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  • Dome-ination:

    By Jim Thomas

    Then: From 1999-2004, the Rams won 43 of 53 games at the Edward Jones Dome
    Now: Rams are winless at the dome this year and have lost 12 of their past 16

    Over a period of six seasons, from 1999 through their last playoff season — 2004 — the Rams won 43 of 53 home games.

    There was no tougher place to play in the National Football League. You could almost see defenders' knees buckle during pregame introductions as the Rams ran out to the guitar riffs of "Kashmir," the Led Zeppelin rock classic.

    They don't play that song any more at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams don't win there any more either — at least not lately. Since the middle of the 2005 season, the Rams have lost 12 of 16 home contests.

    They are winless at home this season — losing to Carolina, San Francisco, Arizona, and Cleveland. A loss Sunday against visiting Seattle would match the longest home losing streak for the Rams since the move to St. Louis in 1995. (Dick Vermeil's squad lost its last five home games of the '97 campaign.)

    No wonder the Rams have had trouble selling out the stadium lately. Of course, the Rams can begin to change all that, starting with Sunday's game against NFC West rival Seattle. A loss would eliminate the Rams from NFC West title consideration (though they would remain mathematically alive for a wild-card berth.)

    A win would extend Rams winning streak to three, no mean feat considering the team's franchise-worst 0-8 start. Just as importantly, it would be the first home victory for Rams fans since last Christmas Eve against Washington.

    "We definitely want to give that to them," linebacker Chris Draft said.

    In return, Draft is asking for a little help from the stands.

    "I asked the other day. I asked the fans for three false-start penalties," Draft said. "That means they've got to get loud. Seattle, you know, they've got their 12th Man. Last time we went there, they had Ichiro with a pink scarf on — what was it, purple? — getting the crowd up."

    Ichiro Suzuki, the Seattle Mariners' star outfielder, raised the "12th Man" flag at Qwest Field in pregame ceremonies, getting the crowd fired up for a 33-6 drubbing of the visiting Rams on Oct. 21.

    Draft doesn't want a "12th man" helping the Rams from the stands Sunday — he wants about 65,000 men, women, and children.

    "If all St. Louis gets in that stadium, it's going to be deafening," Draft said. "I want three (false) starts. It can be more than that. But I want three false starts."

    Three or so Rams touchdowns wouldn't hurt either in a game that has met NFL sellout requirements, and will be televised locally (KTVI-Channel 2).

    "Home field is always so much better when you're winning," tight end Randy McMichael said. "Especially when our town is not a big football town. This is a baseball town; everybody knows that.

    "And in order for it to be a football town, you have to win. We haven't done a good job of doing that at home, but we've got to find a way to get the fans excited about Rams football, and hopefully, this week will start it."

    Easier said than done against the Seahawks (6-4), who have won three of their past four and appear to be gaining a bead on their fourth straight NFC West title. The Seahawks scored a season-high 30 points last week against Chicago and bring the NFL's ninth-ranked offense to the dome.

    The Rams' improving defense better get used to it, because four of their final six opponents were ranked in the top 10 in total offense entering the week. Besides Seattle, Green Bay was fourth, Cincinnati fifth, and Pittsburgh 10th.

    The Rams have yielded only 75 yards rushing — combined — in their past two games. With a big assist from the St. Louis offense, which has hogged the clock lately, the Rams' defense allowed fewer than 100 yards through three quarters against both New Orleans and San Francisco. Things got a little dicey in the fourth quarters of those contests, with the Rams struggling to sit on leads. But there's a growing confidence on the defensive side of the ball.

    "I felt like last week (against San Francisco), we did a good job of playing team defense," linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said. "Guys were coming in from all angles and playing well. So I think we're definitely gelling."

    But the Rams have lost five straight in the series with Seattle, and last month's contest in the Pacific Northwest was a low point of the 0-8 nightmare.

    "It seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong that game," McMichael said. "It was really a pathetic showing on our part as an offense."

    Mirroring the Rams' problems at home lately has been struggles against the NFC West. Before last week's 13-9 victory in San Francisco, the Rams had lost 12 of their past 15 games against the West.

    Perhaps the victory at Monster Park signified the beginning of a "payback tour."

    "It felt good, definitely, to get like a piece of that back," Tinoisamoa said.

    On Sunday, the Rams would like a piece of the Seahawks — for the first time since 2004.

