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  • 0-3 Niners provide Rams opportunity

    0-3 Niners provide Rams opportunity
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Oct. 02 2004

    SAN FRANCISCO - The scene in the Edward Jones Dome wasn't pretty last Sunday as
    the Rams walked off the field 28-25 overtime losers to New Orleans.

    As coach Mike Martz approached the tunnel leading to the locker room area, fans
    tossed debris his way. At least a couple of fans were gesturing wildly and
    shouting in his direction. Suffice to say, they weren't shouting words of

    Pro Bowl offensive guard Adam Timmerman happened to be within hearing range at
    the time.

    "I was thinking, 'I'm glad my kids weren't hearing that,'" he said. "I think
    some fans just have to have some class."

    As Martz left the dome, with wife Julie in the car, he was accosted by a couple
    of passing motorists.

    "I'm used to it," Martz said Monday, referring to hecklers in general. "They've
    done that ever since I've been here, win or lose."

    It doesn't bother him? "Not anymore," he said.

    Whether it does or not, Sunday's postgame "events" are an indication that Rams
    Nation is approaching full panic mode. And make no mistake, the players are
    picking up that vibe when they're away from Rams Park.

    "I have a pretty good feel for what everyone's feeling," quarterback Marc
    Bulger said. "I don't like to watch TV or read the paper, but you don't really
    need to. You can just tell by the fans' reaction.

    "On the highway, in the grocery store, they just let you know how they feel.
    People don't hold back. It's pretty funny. This is the only job, I think, that
    they'll let you know exactly how they feel. But hey, it comes with the
    territory, and I agree with it some of the time."

    Wait a minute. On the highway?

    "I haven't been run off the road yet," Bulger said, laughing. "So I've been
    lucky so far."

    Sometimes, the feedback is more subtle.

    "You just hear some little comments, and you're like: 'Is that guy talking to
    me? Does he know I can hear him from here?' " Timmerman said. "You'll hear
    something like, 'Hey, good luck.' And then you'll kind of hear under their
    breath - 'He's going to need it.' "

    At 1-2, the winds of discontent may be howling. But not inside Rams Park.

    "There is no shaken belief or trust, or anything like that," defensive lineman
    Tyoka Jackson said. "None of that's wavering. All the storm is going on outside
    the locker room.

    "And it is storming. But we've got some really nice umbrellas. We'll take care
    of that. Wins seem to clear the skies a lot - you know what I mean?"

    Which brings us to Sunday night's game with rival San Francisco at the
    newly-renamed Monster Park. The contest begins a stretch of three road games in
    four contests for St. Louis. It also begins a stretch in which three of the
    Rams' next four opponents are currently winless.

    The ***** had their NFL-record 420-game scoring streak shattered last week in a
    34-0 loss to Seattle. Almost all of the star power that graced this franchise
    for the last quarter of a century has vanished, as if sucked into a Bay Area
    fog. A loss to the Rams would give San Francisco its first 0-4 start since
    1979, Bill Walsh's first season as ***** coach.

    So this is not a game the Rams want to lose, or can afford to lose. Not with
    the 3-0 Seahawks, resting comfortably this weekend with a bye, looming ahead on
    the Rams' schedule Oct. 10 in Seattle.

    "It's either 1-3 or 2-2, which seems like a light year's difference between
    those two records at this point," Timmerman said. "So I think we know the
    importance of the game. And I think it's important that we don't go out there
    and just play tight." That's tight, as in uptight. All of which makes this
    about as close to a must-win situation as you can get in Week 4.

    "This is an important football game any way you slice it," safety Adam
    Archuleta said. "A win gets us back on a number of (levels). It gets us back
    confidence, No. 1. It gets us back to 2-2. It's a division game. It's the
    *****. There's just a lot of things with this game that make it a must win."

    The ***** have won the last two contests here against St. Louis in convincing
    fashion - 30-10 last season and 37-13 in '03. But the Rams were depleted by
    injuries in both of those contests. Last year, the Rams' defense was minus four
    starters and running back Marshall Faulk was still one week away from returning
    from hand and knee injuries.

    "Usually, we're a little bit faster than them, and they're kind of reacting to
    us," Timmerman said. "For some reason last year, they were setting the tempo as
    far as speed. We definitely want to be the one setting the speed."

    There is no Jeff Garcia, no Garrison Hearst and no Terrell Owens to fuel the
    San Francisco offense this season. Defensively, the ***** still have some
    speed, particularly in what is considered one of the NFL's best linebacking
    corps. But one of the 'Niners top pass rushers - defensive end Andre Carter -
    is expected to miss the game with a back injury, and the San Francisco
    secondary is adequate at best.

