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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Realistically, it's over for the dispirited Rams

    BY JEFF GORDON
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    12/03/2006


    Quarterback Marc Bulger has seen enough sloppy execution by the Rams. He has seen enough of their dispirited play.

    He took Sunday’s 34-20 loss to the Gridbirds hard –- and can anybody blame him?

    “Everyone has excuses,” Bulger said. “But when you keep doing the same things, and there is a nonchalant attitude, that’s what bugs me. I think it bugs some of the other guys.”

    It bugs Rams fans and it bugs this cyber-correspondent, too.




    The Rams had to beat the Gridbirds to keep their NFC wild-card playoff hopes alive. They needed a big performance to get back to .500 and give themselves a chance during their final four games.

    But instead of rising to the occasion, they fell apart. All their usual problems resurfaced again. The same players made the same mistakes, again and again.

    Arizona raced to a 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game and never really let up. The Gridbirds’ lead grew to 17-3 in the second quarter, 24-10 in the third quarter and 34-13 in the fourth.

    Their 34-20 victory was a stunning runaway for Bill Bidwill’s crew. How could the Rams fall so flat?

    Defensive end Leonard Little, like Bulger, was mystified. Why can’t this team pull itself together?

    “The talent is way better,” Little said. “At times we execute great and times we don’t. I can’t put a finger on it, because if we could put a finger on it, it would be solved by now and we’d be winning games.”



    Sure, the Rams had some grievances with Ron Winter’s flag-happy officiating crew Sunday. A number of suspect calls went against them, often at critical points in the game.

    But the Rams defense couldn’t stop the run (again!) or force timely turnovers. Arizona running back Edgerrin James rushed for 115 yards against Jim Haslett's unit and rookie quarterback Matt Leinart passed for 186 yards.

    The Rams offense moved the ball, piling up 394 yards, but once again it struggled to finish off scoring drives.

    Bulger threw three interceptions -- two while the game was still within reach -– and Torry Holt dropped a potential touchdown pass.

    On their home field, they couldn’t hang with a 2-9 opponent. And as the game got away from them in the second half, the makeshift Rams offensive line allowed Arizona to give Bulger a terrible beating.

    After sifting through the wreckage of this game, Rams coach Scott Linehan offered this assessment during his postgame news conference:

    “You can’t win football games by losing the turnover battle, No. 1, and having penalties. If you don’t take care of those things right there, you’re not going to win any football games.”

    There were plenty of other problems in the game, but Linehan kept coming back to penalties -– 10 in all, for 126 yards.

    “You can’t blame the officials calling the penalties,” he said. “You have to look at what you are doing. We are going to have to clean it up.”

    Now 5-7, the Rams still cling to mathematical life in the NFC wild-card race. Realistically, though, they are finished.

    “I don’t look at it like things are over or done,” Linehan said. “I think we put ourselves in a worse position. By winning, we would have been in a very favorable position, but now it is an uphill battle.

    “You can make the playoffs in this league at 8-8. It’s happened. Our season is not over. No way are we approaching it that way.”

    Next up on the schedule is Chicago here next Monday night.

    “We have a big game Monday night,” Linehan said. “We’re certainly going to be heavy underdogs at home against the team with the best record in the NFC. Anything can happen. If we play well in a game like that, you never really know.”

    Well, we DO know, don’t we? Bulger knows it, too, and he spelled it out. The team had no fire Sunday, no focus. They can’t just run out to a convenience store and buy some more.

    The next four weeks could REALLY get ugly.


  2. #2
    Spiderwolf's Avatar
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    Re: Realistically, it's over for the dispirited Rams

    Well your right. Its definately over, and bound to get worse. There is really nothing left to play for. Yea, an 8-8 team can sometimes get into the playoffs, but I doubt the way this team is playing that anyone here thinks they can win their last 4 games. Aint gonna happen!

  3. #3
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Realistically, it's over for the dispirited Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    BY JEFF GORDON
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    12/03/2006

    Now 5-7, the Rams still cling to mathematical life in the NFC wild-card race. Realistically, though, they are finished.

    “I don’t look at it like things are over or done,” Linehan said. “I think we put ourselves in a worse position. By winning, we would have been in a very favorable position, but now it is an uphill battle.
    This is what kills me! Linehan thinks we are in a worse position?! Whens the last time a team lost a game and improved their chances of making the playoffs?! Linehan could talk a hungry dog off a meat wagon but can't get his troops fired up! His leadership qualities need to improve. There's no sense of urgency in his diplomatic press conferences or interviews....!!

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    Varg6's Avatar
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    Re: Realistically, it's over for the dispirited Rams

    The next four weeks really will be grueling. Its ashame because...wow I am such a broken record but...we have the talent to win games, and we don't execute, and we don't have any team chemistry, especially on defense. I see no hope or aspiration(s) in lots of players out there. One thing I liked was Hill, he does get angry when he gets beat, some guys just stand there. Its good to see at least Hill gets fired up.

    I am honestly getting sick and tired of hearing the same ol' thing about the Rams. I've been preaching it, we all have...and I gotta say it kills me inside.


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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