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  • St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

    St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid, Offense Still a No-Show in Loss to Redskins by Ron Clements
    Ron ClementsScribe, Featured Columnist
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    Scribe Written on September 20, 2009
    (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) The St. Louis Rams got one side of the ball playing well, while the other is still playing catch-up.

    The Rams defense held Washington without a touchdown in five red zone possessions, but the offense was limited to just 245 yards. Washington was able to get three Shaun Suisham field goals, and held off a late rally for a 9-7 win over the visiting Rams.

    Steven Jackson was the lone offensive bright spot for the Rams, gaining 104 rushing yards on 17 carries, and adding four catches for 15 yards.

    Washington dominated time of possession, slowly wearing down a solid Rams defense to control the clock late.

    Still, the Rams had a shot at a game-winning drive in the final two minutes, but Marc Bulger threw three straight incompletions on the final possession.

    Bulger completed barely over 50 percent of his passes, going 15-of-28 for 125 yards. It didn't help that Donnie Avery and Randy McMichael were plagued by drops. Avery also lost a fumble inside the Redskins' 10 late in the game.

    "I am proud of how hard the team fought," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo told the Rams Radio Network. "We are disappointed. There are no moral victories in football. We were a play or two away. There are positives here, but there are details we have to iron or else we’ll continue giving games away."

    The Rams were able to score their first points of the year as Bulger connected with Laurent Robinson for a five-yard score with 3:57 remaining in the second quarter. The touchdown was set up by a 58-yard Jackson run, and gave the Rams a 7-6 lead.

    Despite O.J. Atogwe forcing a fumble late in the first half to prevent a Redskins score, the offensive ineptitude squandered a pretty good defensive performance.

    They weren't without faults, however. The Rams gave Jason Campbell a lot of time in the pocket to find receivers. Campbell was only sacked once—by James Hall—and the Rams run defense was inconsistent.

    What hurt the Rams the most on defense was the same thing that plagued them last week at Seattle—an inability to cover the tight end. A week after John Carlson burned St. Louis with six catches for 95 yards and two scores, Chris Cooley grabbed seven balls for 83 yards.

    With Green Bay's tight end duo of Donald Lee and Jermichael Finley coming to St. Louis next week, that should make most Rams fans cringe at the prospect of what those two might be able to do with Aaron Rodgers tossing them the ball.

  • #2
    Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

    the rams D is improving but they got gassed between the 20's and zorn's inept redzone playcalling got stuffed by a competent defensive coach in spags.


    • #3
      Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

      You mean our redzone defense is solid?

      Other than that we didn't do too well.


      • #4
        Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

        We let them move down the field. We need more pressure on the QB. I really think Adeyanju needs to play next week. We gotta see what he can do.


        • #5
          Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

          I'll take giving up yards all day long. I'll give up field goals all day long. With anything approaching a competent offense, giving up three field goals equals a win. Bad playcalling from the Skins or not, our redzone defense was extremely solid today and I think it'll only continue to get better under Spags. Maybe next week we'll start getting stops before the redzone!
          I believe!:ram:


          • #6
            Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

            The Red Skins are non-to imaginative on offense...pity the same can be said of the Ram offense.Thing is I didn't predict the Red Skins to go anywhere this season so haven't been paying attention to them to know what Kinda gutt-check this game was/is


            • #7
              Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

              I thought the Redskins moved the ball at will. Rams D really had nothing to show on 3rd downs other than slumped shoulders. Yes it's great that the D didn't let them score in the redzone, but when Arizona or N'Oleans rolls to town they're gonna have to show a little more heart when stopping the pass...especially on do or die 3rd downs.


              • #8
                Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

                We look like an "0-2" team.


                • #9
                  Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

                  Well, it is nice to read that our defense is 'solid'. :|

                  I mean it. They did, afterall, keep the Skins from scoring a TD, and this time the opponents totaled 9 points. There are good and definite indications that the Rams D is playing with conviction, even if today that effort only yielded another deeply disappointing defeat. // I did not watch the game but I feel (somewhat) proud of them and I really hope that Coach Spags will manage to keep their morale high and strong for the next battle.

                  ...Offensive ineptitude
                  :ram: Now if only they can get the needed support from that offense! Let's see what TX has to say about the D.


                  • #10
                    Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

                    WE all were hoping for a better outing but a positive is a score. The offensive mishaps really hurt our ability to make this a one sided game. The receivers really should revisit the drops. Those caused us key yardage and opportunities in the red zone.
                    Defensively like everyone is seeing we will get better. It was a moral positive from last week's horrible outing in seattle.
                    Coach Spags knows he has to do a better job of offensive calling but receivers still need to catch the balls intended. The QB also needs to be better at making throws that matter. Bulger is struggling.
                    Jackson looked ok. He will get better with better blocking. Once that happens he will make huge strides and more scoring within the red zone.
                    I was impressed with Robinson ala Torry Holt leaping ability. I would like to see more.
                    9-7 is a lot better to muster that 28-0 loss but it's still a loss.


