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Cincinnati plays keep-away, leaves Rams frustrated

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  • Cincinnati plays keep-away, leaves Rams frustrated

    By Jim Thomas
    Monday, Dec. 10 2007

    CINCINNATI — On a day when passing yards were a precious commodity, and the
    "offense" basically consisted of cornerback Fahkir Brown, the Rams still had a

    Trailing 16-10 with 5 minutes 3 seconds to play at Paul Brown Stadium, the Rams
    needed only to stop Cincinnati deep in Bengals territory, try to get good field
    position on a punt return. And with all three timeouts remaining ... who knows?

    But then came Rudi right. Rudi left. Rudi up the middle. Bengals running back
    Rudi Johnson punctured the Rams' run defense for 6 yards; then 10; then 9; then
    22. For 3½ quarters, Johnson did little — with 17 carries for 44 yards. But on
    this victory-clinching drive he gained 48 yards on six attempts.

    What happened?

    "I don't know," defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "It's pretty frustrating.
    The game's on the line. We needed a stop. We don't make the play."

    By the time the Rams got the ball back, they were out of timeouts, only 2:22
    remained in the contest, and it was a two-score game

    following Shayne Graham's 46-yard field goal. After a month of noticeably
    improved play, Sunday's 19-10 loss looked very much like several road defeats
    en route to an 0-8 start.

    To wit, the offense got nothing going, and the defense played just well enough
    to lose.

    "I was proud that our guys fought and hung in there with it," coach Scott
    Linehan said. "Going into it, I'm sure it doesn't look very favorable. But we
    battled as a team, and rallied around the situation we had with Brock (Berlin)."

    Nonetheless, the end result was another loss. At 3-10, the Rams have been
    officially eliminated from playoff contention.

    With Marc Bulger out with a concussion, and Gus Frerotte restricted to
    emergency quarterback duty with a shoulder injury, Berlin made his NFL
    regular-season debut. He had some rough moments, but limited mainly to
    underneath throws, he completed 17 of 28 passes for 153 yards and had a late

    "I thought (Berlin) gave us a great effort and he gave us a chance," Linehan
    said. "He managed the game very well. He can sit back and learn from some
    things. But for the most part he busted his butt out there."

    The Rams had only one completion longer than 13 yards. With eight catches for
    90 yards, Torry Holt topped 1,000 yards receiving for the eighth straight

    But Isaac Bruce went without a catch for the first time since the Rams' 2003
    regular-season finale against Detroit. He entered the game needing only 34
    reception yards to pass Marvin Harrison of Indianapolis for fourth place on the
    NFL's all-time list.

    The Rams got into the red zone only once all day, following a 54-yard run by
    Steven Jackson. It marked the third game in a row that Jackson had a run of 50
    yards or more — the first time anyone has done that in franchise history.

    But when that drive bogged down, Jeff Wilkins continued his outdoor struggles
    by missing a 40-yard field goal wide right. Wilkins is 14 of 15 indoors this
    season but only seven of 13 outdoors, even after making a 50-yarder in the
    fourth quarter.

    Jackson finished with 91 yards rushing but had only 18 carries, matching his
    season low for games he has started and finished. (He had eight carries against
    Cleveland, but left at the end of the first quarter with a back injury.)

    With a novice quarterback, on a rainy day, Jackson was expecting a heavier

    "You expect to get the ball a lot in that situation," Jackson said. "Even if
    Marc was in — in those weather conditions — you would think that we would run
    the ball. I think we came out and we ran it pretty successfully in the first

    Jackson carried only six times in the second half. Then again, the Rams had the
    ball for only 11 minutes 5 seconds after intermission.

    The only St. Louis touchdown came at the start of the second half, when Brown
    jumped an out route, intercepted a Carson Palmer pass intended for T.J.
    Houshmandzadeh and raced 36 yards for a score. It was Brown's fourth
    interception of the season, a career high, and his first return for a TD in the

    "I just broke on it, and it was a green field to the end zone," Brown said.
    "There wasn't anybody there."

    Brown's play helped keep the Rams within striking distance until the final
    minutes, when Johnson and the Bengals' running game took over.

