Monday, Dec. 31 2007

Bulger made a couple of throws he'd like to have back, most notably the 47-yard
interception return for a TD by Rolle. Grade: D

Running backs
Jackson got his 1,000 yards, but just barely, on a day when the Rams couldn't
get any consistency on the ground. Grade: D

Klopfenstein — yes, Klopfenstein! — accounted for the only offensive TD; but
Bennett dropped a TD catch. Grade: C-

Offensive line
Didn't give Bulger much time to throw and didn't create much in the way of
running lanes for Jackson. Grade: D

Defensive line
Failed to get any pressure on Warner and wasn't all that sharp against the run,
either. Grade: D

Culberson was a bright spot in his first NFL start with 10 tackles; otherwise
not much to get excited about. Grade: C-

Brown's rib injury didn't help, and Atogwe did return an interception for a TD;
but unit was shredded by Warner and Fitzgerald. Grade: D+

Special teams
A pretty good day all around, including a surprisingly good job on kickoff
coverage against Breaston. Grade: B

From the opening kickoff, the intensity seemed to be lacking, and ultimately,
that responsibility falls on the coaching staff. Grade: D
Rams Outtakes: Promising first start
By Bill Coats
Monday, Dec. 31 2007

GLENDALE, Ariz. — For an undrafted rookie getting his first start, Rams
linebacker Quinton Culberson made quite a splash Sunday. Subbing on the strong
side for injured Brandon Chillar (calf), Culberson collected a game-high 10
tackles, according to the unofficial press-box stats, and also forced a fumble
in a 48-19 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

"I was a little nervous going into the game, but after that first little bit of
contact, it went away and I was good to go," Culberson said. "I think I did
pretty good. It's something to build on for next year."

The 6-foot-1, 236-pounder from Mississippi State said defensive coordinator Jim
Haslett "told me go out, not worry about making mistakes, and just do what I
did in the preseason. That's what I tried to do."

Culberson was one of the team's best special-teams players all year but had
been in for only 11 snaps on defense until Sunday. "I learned a lot of things
this year," he said. "I'm happy to be here, but I'm ready to get a break. It's
been a long season."

PLAY OF THE DAY: The Rams had trimmed a 24-6 halftime deficit to 31-19 late in
the third quarter when Cards wideout Anquan Boldin took a short pass from Kurt
Warner on the right side. With the outside sealed, Boldin cut back toward the
middle, juked a couple of defenders and steamed into the end zone. The 20-yard
TD put the Big Red up 38-19, and the Rams' threat was over.

GAME BALLS: Rams — Culberson. Cardinals — WR Larry Fitzgerald (11 catches, 171
yards, 2 TDs).

PICKED ON, PICKED OFF: Rookie cornerback Jonathan Wade, seeing his most
extensive action of the season, was taken to school at times by Boldin and
Fitzgerald. "Being able to play against such a talented group of receivers, I
felt blessed," Wade said. "I gave it all I had every single play." He had his
moment, too, when he picked off a Warner pass early in the second half, Wade's
first interception. As the ball headed his way, Wade said he was thinking,
"Just make this (catch), not for me, but for my team. ... It helped at the
time, but it didn't help in the long run."

TWICE AS GOOD: A disappointing sophomore season for tight end Joe Klopfenstein
included one catch for 1 yard. Before, that is, he hauled in a toss from Marc
Bulger along the right sideline just two plays after Wade's interception.
Klopfenstein turned downfield and "there was no one there," he said. The only
resistance he encountered came at about the 2-yard line, where 198-pound
cornerback Rod Hood tried to stop him. But the 262-pound Klopfenstein lowered
his shoulder, propelling Hood and himself into the end zone for a 36-yard TD.
"I wasn't going to be denied, not after getting only two catches all year,"
Klopfenstein said.