                    • #11
                      Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

                      Our offensive woes have a lot to do with the playcalling. Jackson had 16 carries last week and 17 this week. That isn't enough. I understand we want a balanced attack, but we need to run the ball 25+ times a game. Our receivers are just too young and inexperienced for us to be throwing as much as we are.


                      • #12
                        Re: St. Louis Rams Defense is Solid

                        Our D so far is no doubt an improvement from last year but I still wouldn't say solid. Our red zone D was awesome, but after that it was not so hot. The offense needs to help our D out by driving down field some so even if we have to punt, the opposing team ends up with bad field position.


                        Related Topics


                        • eldfan
                          Finding the Positive in the Rams' 0-2 Start
                          by eldfan
                          by Seth Doria Seth DoriaColumnist, Featured Columnist

                          Columnist Written on September 22, 2009
                          In the bottom-line business that is professional sports, the most important thing that happened to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday was another loss.

                          In losing 9-7 to the Redskins in Washington, the Rams are now 0-2 and two games back of the 2-0 San Francisco ***** heading into next week’s home opener against Green Bay.

                          And if the Rams were a team with high expectations, falling to 0-2 would be borderline catastrophic. Three teams last year made the playoffs from 0-2, but that was an anomaly. Most of the time, 0-2 is a precursor to disaster.

                          But the Rams aren’t a team with high expectations. Not even the most die-hard pie-in-the-sky Rams fan dared dream of better than 7-9 or maybe (if they were high or drunk) 8-8.

                          So yes, the Rams lost again on Sunday, 0-2 is 0-2, and you are what your record says you are. But when you’re the St. Louis Rams and you’re 5-29 over your last 34 games, you learn to find the hidden positives in the bottom-line failures.

                          And so it comes to pass that losing 9-7 to Washington can be considered a success in many ways.

                          Red zone defense: The Redskins’ lone scores came on Shaun Suisham field goals of 21, 28 and 23 yards. Washington came close to a touchdown on one other occasion. In the fourth quarter, David Vobora stopped Clinton Portis two yards behind the line of scrimmage on 4th-and-1 from the St. Louis two-yard line.

                          On each of those drives, the Rams defense held strong with their backs against their own goal-line, forcing the Redskins to settle for three rather than seven.

                          Steven Jackson: Not only did Jackson finish with 104 yards on just 17 carries for a 6.1 yard average, he also got involved in the pass game with four catches for 15 yards.

                          A week after not catching a single ball against Seattle, it was encouraging to see quarterback Marc Bulger take advantage of the best player on offense in more ways than one.

                          The run defense: Washington did gain 125 yards on the ground, but it took them 33 attempts to get there. Not counting the three kneel-downs at the end, the Redskins gained 121 on 30 carries.

                          For a team that gave up 4.9 yards per rush attempt last year and 117 yards on 19 carries to Julius Jones in Week One, it was heartening to see Clinton Portis held to just 76 yards on 19 carries.

                          The pass defense: Even though Chris Cooley had seven catches for 83 yards—continuing a trend of the Rams defense getting shredded by opposing tight ends—it’s worth noting four of Cooley’s seven catches came in the first eight minutes, and six came in the first half. In a tight game that was in doubt until the end, Cooley did not have...
                          -09-23-2009, 08:45 AM
                        • MauiRam
                          Rams defense bends but doesn't break
                          by MauiRam
                          BY JIM THOMAS Wednesday, September 29, 2010 12:10 am

                          For openers, the Rams allowed eight "explosive" plays against Arizona, which are defined as pass plays of 20-plus yards or runs of 10-plus yards. That's a lot of pyrotechnics.

                          The following week against Oakland, they allowed 145 yards rushing by Darren McFadden, committed five penalties for 62 yards and couldn't get the Raiders' offense off the field.

                          Next came the Redskins, who at halftime were averaging nearly a first down per carry on the ground. And then, as if to mix it up, they opened the second half by dropping a 56-yard bomb on the Rams' secondary.

                          Those are bleak numbers. All of them. And when you put it all together, the Rams are ranked 25th in rushing defense and 24th in passing defense three games into the NFL season.

                          But in a bottom-line sport, the only number that really matters is points allowed. And in a season in which most of the focus has been on the offense, be it Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, the pass-blocking, the wide receiver corps, and so on ... the defense has quietly held down the scoring.

