By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Tuesday, Nov. 27 2007

Desperate times calls for desperate measures. So with the not-so-grand total of
three practices under his belt, Todd Steussie started at right guard for the
Rams on Sunday against Seattle and played every snap.

"Todd did OK," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Monday. "He was a little
bit rusty, but for the most part, I thought he played pretty well for the first
game back."

Steussie played well enough that he will remain in the starting lineup Sunday
against Atlanta.

"He still plays at a higher level than anyone else that we have right now at
the right-guard position," Olson said. "So he'll continue to play there."

That is a telling indication of the state of the Rams' injury-ravaged
offensive line. Steussie, who turns 37 Saturday, was all but excavated from the
tar pits to help out.

Until last Wednesday's practice, he had had no football activity since Aug. 30,
when he suffered a fractured foot in the exhibition finale against Kansas City
— an injury that required surgery.

Health-wise, Steussie came out of the Seattle game OK.

"Conditioning was good," he said. "I had no problems. The (foot) was a little
sore at the end of the day. But nothing too bad. I had a little bit of rust
from the standpoint of a little technique stuff."

UPON FURTHER REVIEW

If he had the chance, coach Scott Linehan almost certainly would have thrown
the challenge flag when running back Steven Jackson was ruled down at the 1 on
a third-down run with 30 seconds remaining Sunday. But with less than 2 minutes
left in either half, plays can be reviewed only by a "replay assistant" — a
league official.

"You're completely at the mercy of the booth official," Linehan said. "He
either sees it as a reviewable play or not. … They take the (challenge) flag
out of your pocket."

The league is obsessed with length of games, and Linehan thinks that's one
reason why there aren't many booth reviews. He also found it curious that there
was a booth review of Gus Frerotte's quarterback sneak three plays earlier, but
not on Jackson's play.

Television replays seemed to show that Jackson was down before he reached over
the goal line. But it looked like the ball should have been placed a foot or
two closer to the goal line instead of right on the 1. If that had happened,
Linehan said he might have called a quarterback sneak or contemplated a couple
of different running plays.

INJURY UPDATE

— DB Eric Bassey has a torn knee ligament, is out this week, and could be out
for the season.

— WR Drew Bennett aggravated a right hamstring injury against Seattle, but
finished the game.

— WR Isaac Bruce has a sprained left hand; his status is uncertain for Atlanta.

— QB Marc Bulger will take a neuropsych test later this week to determine if he
can return from a concussion.

— LB Brandon Chillar has been slowed by a left-ankle injury, and could be
limited in practice.

— DE James Hall has a high-ankle sprain and probably will miss the Atlanta
game.

— S Hanik Milligan has a broken hand and might need surgery.

— C-G Brett Romberg aggravated a high-ankle sprain against Seattle and is
questionable for Atlanta.

— LB Pisa Tinoisamoa has a torn knee ligament, is out for Atlanta, and probably
out for the season.

THE STAT

The Rams are 4-13 against NFC West opponents since the start of the 2005 season.

QUOTABLE

"I think that's why they keep winning the NFC West."

— Jackson, on Seattle's ability to win the close ones against the Rams.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Rams haven't played Atlanta since the divisional playoff round of the 2004
season, and would like to forget that contest — a 47-17 drubbing in the Georgia
Dome. This year, the Falcons have struggled without quarterback Michael Vick
and are tied with San Francisco for the second-worst record in the NFC (3-8)