    "Yeah, we owe 'em a lot," Tinoisamoa said. "And it's been a while since we won. But they're a tough opponent."

  • #2
    Re: Dome-ination:

    Originally posted by RamWraith View Post
    By Jim Thomas

    Over a period of six seasons, from 1999 through their last playoff season — 2004 — the Rams won 43 of 53 home games.

    There was no tougher place to play in the National Football League. You could almost see defenders' knees buckle during pregame introductions as the Rams ran out to the guitar riffs of "Kashmir," the Led Zeppelin rock classic.

    They don't play that song any more at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams don't win there any more either — at least not lately. Since the middle of the 2005 season, the Rams have lost 12 of 16 home contests.
    How about Led Zzeppelin's "Been a long time since I Rock 'n Rolled" for pregame introductions, because it's been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time....Yes it has!


    Related Topics


    • RamWraith
      Race for NFC West is on ... if Rams win
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas

      SEATTLE — To have any realistic chance of winning the NFC West title, don't the Rams have to win Sunday at Qwest Field?

      Rams receiver Torry Holt took on the question like he does defensive backs: Head on, and with purpose.

      "Absolutely, we have to win this game," Holt said. "We have to win this game to have a realistic shot of keeping this season alive. We need to win this game to have a realistic shot of having any type of confidence, any type of drive, to finish this season."

      That's about as blunt as you can make it. Then again, why tiptoe around the obvious?

      Just 2½ games ago, the Rams appeared poised to get over the hump as a football team and establish themselves not only as an NFC West contender, but as a legitimate NFC title contender.

      At halftime of their Oct. 15 home game with these same Seattle Seahawks, the Rams had a 4-1 record and a 21-7 lead. The offense was on target, the defense was clicking. It was all coming together at just the right time.

      But they got smacked down in the second half, with the help of a 10-second runoff that wasn't, and a spirit-crushing 54-yard field goal by Josh Brown as time expired. The result was a 30-28 Seattle victory, and the Rams haven't been the same since.

      Following their bye week, the Rams dropped contests to San Diego and Kansas City. The promise of 4-1 has become the desperation of 4-4. A Rams victory Sunday would put both the Rams and the Seahawks at 5-4, and the race is on. A Rams loss would put the Seahawks at 6-3 and the Rams in the rear-view mirror at 4-5.

      "We'd certainly like to be in a better position that we are now," coach Scott Linehan said. "You never want to lose a game. ... "

      Much less three in a row. But here they are. When the Rams were in the midst of the three-game winning streak that pushed their record to 4-1, Linehan cautioned about overreacting to the team's good fortune. Now that things have gone south, he's still preaching the same message.

      Or as Rams receiver Isaac Bruce succinctly put it: "When we were on the winning streak, we didn't allow our heads to swell. So our heads won't shrink losing three games."

      Maybe so, but it seems clear that the team's spirits are sagging. A message written on the locker room greaseboard at Rams Park reads: "Get the swagger back!"

      All week, Linehan stressed the importance of practicing with more intensity and tempo, because he wants the team playing that way Sunday. To even casual observers, it seemed obvious that wasn't the case at the start of the San Diego and Kansas City games.

      The Rams trailed 14-0 late in the first quarter in San Diego two weeks ago, and were down 17-0 early in the second...
      -11-12-2006, 05:35 AM
    • RamWraith
      Road show will impact Rams' fate
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      Of the Post-Dispatch
      Monday, Nov. 15 2004

      The Rams will be home for the holidays, closing the regular season with games
      against Philadelphia (Dec. 27) and the New York Jets (Jan. 2).

      But if they are to make the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons, they
      must get something done on the road, ASAP. That's because the only time the
      Rams play in the Edward Jones Dome until after Christmas is Dec. 5, against San

      Sunday's game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in suburban Buffalo begins a string of
      four road games in five contests for the Rams - a stretch that will largely
      make or break their playoff chances.

      "It's a dangerous thing to talk about," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "I think
      the more you talk about it, the more the players get the idea that you don't
      think you can win on the road."

      In other words, the more Martz talks about the difficulties of winning on the
      road, the more the players are prone to start thinking about ... how tough it
      is to win on the road.

      "You just prepare and go play," Martz said. "That's what we did in Seattle and
      San Francisco. And you just don't pay much attention to it."

