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Thread: Ugly, yet 'Super' win for Rams
Ugly, yet 'Super' win for Rams
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Nov. 19 2007
SAN FRANCISCO — As the Rams and ***** left the field Sunday, following a
less-than-titanic struggle, two fans summed things up best.
"You (stink)!" the ***** fan said.
"You (stink), too!" the Rams fan replied.
True, but somebody had to win Sunday, and on this day it was the Rams. In
recent years, the Rams have lost more than their share of ugly games against
San Francisco. But not this time.
A goal-line interception by safety Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe on the final play
of the day secured a 13-9 victory for the Rams. Points were hard enough to come
by Sunday — much less style points. So the Rams were offering no apologies for
the quality of play as they left the Bay Area with their second victory in a
"You would've thought we won the Super Bowl after we came in here," linebacker
Pisa Tinoisamoa said in the visitors' locker room. "I've been here five years,
and I've only won here one other time. Whenever we can beat the Niners, it's
always big. I'm not a big fan of the Niners."
So in some sense, the rivalry lives on. Ten games into the season, the Rams
finally posted the 500th victory in franchise history. "Only five other teams
have done that in the history of the National Football League, which is very
significant," coach Scott Linehan said.
Never mind that the Rams had been sitting on 498 victories for two months in
dropping their first eight contests. But they have won two straight, which by
definition constitutes a winning "streak."
"It's a short one, but it's a winning streak," Atogwe said.
And only because the St. Louis defense kept San Francisco's 32nd-ranked offense
out of the end zone.
The offensive momentum gained in a 37-29 victory over New Orleans last week
carried over to Monster Park — for a while, anyway. The Rams marched 79 yards
on nine plays for a touchdown to open the game.
Running back Steven Jackson provided almost half of that yardage on one carry —
a 37-yard gain to the San Francisco 19. Two plays later, Marc Bulger passed 15
yards to Isaac Bruce. The gain moved Bruce past Rams receivers coach Henry
Ellard into sixth place on the NFL's career list with 13,778 reception yards.
On the next play, Bulger threw 3 yards to Torry Holt for a TD and a 7-0 St.
Despite dominating the statistics and time of possession, the Rams managed only
a field goal the rest of the half for a 10-3 lead. In the second half, the Rams
offense almost went comatose, managing a mere 38 yards and two first downs.
It took a 29-yard punt return by Dante Hall — playing in his first game since
Oct. 7 — to set up the Rams' only points of the second half, on a Jeff Wilkins
field goal with 10:22 to play. But the 13-3 lead almost shriveled away to
nothing, thanks to a pair of Joe Nedney field goals in the closing minutes, and
a last-ditch drive by the *****.
With their offense bogged down, the Rams did something they have rarely done in
recent years — rely on their defense.
"We leaned on them for sure, especially the second half," Linehan said.
Right down to the last play. Quarterback Trent Dilfer, starting in place of
injured Alex Smith, spiked the ball on the Rams' 21 with 3 seconds left. The
Rams called a timeout to make sure they had their defense set up properly.
"I told everybody to get back to the goal line — that it's got to be a jump
ball," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "Just make the quarterback step
up and loft it up, and somebody's got to make a play."
In this case it was Atogwe, who has shown a knack for playmaking in two seasons
as the Rams' starting free safety. St. Louis sent a four-man rush at Dilfer and
lined up its other seven defenders in zone coverage across the goal line.
"Dilfer did a great job scanning the field," Atogwe said. "But at some point in
time, he's got to look to the receiver he's going to throw the ball to."
That receiver was Darrell Jackson, the former Seattle Seahawk, in the middle of
the field at the goal line. But Atogwe stepped in front of Jackson for his
team-high third interception of the season.
"I was blessed to be in that position," Atogwe said. "And just broke on the
ball and caught it."
As a result, the Rams won the 116th renewal of this old West Coast rivalry,
claiming their first victory in San Francisco since 2004. Both teams are 2-8,
but the ***** have lost eight in a row after opening the season with two
victories, including a 17-16 verdict Sept. 16 in St. Louis. The Rams,
meanwhile, are on that winning "streak."
"It's great," cornerback Tye Hill said. "This is a new season for us, and we're
trying to run with it like that. In the NFL, there's a lot of games like this.
You've got to find a way to win. And we found a way to win."
Re: Ugly, yet 'Super' win for Rams
0-8 the 1st half of the season and 2-0 in the 2nd half. I guess it's a good way to make something positive out of a very disappointing season?
Re: Ugly, yet 'Super' win for Rams
13-9 is a victory in the NFL?! Pathetic! From a stunning win the previous week, to oh-so-close to losing it. It would have been a true victory, 13-9, if it was against an Elite team like the Pats or Colts, but agianst Frisco its an embarresment. If nothing else, it just shows how far the Rams have fallen
Re: Ugly, yet 'Super' win for RamsJust Fix It
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