    So if the Rams lose Sunday night, it won't be because they are the
    less-talented team. Of course, if the Rams lose Sunday night, they might want
    to de-plane Monday morning at Lambert wearing disguises. It's getting that
    strange out there.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Rams desperately need spark to beat resurgent Niners
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas

    Let the record show that five straight losses is enough. Well beyond enough for the Rams.

    "We're sick of losing," offensive guard Adam Timmerman said.

    Without a victory since Oct. 8 in Green Bay, their backs have been against the wall for so long, they may be stuck to the paint.

    "We've got to do something to get off — get some paint thinner or something," wide receiver Torry Holt said.

    Holt's response has been to look at even more film than normal in preparation for Sunday's game against rival San Francisco.

    Coach Scott Linehan's response was to back off early in the week, apparently canceling many of the team meetings after a thoroughly discouraging 15-0 loss at Carolina.

    "I think the best thing was coach giving everybody some space from each other Monday and Tuesday," Holt said. "Because everybody was frustrated. Everybody was boiling."

    It was a time, Holt said, for self-evaluation by players and coaches alike.

    "To see what it is that we want to do, and how we need to improve, to get back to a winning level," Holt said. "We're going to see if it carries over. It has to, or we're going to be up (a) creek."

    Simply by the law of averages, the Rams have to win a game sometime — with sooner being the preferred course over later.

    "Without a doubt," Holt said. "I think we're going to win this weekend's game. I think we're going to go out and play hard, and play together as a football team."

    Easier said than done against San Francisco. Over the past year and a half, the Rams haven't been able to beat the ***** when they were crummy. From the start of the 2005 season through October of 2006, the ***** won only six of 23 games. Three of those six victories were against the Rams.

    And now, suddenly, the ***** have designs on being good. San Francisco (5-5) enters Sunday's contest with a better record than the Rams (4-6), and momentum. The ***** have won their past three games, allowing only 30 points total in triumphs over Minnesota, Detroit and Seattle.

    Young Alex Smith is settling in at quarterback, and Frank Gore is taking over at running back behind a big offensive line headed by 10-time Pro Bowler Larry Allen. On pace for an NFL record for points allowed through seven games, the *****' defense has righted itself by simplifying things and making a couple of lineup changes.

    "They still have some blitzes, but I think they've identified what their personnel is good at," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "They're playing with confidence. When you start doing that, it seems like guys speed up."

    Meanwhile, the Rams aren't brimming with confidence these...
    -11-26-2006, 05:11 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams are ready to take show on the road
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    SAN FRANCISCO -- As they trot out of the tunnel Sunday at creaky Monster Park, the Rams will be greeted by hundreds - perhaps even a few thousand - Rams fans.

    Some still sport team gear in the franchise's pre-2000 colors. Some even have shirts and hats that read: "Los Angeles Rams." Some still make the trek up the Pacific Coast from southern California every year to cheer on their transplanted franchise.

    Cornerback Travis Fisher calls it the West Coast Branch of Rams Nation.

    "There's a lot of fans over on that side," Fisher says.

    Meaning, "on that side" of the country. But even in the best of times for Rams teams, those fans quickly get drowned out by ***** loyalists in a stadium that seats more than 69,000.

    These may be the worst of times for the Niners, but triumphs here remain few and far between for the Rams. Dating to the 1991 season, the Rams have won only four times in San Francisco - in 14 tries.

    "It's hard to win on the road," wide receiver Isaac Bruce said.

    Particularly on opening day.

    "When you go into someone else's stadium, you're going to hear rockets, you'll probably see some B52s flying over your head," Bruce said. "And everyone in the stands is just rowdy from start to finish. From pregame till the end of the game. It's special."

    If the Rams can start off well on the road, this season can be special. But there's been nothing special about the Rams away from the Edward Jones Dome in recent seasons.

    On Sunday, the Rams will try to end a string of five straight regular-season losses on the road. Since the start of the 2002 season, the Rams are 8-18 on the road - a figure that includes playoff games.

    In comparison, since the start of the 2002 season, the Rams are 20-5 at the dome - a figure that also includes regular- season and postseason games.

    "The book says you're not supposed to win more than half your games on the road," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "And you try to win all your home games. But that's not the way we look at it. We want to win every single game we play.

