo said. "He's a very focused individual. He takes care of his body and he realizes the length of this whole thing. You're talking about the rookie walls, but he played at Oklahoma where they're still practicing now — they'll play another game (the Fiesta Bowl). I know he did that a lot in his career, so I think he's kind of used to it."

    The question remains, will Bradford and the offense and defense get some spark back at a time in the season when the Rams need it most? Victories over San Francisco and Seattle to close the regular season would put the Rams in the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and make them NFC West champs for the first time since 2003. A loss Sunday to San Francisco reduces the Rams' postseason chances to long shot status.

    The young Rams must show they're ready for games of this magnitude. It almost looked like the Kansas City game was too big for them, what with all the penalties, dropped passes, missed opportunities and the inability to make plays at critical points in the game.

    "This team positioned itself to be ready," running back Steven Jackson said. "We put ourselves in this spot to fight…We still have the opportunity. But we now have allowed for another team (San Francisco) to come into the race. But this team has accomplished a lot. So to answer your question, we're up to the task. We have the capabilities of doing so. If we didn't, we wouldn't be in this position that we're in."


  2. #2
    mh-i's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Seem To Be Getting Worse Instead Of Better

    The Rams have only won one game against a team that currently has a record over .500 and I believe the Chargers were under .500 when the Rams beat them. Luckily their last two games are against lousy teams so they have a shot to win.

    That said, the Rams have exceeded my expectations for them this season.

  3. #3
    Soonerfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Seem To Be Getting Worse Instead Of Better

    Well it's not like the Rams have lost to a bunch of crappy teams lately; the writer needs to get a dose of reality

  4. #4
    KoaKoi is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Seem To Be Getting Worse Instead Of Better

    better yet... the two games remaining are division games. taking playoff talk completely out of the picture, it comes down to the ****** and seahags. Two games I will mercilessly yell at my tv about: not for playoffs, but for pride.

    i look forward to watching our boys play hard no matter what.

  5. #5
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Seem To Be Getting Worse Instead Of Better

    Our next 2 games will separate the men from the boys!

    Let's go RAMS!!!

  6. #6
    VegasRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Seem To Be Getting Worse Instead Of Better

    Quote Originally Posted by Soonerfan View Post
    Well it's not like the Rams have lost to a bunch of crappy teams lately; the writer needs to get a dose of reality
    Exactly, (as in thank you Captain Obvious). Don't misunderstand here - I'm ecstatic over this year so far, and the rest is just icing, (should the Rams go any further), but the fact STILL is, that we're just not there yet.

    People ***** about penalties, (and there are "dumb" ones), but they are usually a result of flat being outplayed.

    We beat a bad Denver team, then get questioned when we lose to a SB Champ in their house; that's just plain silly. KC was disappointing cuz' we got flagged a lot. Newsflash - the O-Line didn't get worse, KC's D-Line was better. Live with it.

    Anyway SF - rep to you, (also for being more succinct than me).
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

  7. #7
    AtlantaRamFan's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Seem To Be Getting Worse Instead Of Better

    I think what may have happened is that fans and local media oversold the team. The Rams made it to .500 at the half way mark and people started thinking "hey if we rattle off a few wins we could be looking pretty good". But like a few other posters said, an honest evaluation will show you that the Rams just aren't there yet. They can hang with some good teams for a while (which is great) but if you watch the game, you can see the gaps in talent. Lucky for us, they're pretty close to being "there". I think the next 2 games will obviously be nice to win, but the previous 2 really defined the season for me...Good enough to beat the bad teams, not good enough to beat the top tier teams on a regular basis. Just my opinion..I don't think they got worse, as much as they just played teams that are flat out better.

  8. #8
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Seem To Be Getting Worse Instead Of Better

    The Rams snuck up on people. Very few people- fans, neutral observers, opposing teams and others in the know expected much from St. Louis this year. As the season progressed and teams started to realize the Rams weren't the league patsies anymore, they started to take them a bit more seriously. Adjustments have been made by teams who now see what the Rams try to do to compete game in and game out. And their schedule has gotten tougher. I am not surprised at their recent struggles in light of the fact that they still have some glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed.

    What's important is that they get this thing turned around in a hurry against two very beatable opponents!!

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