Sam's Silver Linings - Week Three
This week, writing this column is going to be a challenge…not because of bad play, or stupid penalties, or Ninja Squirrels holding me hostage, but because the Silver Linings are not that obvious. Coming off of a hard-fought win against the Redskins (and the replacement officials), we all expected more of the same from the Rams this week in Chicago.
No such luck. The Rams that were on the field this past weekend looked more like the Rams from the 2011 season at first glance. I have been waiting for the doomsayers to appear, but miraculously they have been silent. Last week, someone said that it seemed like the replacement officials “favored” the home team, like they were afraid that calling a penalty against a home team would result in negative consequences. There may be some truth in this, but it wasn’t that way for the Rams last week…the officials made some huge blunders by way of bad calls or non-calls between the Rams and Redskins.
I’m not going to blame the replacement officials for our loss to Chicago this past weekend. Heck, no. Sure, their lack of knowledge of the rulebook, as well as the inability to actually see what happens on the field, did affect the game. But, as we know all too well, what caused the Rams to lose was poor play, poor execution, and facing a team that just flat outplayed us. Still, there were some things that stood out this week as bright spots.
1. The Rams are one of the luckiest teams in the NFL. No, seriously. Name me one other team that has two rookies that are, for lack of a better word, perfect. G-Zee and Hekker are both better than many veterans out there today. I don’t know what made the front office take a look at these two kids, but I will be the first to say that the Rams scouting staff hit the nail on the head when they found these guys.
2. We are one week closer to having the regular officials back on the field. I’m not saying that they are perfect – in no way, shape, or form – in reality, most of the time they make as many mistakes as the replacements. The difference is that the real officials at least know the rule book, they know what to watch for, and they don’t have to ask each other where the 53 yard line is before assessing a penalty of 4-1/2 meters.
3. Courtland Finnegan. Does he play dirty? Compared to the “finesse” we used to have on defense for the past few years, yes. In reality, no. He just plays harder than we are used to – and harder than other teams are used to seeing out of the Rams. He brought a fire to our defense that we haven’t seen in years.
4. Janoris Jenkins is another “fire bearer” on our defense. As a rookie, he gets burned, but he is learning quickly what is needed and what to avoid.
5. The Rams aren’t giving up. For the past few seasons, I know I have been used to seeing the Rams leave the field at halftime, and when they come back they look flat, don’t make any adjustments, and sort of hang around waiting for the game clock to expire. Even when the game was down to the last few minutes, the Rams still tried…they knew they really didn’t have much of a chance, but still they TRIED.
6. San Francisco lost – that means we don’t have to hear how great they are. That also means the psychological barrier has been broken. The Rams won’t be going into the games against the whiners with a defeatist attitude. We still have 13 more games…and the Rams know the final chapter has not been written, so we CAN make the playoffs…IF they get their crap together.
7. I will catch all kinds of crap for this, but I am going to mention the O-line. Yes, they did allow six sacks. Yes, they did break down. But, you tell me an O-line that is made up of backups that could keep Peppers, Idonije, and Paea under control for an entire game.
8. We came out of this game without any major injuries. While it is obvious that Jackson isn’t 100%, and Bradford did get slammed too much, we didn’t have to watch helplessly while someone got carted off the field.
9. We have a home game this week. Some of you lucky ducks will be sitting at the EJD, cheering on the team. I’ll be sitting in my living room yelling at the TV because of the stupid mistakes the officials make…but the good side of playing at home is that the Rams will have the 12th man. There’s something about that dome that makes this Rams team play harder – like they want to win for the home crowd – and will do whatever they have to so it will happen.
10. Lastly – the Rams have a great HC. He didn’t put together a game plan that resulted in a win this week, but after watching the game twice, I saw the way he inspired the players. They respect him. They know he can change the team – and already has. They know he will get them deep into the playoffs, and it will be sooner rather than later.
Going into a game with a Seahawks team this week, the Rams will be facing a team that thinks they can play sloppy, have a blind, incompetent replacement official make a bad call, and come out on top. I have read some comments by Seahawks fans – they seem to be the only ones who think that the refs were right on that call. Everyone else knows it was an interception – so get ready for a lot of whining and name calling. This isn’t going to be just a “chippy” game. This is going to be a knock-down, dirty fight…but the Rams will win.
Re: Sam's Silver Linings - Week Three
Thanks Sam. I needed that.
Re: Sam's Silver Linings - Week Three
Actually, name me an offensive line that can hold up against Peppers, Melton (You forgot him, he is a top 5 DT at collapsing the pocket and applying pressure... Played HB IN COLLEGE!), Paea, McClellin, and Idonije.