                          The Rams have yielded only 49 points in three games, their fourth-lowest total after three games since the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995. They rank ninth in the league in scoring defense, yielding 16.3 points a game.

                          A standard team goal in the NFL, Rams included, is to hold the opponent to 17 points or fewer. And the Rams have done that every time, albeit in a 17-13 loss to Arizona and a 16-14 loss to Oakland, followed by a 30-16 victory over Washington.

                          The last time a Rams team opened the season with three consecutive games of 17 points or less allowed? The '99 Rams, who went on to win the Super Bowl. Dick Vermeil's squad opened that season with a 27-10 victory over Baltimore, a 35-7 triumph over Atlanta and a 38-10 win at Cincinnati.

                          This Sunday against visiting Seattle, the Rams will be trying to make it four games in a row of 17 points or less. That hasn't happened since 1978, a season in which coach Ray Malavasi's team finished 12-4 and yielded a total of only 34 points en route to a 4-0 start.

                          Obviously, too many flaws exist on the 2010 Rams to expect that kind of success, but defensive coordinator Ken Flajole's unit is starting to develop a stingy personality.

                          "I think we're jelling," linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "We're very resilient. We have a mentality right now that the next play's the most important — I think that's the one thing you can look at.

                          "If a big play happens, OK, forget it about. You can't change it. There's no need getting all out of control and yelling, and everything."

                          The best example of that attitude took place at the start of the second half against Washington. Squandering an early 14-0 lead, the Rams led only 14-13...
                          -09-29-2010, 12:41 AM
                        • eldfan
                          Result that matters eludes Rams again
                          by eldfan
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                          LANDOVER, MD. — Progress? Yes. Results? Not quite. And that's what made Sunday's 9-7 loss to Washington all the more excruciating for coach Steve Spagnuolo and the Rams.

                          "I'm very disappointed," Spagnuolo said. "There's no moral victories in this league. But I'm mostly disappointed in the fact that we've got a football team that works their butts off, and they haven't had a chance to feel victory yet. We've got a long ways to go here."

                          Spagnuolo apparently was so disappointed that it took him nearly 25 minutes from the end of the game to address reporters. The NFL's so-called 10-minute cooling off period wasn't nearly enough for Spagnuolo to collect his thoughts after this setback.

                          The Rams got 100 yards-plus rushing from Steven Jackson, achieving some degree of balance offensively. The defense was stellar in the red zone, limiting the Redskins to just three field goals in four trips inside the 20. Actually, all four of those red zone trips advanced inside the 10.

                          And the Rams cut down significantly on their mistakes from the season-opening fiasco in Seattle. Trouble was, they still made enough Sunday to start 0-2 for the third consecutive season.

                          "It is a cliché that you take one or two plays out of a game and the outcome changes," Spagnuolo said. "But in this particular (game), that would be true. Because there were certain plays in there that if they went differently, we might be on the other end of the win-loss column."

                          The most obvious — and most costly — mistake happened early in the fourth quarter. Trailing 9-7, the Rams marched methodically from their 25 to the Washington 9, overcoming a false start penalty on tight end Daniel Fells and left tackle Alex Barron's second holding penalty of the day.

                          On third-and-4 from the 9, quarterback Marc Bulger completed a pass to Donnie Avery for first-down yardage at the 5. But Avery was rocked by Redskins safety Chris Horton, the ball popped out, and Washington cornerback Carlos Rogers fell on the fumble.

                          "I was just trying to get more yards," a disconsolate Avery said. "I was trying to get YAC (yards after contact) on the play, and ended up fumbling. I let the team down."

                          Avery has been responsible for the only two Rams turnovers this season, losing a fumble on the opening kickoff return last week in Seattle.

                          Even after Avery's miscue Sunday, the Rams' offense had two more possessions to take the lead. But the first series stalled at the Washington 41. On fourth-and-2, Spagnuolo sent out the punting unit, but then flanked punter Donnie Jones out to the left and lined Kenneth Darby behind center in a variation of the wildcat formation.

                          However, this was no trick play. The Rams never intended to run the ball; their sole intention...
                          -09-21-2009, 07:35 AM
                        • r8rh8rmike
                          Defense Makes Progress
                          by r8rh8rmike
                          Defense makes progress

                          BY BILL COATS
                          ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                          LANDOVER, Md. — Nearly two years had passed since the Rams held an opponent without a touchdown. Just a week had gone by since Seattle torched them for four TDs.

