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Thread: St. Louis Rams Team Report
St. Louis Rams Team Report
—The coming week will be difficult because of the lack of health for the team's running backs.
RB Steven Jackson had 17 yards on seven attempts and was obviously limited. Backup Antonio Pittman aggravated a leg injury that caused him to miss three games earlier this season, and he also pulled a hamstring on the first play of the game for the Rams after a goal-line stand. He had 12 yards on 10 carries. Aside from Jackson's long run of 10 yards, he had 7 yards on six attempts, and without Pittman's 9-yard long run, he had three yards on nine attempts.
The Rams gambled having just three running backs active, and it backfired after Travis Minor suffered a concussion in the first quarter.
Said Jackson, "I don't think I furthered the injury, but I was unable to play at a high speed. I hate to use an injury as an excuse. I didn't play like myself. I am very down right now. I did not help my team out. I am really disappointed and it is something that I am going to use as motivation for the rest of the season."
As for Pittman's hamstring injury, he said, "I tried to burst and felt it pop. It was something I felt the whole game but I'm going to get some treatment and get ready for the Jets. It's football, things happen, you're going to have injuries. You just got to play through them and keep fighting. I strongly believe that as long as I'm walking I'm playing and going to give it my all."
Monday, coach Jim Haslett said Jackson will have to have at least one full day of practice at regular tempo for him to play next Sunday against the Jets.
"We can't go into a game not knowing if he is going to play or not," Haslett said, saying that the game plan included different packages for Jackson, Antonio Pittman and Travis Minor.
Jackson was on the field for the Rams' first play of the game, from the 1-yard line, but then came off before the play was run.
Haslett explained, "The play call was more of an outside cutback play and he caught everybody off guard because he did not think he was ready for that play. That is why Antonio Pittman came in."
—Once again, criticism of QB Marc Bulger has been loud and vocal.
Said Bulger, "If you want to put the blame on me, well, I don't care. Oh, I know everyone's going to say it's my fault. They're going to say I'm throwing off my back foot or crap like that. But you know what? I don't care what people say. All I care about are what my teammates and my family says. Everyone else? I don't give a damn."
Haslett was asked if there was a point against Arizona where putting quarterback Trent Green in the game was considered. "We talked about it," Haslett said. "We thought it would be better to keep going the way we were going. We wanted to see if we could score a touchdown, which we did."
—Left guard Jacob Bell left the game in the third quarter after apparently being hit in the stomach. Monday, Haslett said Bell should be OK for this week. ... Wide receiver/kick returner Dante Hall left in the third quarter with a sprained ankle. Diagnosed as a high ankle sprain Monday, Hall will be placed on injured reserve Tuesday along with WR Drew Bennett, who hasn't played since breaking a bone in his foot in the season opener. Stanley returned punts and kickoffs after that ... Linebacker Chris Draft broke a bone in his foot and will not play this week. Normally a three-to-six-week injury, Haslett said, "Knowing Chris, he'll be back in two or three because that's the kind of kid he is."
DE Eric Moore was undergoing an MRI for a neck or spinal injury. ... Minor will have a neuropsych test done Tuesday related to the concussion he suffered Sunday. ... RG Richie Incognito suffered a bruised knee, but should be able to play this week.
—Of the Rams' 231 yards, 80 came on the play to Stanley and another 32 came on three Bulger runs. Their other 51 plays totaled 119 yards.
—Arizona running back Tim Hightower, in his first NFL start, rushed for 109 yards on 22 carries, mainly because the Rams had no answer for counter plays. Six of Hightower's runs totaled 105 yards (11, 12, 17 (twice), 18 and 30). His other 16 attempts totaled 4 yards and none were longer than three yards. He had four attempts for minus yardage, and six for zero or one yard.
—When the Rams defeated Washington and Dallas, they won the field position battle, mostly because of takeaways. They had no takeaways against Arizona, and their field position was awful all afternoon. Their first 11 possessions started at their own 23 or less, with five inside the 20. When the Rams stopped Arizona at its own 8-yard line in the fourth quarter, Stanley returned the ensuing punt 19 yards to the Cardinals' 31-yard line. That was the first time all game that the Rams ran a play from Arizona territory.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
—WR Drew Bennett, who has been sidelined since suffering a broken bone in his foot in the season opener, will be placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
—WR/KR Dante Hall, who suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday against Arizona, will be placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
—RB Antonio Pittman aggravated a leg injury Sunday against Arizona and also pulled a hamstring. He has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Jets.
—LB Chris Draft suffered a broken bone in his foot against Arizona and will be out at least two weeks and perhaps as long as six weeks. Quinton Culberson will start in his absence.
—LB David Vobora will be signed from the practice squad for depth at linebacker after Chris Draft broke a bone in his foot Sunday.
—S Todd Johnson, who has missed two games with a bruised kidney, has been cleared to play Sunday against the Jets.
—RB Travis Minor, who suffered a concussion against Arizona Sunday, will undergo a neuropsych test Tuesday to see if he has a chance of playing this week.
REPORT CARD VS. CARDINALS
PASSING OFFENSE: D — QB Marc Bulger completed less than 50 percent of his passes, and the only think that kept this from being a failing grade was an 80-yard touchdown pass to WR Derek Stanley. Bulger had an interception returned for a touchdown and lost a fumble on a sack. Aside from the Stanley touchdown, Bulger's other 15 completions totaled 106 yards.
RUSHING OFFENSE: F — Bulger's 32 yards on scrambles can't be included because those were actually pass plays. Injuries to each active running — Steven Jackson, Antonio Pittman and Travis Minor — made it virtually impossible to run. Jackson and Pittman combined for 29 yards on 17 carries, and without each player's long gain (10 and nine, respectively), their other 15 attempts totaled 10 yards.
PASS DEFENSE: D — It was solid early, but missed opportunities and big plays led to another big day for former Rams QB Kurt Warner. He completed 23 of 34 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns, with a passer rating of 120.0. Four players — WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, TE Jerame Tuman and RB J.J. Arrington — had catches of at least 33 yards.
RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus — Again, big plays were the Rams' Achilles' heel. RB Tim Hightower had 109 yards on 22 carries, and 105 came on six runs. Even Arrington got into the act, with 62 yards on six attempts, as the Cardinals rushed for 177 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Overlooked in the team's dreadful loss was the return of very good special teams play. Only the return game struggled, although Derek Stanley had a 19-yard punt return. P Donnie Jones averaged 50.4 yards with a net of 48.3, as he dropped two punts inside the 20. The other five were returned for a total of 15 yards. The Cardinals averaged just 18.0 yards on three kickoff returns.
COACHING: B — It's impossible to blame coaching for issues on offense traced to having no running game, and not being able to stop one of the best offenses in the NFL. Jim Haslett won two replay challenges on plays where it's hard to believe the officials got them wrong to begin with. The team competed in the second half despite trailing 24-7 at halftime.
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