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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    It wasn't stylish, but Rams were tough enough to win

    BY JEFF GORDON
    STLtoday.com Sports Columnist
    Monday, Sep. 26 2005

    After watching the Tennessee Titans smack the Rams around for a quarter of
    Sunday’s game, your cyber-correspondent was ready to invoke the dreaded “F”
    word to describe the home team.

    “Finesse.”

    The Titans rolled to a 10-0 lead and would have pushed that advantage to 17-0
    had they not suffered a holding penalty. Their defense poured through the Rams
    offensive line to punish quarterback Marc Bulger.

    Tennessee muscled up when it had the ball, too, pounding away with running back
    Chris Brown and passes to the tight ends. This looked like a typical AFC-NFC
    match-up -– or should we say, mismatch-up.

    On the first three Rams possessions, they ran 12 plays and gained zero yards.
    So much for the “Greatest Show on Turf.”

    “They took us to the woodshed offensively in that first quarter,” Rams coach
    Mike Martz said afterward. “They outhit us, they outdid everything. We couldn’t
    move the ball.”

    Your cyber-correspondent started thinking ahead to next Sunday’s game in New
    York. If the Rams fell to 1-2 by losing their home opener, what could they
    possible get down against Michael Strahan and the Giants at the Meadowlands?

    But two things happened to make Sunday’s harrowing 31-27 victory noteworthy:
    The defense stiffened, allowing the Rams to survive a four-turnover game by the
    sloppy offense.

    And big Alex Barron finally got into the lineup to solidify the offensive line,
    which was in the process of crumbling before he hit the field.

    The Rams showed considerable toughness in the second half of this game, a trait
    that should serve them well the rest of the way. They did not cave in after a
    mythical fumble -– on an incomplete swing pass to Steven Jackson -- gave the
    Titans an undeserved opportunity to crawl back into the game.

    This wasn’t a stylish victory, but it was hard-earned. The defense never
    allowed a long scoring drive.

    The Titans scored on “drives” of 53, 7, 33 and zero yards -– with the last
    Titans touchdown coming on defense after a Bulger fumble.

    Defensive ends Leonard Little, Anthony Hargrove and Brandon Green were solid.
    So were defensive tackles Ryan Pickett and Jimmy Kennedy. They all got after
    Titans quarterback Steve McNair.

    “They’re a good front four, that’s what they do,” Titans tackle Brad Hopkins
    told the Tennessean newspaper. “We did some things, but we could have kept
    (McNair) a lot cleaner than we did.”

    McNair agreed. “I got hit pretty good. They do a good job of pass rushing.”

    Linebackers Dexter Coakley and Chris Claiborne each had seven solo tackles,
    delivering the blows we seldom saw from Tommy Polley and Robert Thomas last
    season. They stuck their helmets in there and stuffed the run, holding the
    Titans to a 3.6-yard rushing average.

    The secondary held up, too, with safety Adam Archuleta making the game-changing
    interception and cornerback DeJuan Groce defending a well-thrown McNair pass
    into the end zone in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

    Offensively, the Rams were a different team once Barron tagged in for the
    overmatched Blaine Saipaia. His impressive debut will allow the Rams to resume
    grooming Saipaia to play guard once veterans Tom Nutten and Adam Timmerman
    reach the end.

    Rex Tucker can also move back inside once his injured leg heals. If Timmerman
    struggles going forward, Martz will have viable options to replace him at right
    guard.

    Suddenly that front wall looks far more imposing. Left defensive ends will no
    longer pound Bulger with a simple speed rush. Instead, defenses will have to
    confuse the rookies with stunts and blitzes.

    With Barron playing up front, defensive coordinators will have to work quite a
    bit harder to disrupt the Rams offense.

    The Rams are 2-1 heading to New York. They are a solid 2-1, too, having
    answered most of their major preseason questions.

    Now, if they could just clean up the turnovers to make these games less of a
    fire drill . . .


  2. #2
    onslaught11's Avatar
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    Re: It wasn't stylish, but Rams were tough enough to win

    The only people to blame for the game against the Titan being that close is the OFFENSE.

    As I figure it, the RAMS OFFENSE accounted for 20 of the 27 Titan points. With that help, who needs enemy.
    Last edited by onslaught11; -09-27-2005 at 10:00 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: It wasn't stylish, but Rams were tough enough to win

    the way I look at it. We won


  4. #4
    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: It wasn't stylish, but Rams were tough enough to win

    The way we've played on the road the previous two years, if you had told him that the Rams would be no worse than 2-2 after playing 3 of their first 4 games on the road, I'd take it.

    Now, the Rams have a chance to go 3-1 after next Sunday with a road game to NY. Too bad it isn't the Jets.

  5. #5
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Re: It wasn't stylish, but Rams were tough enough to win

    Too bad it isn't the Jets.
    Yeah that would be nice lol.

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