    "That last drive, it was so disappointing," said cornerback Ron Bartell, who
    intercepted one Palmer pass but dropped another. "We always talk about being
    able to finish. And we didn't do it. All we had to do was get a stop, some way,
    some how, and get our offense the ball back and put them in scoring range. We
    could've got the go-ahead touchdown. We didn't get the job done."

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Bengals top Rams in Berlin's NFL debut
    by RamWraith
    By Joe Kay
    Sunday, Dec. 09 2007

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Rain pelted Brock Berlin's face as he settled in for his
    first regular-season snap in the NFL, calling signals in misty breaths.

    From that moment on, it got wetter and worse.

    Rudi Johnson ran 1 yard for a touchdown, Shayne Graham kicked four field
    goals on a nasty day, and the Cincinnati Bengals took advantage of the St.
    Louis Rams' novice quarterback for a 19-10 victory Sunday.

    Neither team had much fun on an afternoon more suitable for holding a
    clipboard than throwing a football.

    A steady, often driving rain on a 38-degree afternoon made it tough to
    throw, catch or hold onto the slick footballs -- not what the Rams (3-10)
    wanted on a day when they were down to their third-string quarterback.

    Berlin, a former Miami Hurricane and Florida Gator who entered the NFL as an
    undrafted free agent, got to play because injuries wiped out the Rams' top two
    options. Marc Bulger sat out a second straight game with a concussion, and
    backup Gus Frerotte was sidelined by an injury to his passing shoulder suffered
    last Sunday.

    That made it easy on the Bengals (5-8), who needed only to contain running
    back Steven Jackson and avoid mistakes to get a win. They were barely able to
    do it.

    Fakhir Brown intercepted Carson Palmer's first pass of the second half and
    returned it 36 yards for his first career touchdown, cutting it to 10-7.
    Jackson ran 18 times for 91 yards and caught four passes for 26 yards.

    It wasn't enough.

    The Rams' chances rested with Berlin, who learned after practice on Thursday
    that he might get a chance to make his debut in his third NFL season.

    Berlin stood alongside teammates with his hands in his pouch while the
    defense was introduced before the game. On the first play, defensive end Justin
    Smith hit Berlin as he released the ball, resulting in a floater that was
    caught by a diving Torry Holt. On the next play, Berlin tripped over a
    lineman's foot and fell to the rain-slicked artificial turf.

    Bengals safety Dexter Jackson repeatedly anticipated Berlin's snap count and
    blitzed, making it into the backfield in the blink of a rain-soaked eye. He
    caused a fumble by hitting Jackson while he was taking a handoff, and twice
    dropped the running back for losses.

    Jackson also intercepted Berlin's desperation pass with 1:38 to go.

    Berlin was 17-of-28 for 153 yards. Season-long injury problems at
    quarterback and the offensive line have taken a toll on the Rams' offense,
    which has scored fewer than 20 points nine times.

    For the second week in a row, the Bengals struggled to move the ball in...
    -12-09-2007, 03:52 PM
  • RamWraith
    Goal-line failures cost Rams 11 points and a win
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats 11/26/2007 7:38 pm

    A day later, the Rams’ brain trust offered no coherent explanation for their goal-line failures Sunday in the 24-19 loss to the Seahawks. To review:

    Leading 16-7, the Rams had a first down at the Seattle 1-yard line midway though the second quarter. On the first snap, running back Steven Jackson was stopped for no gain off left tackle. On second down, he lost 4 yards on a pitch in which the Rams had “a little miscommunication,” according to offensive coordinator Greg Olson.

    Before the third-down play, the Rams inexplicably took a delay-of-game penalty when backup quarterback Gus Frerotte, in for the injured Marc Bulger, took far too long to size up the defensive alignment. On third down, Frerotte’s pass for Isaac Bruce was incomplete.

    Jeff Wilkins’ field goal made it 19-7, but a shot at a 23-7 bulge was frittered away.

    The game’s final series began with 1:03 to go, Seattle up by 5 points, and the Rams, who had two timeouts left, with a first down at the Seahawks 4. On Monday, Olson noted that “when you look at (Jackson’s) statistics from a year ago, he was the best in the league in short-yardage situations.”

    But perhaps skittish after the second-quarter breakdown, Linehan called passes on the first two plays that moved the ball only to the 2. Jackson got a yard on third down, and then Frerotte fumbled away the snap and the last hope on fourth down.

    Why not give the ball to Jackson from the get-go?