      The Rams are 2-2 on the road this year, with the victories coming in October in
      Seattle and San Francisco.

      "You know Seattle was probably as loud a crowd as we've ever played in front
      of," Martz said. "And we handled it very well."

      Well, at least they did after falling behind 24-7 at halftime. The Rams rallied
      for a 33-27 overtime triumph.

      "I think the younger players will take their lead off our veterans," Martz
      said. "I think they know how to respond. We talk to them about the environment
      that they'll walk into, and then put it to rest."

      No "St. Louis" Rams playoff team has finished a regular season with a losing
      road record:

      Last season's NFC West championship team went 4-4 away from home.

      The '99 Super Bowl championship team, and the 2000 wild- card squad,
      finished 5-3 on the road.

      The '01 Super Bowl runner-up became only the sixth team since the
      1970 AFL-NFL merger to go unbeaten on the road. Not only was that Rams team 8-0
      away from home, it won those contests by an average of 14.6 points a game.

      "There's a significant number of (2001) players still on this team," Martz
      said. "Last year, I think we turned the corner when we went on the road and
      beat Chicago, particularly Pittsburgh, and Arizona in some really tight

      But can the Rams turn the corner this season?...
      -11-16-2004, 05:40 AM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Believe It Or Not: Rams In A Big Game
      by r8rh8rmike
      Believe it or not: Rams in a big game

      Friday, November 12, 2010

      At 2-2, the Rams headed north to Ford Field and suffered a humiliating 44-6 defeat in Detroit.

      At 3-3, the Rams headed south to Raymond James Stadium and squandered a 17-3 lead en route to a last-second 18-17 setback to Tampa Bay.

      Here we go again.

      At 4-4, the Rams head west to Candlestick Park to take on the San Francisco *****. For the third time this season the Rams will try climb above the .500 mark, a place they haven't been at any point in a season since midway through the 2006 campaign.

      Only this time, the stakes are higher because it's mid November and the Rams are leading the NFC West standings. A victory over San Francisco keeps the Rams in first place and just about puts a dagger into the ***** (2-6) who were consensus preseason favorites to win the West. A loss keeps the Rams on their nearly-season long treadmill of winning at home and losing on the road.

      "Division rival, a defense that I highly respect," running back Steven Jackson said of the *****. "I think they go about business the right way. It's one of those measuring sticks for us to see where we're at in our conference and our division. It's going to be a meaningful game. A lot of people who look at it from a point of view of (won-loss) records don't really appreciate the intensity that this game's going to bring Sunday."

      So yes, for the first time in a long time, the St. Louis Rams are playing in a big game. How long has it been? Consider Jackson's answer when asked about teaching the younger players how to win big games.

      "Well, it's something that I'm looking forward to learning," Jackson said. "I'm being honest right now."

      In seven NFL seasons, Jackson has yet to play on a team that finished the season with a winning record. And he has been part of only one playoff squad: the 2004 Rams squeaked in at 8-8 with a wild-card berth in Jackson's rookie season.

      "To have a big game, to learn how to win as the stakes get higher, as the season goes by, it's going to be fun," Jackson said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully we can keep ourselves in this position but everything goes back to what we've always been taught around here _ one week at a time, one game at a time. But if you continue to win, the stakes get bigger."

      Nine victories probably wins the NFC West this season, maybe eight. But you can't get to eight or nine until you first reach five. And that's the task at hand in Sunday's 3:15 p.m. (St. Louis time) kickoff.

      The Rams haven't won a road game in more than a calendar year, 378 days to be exact since winning 17-10 at Detroit on Nov. 1, 2009. As the road losses accumulate this season, the Rams have all but run out of words...
      -11-12-2010, 11:05 AM
    • Rambos
      Well, somebody has to win the NFC West
      by Rambos
      There is an increasingly strong possibility that the champion will have a losing record.

      Not only that, a 7-9 St. Louis or Seattle or San Francisco team could wind up hosting a first-round playoff game against a team that has won 10 or 11 games, maybe more.

      That potentially embarrassing scenario results from an NFL rule that guarantees each division champion a home playoff game.

      With five weeks to go, Seattle and St. Louis are tied for first at 5-6, with San Francisco 4-7 and Arizona 3-8.

      As Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck put it, "Yeah, it's weird."

