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St. Louis Rams' losing streak reaches 16 games
St. Louis Rams' losing streak reaches 16 games
BY JIM THOMAS
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For a few brief moments Sunday afternoon, sunshine broke through the dark cloud that has been hovering over this franchise for a full calendar year.
Rams defensive end Leonard Little pawed at the short pass in the flat intended for Jaguars fullback Greg Jones, and then got the football fully in his grasp. He sprinted to the end zone and dived in for a dramatic touchdown just before quarterback David Garrard could knock him out of bounds. Josh Brown's extra point gave the visitors a 17-13 lead with a mere 4 minutes 36 seconds to play at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.
"You're thinking, 'It's about time something good happened for us,'" tight end Randy McMichael said. "A guy like Leonard, who's out there sick and the oldest guy on this football team, and he just makes the biggest play of the year for us."
Little's 36-yard interception return was the kind of play that can change a game, even change a season.
But no. Not this time. Not this team. Little has been sick since Friday with strep throat. As for the Rams, they're sick and tired of losing.
Despite leading for the first 3 1/2 quarters, and then regaining the lead on Little's first TD since 2004, the Rams couldn't seal the deal. Jacksonville's Josh Scobee kicked a 36-yard field goal 7 minutes into overtime, giving the Jaguars a 23-20 victory.
"This one probably hurts more than any of them," McMichael said. "Not being able to close it out, that's the most disappointing thing."
So the agony of defeats continues. Seasons change, coaches change, the result doesn't. The Rams are 0-6 this season. Overall, their franchise record and league-worst losing streak is at 16.
Happy anniversary, Rams Nation. Today marks the one-year anniversary of the team's last victory — a 34-14 triumph over Dallas on Oct. 19, 2008.
Obviously, rookie head coach Steve Spagnuolo has been at the helm for only six of those losses, but even he is running out of things to say to his players.
"I don't have any magical words," Spagnuolo said. "I just asked them to hang together, hang tough."
Easier said than done after so many setbacks. And from Steven Jackson's vantage point, they all make you feel awful.
"It don't matter how you lose a game," Jackson said. "It really doesn't make you feel any better. At least (not) for me. At the end of the day, we're 0-6. I can't say, 'We almost had that one, we're 0-5 1/2.' A loss is a loss."
Things started out promisingly for the Rams. Marc Bulger, making his first start since suffering a shoulder injury Sept. 27 against Green Bay, went five for five on the opening drive, including a 17-yard TD pass to Donnie Avery.
It marked the first time all season the Rams had scored on a game-opening possession. But Avery left with a hip injury early in the second quarter, and when he exited, so did the Rams' ability to stretch the field.
"It definitely takes our explosiveness down the field away," Jackson said. "But I think the guys that came in did a heck of a job because we're pretty limited at that position."
Without Avery, the Rams were left with only Keenan Burton, Danny Amendola and Tim Carter at the wide receiver position. Amendola has been a Ram for less than a month; Carter, for three practices (although he was with the team in training camp).
The result was predictable. Without Avery, the Jaguars slowly applied a vise grip to the St. Louis offense, jumping on the short and intermediate pass routes, and giving Jackson plenty of attention. The Rams had only four first downs and 103 yards in the second half.
"Every team deals with injuries," Bulger said. "It's just up to us to plug in and do a better job. There's teams that are deeper than others. We're a young team, and we ask a lot of our young guys. It might not be fair to them. But it's the NFL, and no one's going to feel sorry for you."
True, but Avery's injury was the latest example of how this team is snake-bit in '09. Playing against a Jacksonville team with next to no pass rush, and with one of the worst pass defenses in the league, this was to be the game where the Rams got their aerial attack going. Especially since Avery appeared to be finally hitting his stride after a rough start to the season. But no — not meant to be.
"I can't explain that," Spagnuolo said. "The good Lord's got a reason for it. We'll find out."
The Rams found out Sunday that their defense couldn't hold up down the stretch. After Little's TD, the Jaguars marched 75 yards for a TD late in the fourth quarter, and then 62 yards for the game-winning field goal in overtime. In between, the Rams managed only a 27-yard field goal by Brown with 4 seconds to play to force overtime at 20-20.
"As a team we have to learn how to win," Jackson said. "We have to learn how to finish these games off."
They haven't learned how to do so now for 365 days — and counting.
Re: St. Louis Rams' losing streak reaches 16 games
if we don't beat detroit after we play IND this week, expect this streak to reach minimum of 20 games lol.
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