    “We figured if we missed on two shots in the pass game, once we got the 2 (yards) that we had two chances to score with the timeout and the option of running the ball,” Linehan said. “The feeling was, being that Steven was playing and almost in (the end zone on third down), we were going to run an off-tackle power play. We never got the exchange. It doesn’t guarantee we would have scored, but I would have liked to have seen whether we could have gotten it in.”

    When asked the same question, Olson gave a rambling response that didn’t really address the issue.

    In any case, the Rams could’ve earned 14 points on those two sequences, and wound up with three. And they could’ve had a victory, and wound up with yet another wrenching loss.


    If Bulger, who suffered a concussion, isn’t cleared to play this week, Frerotte would be the starting quarterback with . . . who backing him up?

    “I don’t know right now,” Linehan said. “If we get to that point I’ll let you know by Wednesday or Thursday. Brock Berlin is on our roster as a practice-squad player, so that’s one possibility for sure.”

    Brock Berlin? Do you think anyone at Rams Park regrets trading Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Bengals for a seventh-round draft pick just before the season started?


    Notes & quotes:

    -11-27-2007, 06:03 AM
  • RamWraith
    Inside Slant
    by RamWraith
    The Rams knew their chances for the post-season ended Saturday night when the Giants defeated the Redskins. Thus, there were many curious how the team would play in the season finale against Minnesota when they had prepared all week hoping a win would give them a chance for a playoff spot.
    The answer came quickly. First, cornerback Ron Bartell intercepted a pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown just 1:22 into the game. By the end of the first half, they led 24-7 and were on their way to a 41-21 victory. The Vikings' final two touchdowns came in the fourth quarter after the Rams had built a 41-7 lead.

    "I was pretty proud that we came out and played like that," coach Scott Linehan said. "They weren't thinking about the disappointment. There was no letdown."

    If there was disappointment, it was with the fact that a three-game winning streak to end the season with the offense clicking left the team believing they could have success in the playoffs.

    "I really wish we could've gotten into the playoffs because I think we could've been a dangerous team," strong safety Corey Chavous said.

    But Chavous realized why the season ended the way it did.

    "You just can't lose seven out of eight games," he said of a stretch of games that followed a 4-1 start. "You lose seven out of eight games, you're putting yourself in a foxhole and it's hard to get out of there."

    Linehan obviously agreed.

    "That's the only disappointing thing as I stand here right now is that we can't keep playing," he said. "But we've learned some lessons there. You've got to take care of business during the year."

    Despite that disappointment, players believe the strong finish bodes well for the second year of Linehan's tenure as head coach. In the last two games, the Rams totaled an astounding 995 yards, while running back Steven Jackson had 89 rushes for 819 yards and three rushing touchdowns in the last three games.

    "It was a great year, an exceptional year," Jackson said. "A year that I could build off of. Hopefully, we can put some years consecutively together and (I can) be a consistent running back."

    Jackson ended up with a league-leading 2,334 yards from scrimmage and rushed for 1,528 yards. His 90 receptions set a club record for running backs.

    Said quarterback Marc Bulger, who passed for 4,301 with only eight interceptions, "Being 8-8 and missing the playoffs, you could think that the season was all for naught. But I think we found out a lot about our team and where we're headed."


    —Second-year DB Ron Bartell has played three different positions this season: cornerback, safety and in the slot as the nickel back. His confidence has grown, and it showed Sunday when Bartell...
    -01-06-2007, 06:39 AM
  • CaliGirlRamsFan
    by CaliGirlRamsFan
    I like what he has to say, except for the keeping emotions out of it. There is a video of him under the video forum that clearly shows him celebrating a touchdown. I like his article however.

    October 19, 2009
    No. 39 Continues to Fight
    by Devon Jeffreys . Steven Jackson | Official Website of Steven Jackson
    Steven Jackson broke tackles, carrying half the Jacksonville Jaguars defense down the field during a 38-yard, fourth quarter catch-and-run, fighting to give his St. Louis Rams a win for the first time this season.

    S-Jax and the Rams came up just short Sunday, falling 23-20 in overtime, but the will, heart and desire displayed by SJ39 should give St. Louis fans reason to believe that this too shall pass.

    After the game, Steven stood at his locker and relayed a message to his loyal fans and readers of

    "It's a tough loss but my confidence and my will to win have not left me. I'm going to continue to work hard to try to lead this team out of this slump we're in."