      In games outside their division, NFC West teams are 10-20. Only St. Louis is respectable at 4-4. The division has played a big role in Kansas City's revival. The AFC West-leading Chiefs have beaten San Francisco 31-10, Arizona 31-13 and Seattle 42-24.

      The coaches of the four NFC West teams don't like to talk about the sorry state of their division. They're understandably consumed by trying to right their respective ships.

      "I don't know. It's hard for me to speculate on that," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said on Tuesday when asked if he thought the division winner would have a losing record.

      Whisenhunt's Cardinals, winners of the NFC West the past two seasons, are mired in a six-game losing streak and were embarrassed on national television in a 27-6 home loss to San Francisco on Monday night.

      "My focus right now is really worrying about what we do. As a Cardinal answer to a non-Cardinal question, I'm really worried about what we're going to do," Whisenhunt said. "I'm not worried about that right now. We have played all the three teams in our division and to me they have all been good football teams."

      To him maybe.

      Here is a look at the "contenders" and what they face to try to finish at least at .500.

      —The Rams: St. Louis could have the best shot. After going 6-42 the past three seasons and 1-15 last year, the Rams are on the rise under second-year coach Steve Spagnuolo and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. They play three of their last five against NFC West opponents. A sweep there and St. Louis could lose to Kansas City and New Orleans and still finish 8-8. It could come down to the regular-season finale at Seattle on Jan 2.

      —The Seahawks: Seattle has allowed 76 points in its last two games, losses at New Orleans and at home against Kansas City. On the positive side, the Seahawks have a home game against the Carolina Panthers, whose only win this season was against, of course, an NFC West foe — 23-20 over San Francisco. But the Seahawks have Atlanta at home and are at Tampa Bay. Seattle might have to sweep San Francisco and St. Louis to climb to .500.

      —The *****: San Francisco was the preseason favorite but started 0-5. The ***** have won...
      -11-30-2010, 06:03 PM
    • MauiRam
      Rams hope to end another streak ..
      by MauiRam
      BY JIM THOMAS • Thursday, September 30, 2010 12:10 am

      It has been so long since the Rams beat Seattle that, well, some Rams veterans have forgotten how long.

      Try the 2004 season.

      "Oh, wow," was cornerback Ron Bartell's reaction.

      It has been so long that ...

      — The entire Rams rookie class was in high school.

      — The Rams were the defending NFC West champions.

      — And sellouts, the kind where every ticket actually gets sold, happened every Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

      Since then, the Rams have lost 10 in a row to the Seahawks, who visit the dome Sunday for a noon kickoff. It's the second-longest losing streak to an opponent in Rams history, exceeded only by 17 consecutive losses to San Francisco from 1990-98.

      Only two players on the current roster have experienced a victory over Seattle as members of the Rams — long snapper Chris Massey and running back Steven Jackson.

      "They've just outplayed us the last couple years," Massey said. "We're working hard. Not all of the young guys know that they've won the last 10 games."

      Nor do all of them even care. When asked if the Seattle streak meant anything to him, rookie quarterback Sam Bradford said, "No. I mean, I haven't been here. Like I said, this is a new team. This is a fresh start. Obviously, we're going to play these guys twice this year and this is the first time."

      Steve Spagnuolo, a mere 0-2 against the Seahawks as Rams coach, brushed aside a question on the topic Wednesday, displaying typical coach's tunnel vision.

      "It wouldn't matter if we had won 10 games in a row, I would still want to beat them," Spagnuolo said. "So I'm just going to deal with this Sunday's game against Seattle and this particular 2010 Seattle team."

      That may be so, but if the Rams are going to claw their way back to respectability, they must start ending some streaks. On Sunday against Washington, they snapped a 10-game overall losing streak and ended their franchise-record 14-game home losing streak.

      This Sunday, they can not only end their 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks but also end a 15-game skid against NFC West foes dating back to November 2007.

      "Ten is a long streak, and I think we're primed to have our best game yet," said place-kicker Josh Brown. "We've had two games that we let go by (against Arizona and Oakland). We had one that we really played well last week (against Washington), and we still made a lot of mistakes. We've got a great opportunity against a good Seahawk team. Ten's a long run. But 10's enough."

      Brown is a double agent of sorts when it comes to this streak. He is in his third season with St. Louis and has been part of the last four Rams losses to Seattle. But before...
      -09-30-2010, 12:57 AM