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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Rams settle for pars to get their first ace

    By Bernie Miklasz

    When the Rams' first-team offense finally scores a touchdown, I propose we mark the occasion by doing something really special. Hopefully NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be in the house, and the game can be stopped for an on-field ceremony. Goodell will declare it "Coach Scott Linehan Day" in St. Louis. And Mayor Francis Slay can hand quarterback Marc Bulger the key to the city. And let's ship the football to Canton for display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Sorry, just teasing.

    But it's been awhile, eh?

    To be serious for a moment, The Greatest Show is closing, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. With the defense carrying the day, the Rams upset the favored Denver Broncos 18-10 Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. And this is the way it must be more frequently from now on.

    The victory was a shockingly good triumph for Jim Haslett's defense, which wrecked the Broncos for five turnovers and four sacks. We'll say it again: The Rams have no chance for the playoffs unless Haslett's X Factor defense plays the kind of angry, disruptive football we witnessed Sunday.

    Linehan's offense sputtered in the red zone, unable to score a TD despite four trips there, most of which were set up by that rampaging Rams defense. (I don't count the Rams' fifth visit to the red zone; they opted to run out the clock at the end of the game).

    The Rams offense came away with two noteworthy achievements: zero turnovers, and 121 yards rushing by Steven Jackson, including a 37-yard gallop that put Denver away.

    Still, it was up to Jeff Wilkins to kick six field goals to save the defense's day. Was this an aberration? Probably. Linehan's success as an offensive coordinator is clear and unchallenged. So why did the Rams stall in the Broncos' back yard?

    Well, the Rams' offensive starters didn't receive many trial runs in the four preseason games. Rather than work on the engine, Linehan kept the car in the garage. That's fine if you're an established offense with a consistent history of scoring points, but the Rams have a new coach and a new offense. Game action is the best way to sharpen it up.

    Second, in the early red-zone forays Linehan seemed to disregard his stated desire for balance. He called for a lot of passes near the Denver goal line, including three in a row on a first and goal from the 8 on the Rams' first series. (Similar play-calling ventures came later.) It was a curious approach for a coach who repeatedly stresses the need to run the football. And the malfunctions were odd considering that Linehan put the offense through extra red-zone practice periods in preparation for Denver.

    And Bulger wasn't at his best in the red zone. He misfired on a couple of TD passes. But Bulger was also smart enough to throw the ball away when he spotted lurking Denver defenders sitting on a route. Bulger made an unselfish and wise trade-off: he accepted the razzing from the crowd as the price for avoiding foolish turnovers.

    "Our defense definitely won it for us, but at the same time we didn't turn the ball over," Bulger said. "The way I look at the field goals is, we went down and got par, par, par. Sure you want some birdies. We know we've got to work on it. We're nowhere near where we need to be."

    Pars aren't so bad. Better than bogies. Bulger mentioned the stat sheet and smiled. "No interceptions," he said. "There haven't been many days where I've come in after a game with a zero in that category. But I have to cut down on interceptions this year. And I will."

    On an off-kilter day, at least the offense put field goals on the board instead of putting fumbles and interceptions in the hands of the Denver defense.

    "I almost feel like I'm playing in a different division," Bulger said. "Growing up, I watched Steelers games. This game reminded me more of that. Field position. Taking care of the ball and punting. I'm used to winging it before. If it didn't work today, maybe we'd be saying something different. But I like it. If we can protect the ball, and our defense continues to make huge plays, we'll be in good shape.

    "There's a different way we're going to approach the game now. We're going to be careful. Safe. Err on the side of caution. And hopefully it will work."

    Is the Greatest Show really over?

    "It isn't just offense," Bulger said. "We're going to be more well-rounded this year."

    Wow. I guess we can officially close the book on the Mike Martz Era.

    I still believe this offense will score plenty of touchdowns. But Fantasy Football League players ought to make a trade for Jeff Wilkins, just in case.

  2. #2
    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: Rams settle for pars to get their first ace

    The offense still just needs to adjust to the new system, I seriously think we can still be a very high powered offense just like Arizona...right? lol, but seriously I do think we can become a good offense again, and we still are, there's no reason why we can't score 4-5 TDs a game, offensively...
    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

  3. #3
    Fat Pang's Avatar
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    Re: Rams settle for pars to get their first ace

    Linehan's offense but it's Haslett's defense?

    I see Bernard's still pointing his pudgy fingers at people. Collective responsibility is something Bernard is unfamiliar with it seems.

    I'm beginning to think we lost the game.

    We didn't did we?

    As for closing the book on the Mike Martz era, I think we did that some time ago.

  4. #4
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams settle for pars to get their first ace

    Why all the passes in the red zone ? Shouldn't that be Jackson and Davis time ? So what if the opposition knows that we are going to run, Everyone knew the Steelers were going to run when Bettis came in for those situations.


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