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Second-half collapse fits Rams pattern
By Bernie Miklasz
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Sep. 29 2008
On what could have been his last day on the job, Scott Linehan walked out of
the Edward Jones Dome with his head up. His mood was surprisingly chipper. He
wore a flowered shirt, Hawaiian style. The luau wardrobe didn't seem to fit the
The Rams had lost another one, this time getting outscored 25-0 in the second
half and falling 31-14 to the visiting Buffalo Bills. In case anyone is still
keeping score, the Rams are 0-4 on the season, 0-8 since last Dec. 9, and 3-17
under Linehan since the beginning of the 2007 season. And these contests aren't
competitive; the Rams have lost the last 17 by an average of 18 points.
This defeat should have served to drop the black funeral crepe on the sad,
futile Linehan era. But as of 10 p.m. Sunday night, Rams executives were still
gathered in a hotel suite, invited by team owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia
Rodriguez, to decide Linehan's fate.
Asked about how this loss would impact his future, Linehan answered in an easy,
straightforward way. He may have been roiling inside, but he wasn't about to
allow the anger and frustration to reach the surface.
"I'm not concerned about that," Linehan said. "I'm going to continue to do the
best I can do. That's the only thing I can control. It's what I've done my
whole life, and it's what I'm going to do the rest of my life."
In the locker room, Linehan paused to stop by Trent Green's locker.
"Thanks for battling out there," Linehan told the quarterback.
There wasn't much interaction as players went about their postgame rounds,
largely ignoring the head coach.
The afternoon summed up a lot of what we've seen during Linehan's time as head
coach. It's been puzzling from the outset. For once, the players came out
flying. Perhaps they were invigorated by Linehan's lineup changes or just fed
up with the losing, and the controversies.
Routinely beating the physical Bills to the punch, and with the tricked-up
offense putting on a little razzle dazzle, the Rams outgained their opponents
210-96 and took a 14-6 lead into halftime. That's when their world began
spinning out of control again.
By the end of the third quarter, the Bills were charging and only down by a
point, 14-13. In the opening minute of the fourth quarter, Green was
intercepted by Jabari Greer, who brought it back 33 yards for the go-ahead
A few minutes later, Bills quarterback Trent Edwards hooked up with wideout Lee
Evans on a 39-yard touchdown pass. Evans raced down the left side and jetted by
new Rams cornerback Jason Craft. After a two-point conversion, the Bills were
And the Rams were done. The NFL's weakest team was wiped out over the final two
quarters. The players went after it hard for Linehan in the first half, then
came unhinged as soon as the momentum turned on them.
During the 17 losses in this 3-17 descent into failure, the Rams have been
outscored 294-83 in the second half, 162-30 in the fourth quarter.
A profile in courage?
And the game's two biggest moments weren't lost on those who have scrutinized
Linehan's erratic behavior this week.
Green was the coach's hand-picked quarterback for this game, inserted after
Linehan benched starter Marc Bulger -- apparently against the wishes of many
Rams players and offensive coordinator Al Saunders.
Craft was signed to replace cornerback Fakhir Brown, who was abruptly and
unexpectedly cut by Linehan on Wednesday. Brown, the Rams' best cover
cornerback a year ago, is a favorite of Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
And Linehan and Haslett are constant sparring partners at Rams Park.
The two moves blew up on Linehan.
And you know what they say about payback ...
"You hate that anyone has to take the blame," running back Steven Jackson said.
"It's the ultimate team sport. It not only starts in the locker room. It's just
unfortunate that, this team that has so much talent is kind of just still
searching for ourselves right now."
The chaos continued, with Jackson hollering at Saunders after the game. The
bosses convened meetings — as if there's something actually worthy of debate,
given the eight-game losing streak and the hideous 3-17 crash that makes this
the worst team in St. Louis NFL history.
Indeed, the Rams are searching, just as Jackson suggests.
They may be searching for a new coach.
And a new general manager...
And a new team president ...
And a new owner ...
And in a few years, maybe even a new home.
I know that sounds dramatic. But on days like this it's difficult to be
-09-29-2008 #2Registered User
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Re: Second-half collapse fits Rams pattern
Good luck with your new HC. Hazlett has to be better than Linehan ever was just as our new OC Turk Schonert is better than our old clueless OC Steve Fairchild and that has made all the difference.
Re: Second-half collapse fits Rams patternour old clueless OC Steve Fairchild"Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod
Re: Second-half collapse fits Rams patternBrown, the Rams' best cover cornerback a year ago, is a favorite of Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett."Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod
Re: Second-half collapse fits Rams pattern"Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod
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