    For the second game this season, Steven led the Rams in rushing and receiving, a rare accomplishment for a runner. He fought hard for every yard and came through when the ball was put in his hands.

    But despite No. 39's success on the field, he and the Rams fell short of their ultimate goal: picking up their first win.

    S-Jax carried 16 times for 50 yards and hauled in six passes for 78 yards as the Rams overcame two second half deficits and took the Jacksonville Jaguars to overtime.

    "It was tooth-and-nail," No. 39 said. "We felt like if we were able to have the ball last, we were going to go down, score and win the game. They had an excellent offensive drive a couple times in the fourth quarter, led by Maurice. They did their job on offense. It really just came down to who was going to have the ball last."

    But Jacksonville won the overtime toss and never let Steven and the St. Louis offense back on the field. As No. 39 watched from the sideline, a 36-yard Jacksonville field goal with eight minutes left in overtime dealt the Rams a defeat.

    "I felt like we were close this week," Steven said after the game. "Every game is different. We're a young team. We just need to learn how to win. Each and every game is not going to be easy and when we're in the tough ones like this, we need to find a way to finish."

    The Rams led for most of the game, but fell behind twice in the fourth quarter. After taking a 17-13 advantage on a stunning defensive touchdown with 4:36 to go, the Rams watched Jacksonville drive right down the field to take back the lead.

    As St. Louis took possession trailing 20-17 with 1:53 on the clock in the fourth quarter, their backs were against the wall. So on the first play, they...
    -10-22-2009, 04:27 PM
  • RamWraith
    Déjà Vu All Over Again
    by RamWraith
    By Howard Balzer
    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    NASHVILLE – 340. No, that’s not a misprint. 340. That’s the total rushing yards the Titans put on the Rams in a 34-13 victory at LP Field Saturday. 340. And that’s with minus-three yards on the Titans’ final three plays of the game, when Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher mercifully had quarterback Ingle Martin kneel down with the ball on the Rams’ 6-yard line.

    On their final drive, the Titans drove from their own 3-yard line to the Rams’ 6-yard in 12 plays, 11 of them runs, and gobbled up 9:46 of the clock. And most of the yards were by someone named Omar Cuff.

    The Titans could have seemingly put just about anyone in the backfield and they would have found gaping holes in the Rams’ run defense. The Titans had 10 running plays of 10 yards or more, including a 66-yard touchdown run by Chris Johnson and a 45-yard jaunt by Quinton Ganther. Ganther totaled 115 yards on eight attempts and also had 17- and 30-yard runs.

    Amazingly, the 10-yard plus runs totaled 255 yards, meaning their other 33 totaled 85. Four runs added up to 176 yards.

    “We need to be able to finish,” coach Scott Linehan said afterward, alluding to the 20-13 halftime deficit that turned into the 34-13 loss. But they also need to be able to start.

    The first-team offense, which has yet to score a touchdown in nine preseason games under Linehan had zero yards on three plays in their first possession and minus-three on the second drive. That one ended with a tipped pass for an interception and touchdown that gave Tennessee a 7-0 lead.

    Marc Bulger and Co. rebounded on the next possession, but a drive stalled at the Titans’ 26-yard line, and Josh Brown followed with a 44-yard field goal.

    Still, the Titans had 157 yards rushing at halftime and 243 total yards. For the game, they totaled 495 compared to the Rams’ 241.

    The brightest spot for the Rams was quarterback Brock Berlin, who looked poised and in rhythm, completing 11 of 14 passes for 139 yards with a passer rating of 108.0.

    He is staking claim to the No. 3 job, and it looks like it will take a major upset for Bruce Gradkowski to win the job. Berlin hit wide receiver Dane Looker on a picture-perfect 47-yard pass play in the second quarter that led to the team’s only touchdown of the night.

    “I’m just thankful for this opportunity to get out there and play,” Berlin said. “It felt great to get out there and put some drives together. I felt comfortable out there.

    “I feel like I’ve put a lot of time and effort into learning this offense, and with two veteran guys like Marc and Trent that you can learn from, they’ve really been great. I’ve been like a sponge, asking question and I’m starting to pick it up. I’ve still got...
    -08-10-2008, 02:43 PM