                          While the Rams' defense didn't morph into the Monsters of the Midway in seven days' time, it did show at least modest improvement in Sunday's 9-7 loss to the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

                          "You can definitely take some positives away," cornerback Ron Bartell said. "But we play to win, and we just couldn't get it done. A few mistakes here and there, and they ended up costing us."

                          Despite drives of 83, 74 and 64 yards, the Redskins could muster just three field goals. They finished with 362 total yards, 84 fewer than the Seahawks racked up in their 28-0 win.

                          The last time an opponent failed to reach the end zone against the Rams was Nov. 18, 2007, in a 13-9 victory at San Francisco.

                          "Red-zone defense is important, because offenses are talented and they're going to move the ball," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "But when it does get down there, you have to be able to stop them and hold them to field goals, and that's what we did."

                          Particularly encouraging was the resistance vs. the run. Last week, Seattle rolled up 167 yards on the ground and averaged 4.9 yards per attempt. The 'Skins rushed for 125 yards, averaging 3.8 yards.

                          Washington's longest run produced 14 yards, compared with a 62-yard dash to the end zone by the Seahawks' Julius Jones last week.

                          If the Rams had been stingier on third downs, their numbers would've improved even more. The Redskins converted on seven of 15 opportunities, sustaining their long marches while also ratcheting up quarterback Jason Campbell's stats. He completed 23 of 35 passes for 242 yards, without an interception.

                          "There certainly are no moral victories," safety James Butler said. "But iron out some details on third down and we'll be a whole lot better."

                          Said Bartell: "It's a new defense for us. We're learning, and we're getting better every week. But we're going to have to overcome those small (errors), because they're killing us."

                          The Rams nearly had a safety, end Chris Long sacking Campbell inches from the end zone. And they came up with a big stop on a late fourth-and-1, giving the offense one final shot.

                          Trouble was, Marc Bulger & Co. had 96 yards of green in front of them, with just 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining and no timeouts available. Four incompletions later, the 'Skins took over and ran out the clock.

                          Earlier, Redskins coach Jim Zorn decided to go for the first down on fourth-and-1 at the Rams' 20 with 3:47 to go, and running back Clinton Portis churned...
                          -09-21-2009, 03:10 PM
                        • RamWraith
                          Brown kicks Rams to victory
                          by RamWraith
                          LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Josh Brown kicked a 49-yard field goal on the last play of the game Sunday, giving the St. Louis Rams a 19-17 upset of the Washington Redskins to end an eight-game losing streak over two seasons and make Jim Haslett a winner in his St. Louis head coaching debut.

                          It takes a fluke play or two for a winless, two-touchdown underdog to pull off the stunner. The Rams got one at the perfect time in the first half against the Redskins, then pulled off the win in the final minute with the help of a big third-and-long pass.

                          The Redskins (4-2) overcame a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit and appeared set to win their fifth straight game when Clinton Portis' 2-yard run with 3:47 left gave Washington a 17-16 lead. But the Rams had enough time to mount a comeback, and Marc Bulger hit Donnie Avery down the right sideline for a 43-yard gain on third-and-13 to move into field goal territory.

                          But the Rams, being the Rams, nearly botched the game from there. While St. Louis was trying to kill the clock to set up for an easy field goal attempt, offensive lineman Richie Incognito was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for aiming some choice words at an official. The 15-yard infraction made Brown's kick no longer a gimmie, but he still managed to nail his fourth field goal of the game.

                          Two weeks ago, the Rams (1-4) looked like a team in need of a massive federal bailout. Instead, they fired coach Scott Linehan, reinstalled Bulger as the starting quarterback and used their bye week to get out of the dumps.

                          Then they came out and beat one of the hottest teams in the league. The Redskins (4-2), playing as a huge favorite for the first time under coach Jim Zorn, played down to the level of their competition and became a very ordinary team by failing to do something they had done so well all season: protect the football.

                          The Redskins entered the game as the only team in NFL history to open a season with no offensive turnovers through its first five games -- for that matter, the offense hadn't fumbled the ball even once -- but that good fortune ended with four fumbles in six possessions.

                          The Rams were able to convert only one into a score, but it was the type of weird play that can give a struggling team the lift it needs.

                          With the Redskins in scoring position near the end of the first half, a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage ended up in the hands of offensive lineman Pete Kendall. Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa knocked the ball away from an awkwardly moving Kendall, and Oshiomogho Atogwe picked it up and streaked 75 yards down the sideline for the touchdown that gave the Rams a 10-7 lead.

                          And the momentum.

                          Dominated in the first half, St. Louis controlled the third quarter and added two field goals to go ahead 16-7. The Redskins retook the lead with a field goal and Portis' touchdown,...
                          -10-12-2008, 04:46 PM