    "Obviously, it doesn't always work out that way. But that's what you're trying to do. Road games are huge, because it helps to build confidence for your team."

    If so, the Rams have plenty of early opportunities for confidence building. Beginning with Sunday's season opener in San Francisco, three of the Rams' first four contests are on the road.

    And for only the seventh time in the 68-year history of the franchise, the Rams open with back-to-back road games. (San Francisco is followed with another NFC West road game, Sept. 18 at Arizona.)

    "Yeah, two...
    -09-10-2005, 06:44 PM
  • MauiRam
    Can Rams' success against ***** continue?
    by MauiRam
    By Nick Wagoner

    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The only things missing from last season's meetings between the San Francisco ***** and St. Louis Rams were black and white television broadcasts and the booming voice of NFL Films' John Facenda.

    In two games spanning almost 10 full quarters, the Rams and Niners stood toe to toe and exchanged haymakers, neither side willing to stay down on the mat until Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein booted a winning field goal with 26 seconds left in overtime of the second meeting.

    “I think we were both right at home playing a slugfest and one team came out on top, but they were both awesome games to be a part of,” Rams defensive end Chris Long said. “They really were. They were a lot of fun. It was good, old-fashioned football. You don't see as much of it these days.”

    In a survey of the Rams' locker room, the word "fun" has come up a lot this week when discussing last year's games against the *****. Of course, the Rams got a tie and a win out of those meetings.

    The ***** don't recall those games quite as fondly.

    “When you don't have the result -- the winning result -- that's what you're striving for,” San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said. “That's the goal every week. How can you win your next game, that game being the most important game of the season, and that's every single week.”

    For whatever reason, the Rams emerged in 2012 as the one team ready and capable to stand up to the NFC West bully that was the *****.

    It seems like it's been ages since the Rams went to San Francisco. Alex Smith left that Week 10 game with a concussion and Colin Kaepernick took over. From there, the Niners went 5-1 in regular-season games against teams not from St. Louis. They came within a single completion of winning the Super Bowl with Kaepernick in the lineup.

    That success was there against every opponent, except the Rams, who were 1-0-1 against the Kaepernick-led Niners.

    Over the course of 10 quarters, you'd be hard-pressed to find two more evenly matched teams. The Rams outscored San Francisco 40-37 and outgained them 751-680 in total yards. The teams were even in the turnover battle and the Rams held the ball for just 1 minute, 35 seconds more.

    So, why did it seem as if the Rams had the Niners' number? Why was Rams coach Jeff Fisher able to outmaneuver Harbaugh?

    Attitude, for starters. The Rams openly admit that although they get up for every game, they treated both games against the reigning kings of the division a little differently.

    “When you look at it on film, it was surprising the way they were moving people around, but when they played us they weren't able to get that accomplished,” Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford said. “I think that speaks volumes about the guys we have here in our locker room and on our defense. It was not today,...
    -09-25-2013, 04:24 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Ready To Go Big Game Hunting
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams Ready to go Big Game Hunting
    By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer

    It’s been a long time since the Rams have played a meaningful football game with legitimate playoff implications this late in the season.

    So long, in fact, that running back Steven Jackson, one of the most tenured players on the roster, says he himself isn’t even sure how he will react to being in one.

    But that’s exactly where Jackson and the Rams are as they head to San Francisco to take on the ***** on Sunday. Simply put, when all things are considered this is the most important regular season game the Rams have played since 2004.

    “Well, it’s something that I’m looking forward to learning,” Jackson said. “I’m being honest right now. 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. 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.”

    The stakes this week probably won’t break the Rams’ season but it sure could make it. At 4-4, the Rams have yet to get over a couple of road bumps.

    First, they are winless in three tries away from the confines of the Edward Jones Dome. Second, they have yet to get over the .500 mark, a place they haven’t been since 2006.

    If the Rams can come away with a win against the *****, there’s a very real possibility they could be sitting alone in first place by Sunday evening.

    “We’ve been working hard to get to a point where in November and December, our games can put us in the postseason,” Jackson said. “So it’s really showing the hard work guys have been putting in, not only during the season, but OTAs and training camp. Guys are starting to come together, and guys are excited.”

    It’s only fitting that a game of such importance for this young, emerging group would come against long time division rival San Francisco.

    In the late 90s, the ***** were the gold standard for the NFC West Division and it wasn’t until the Rams were able to beat them that they truly arrived on the scene as a genuine threat to win the division, let alone go to the playoffs.

    The landscape within the division is a bit different now as the ***** sit with a 2-6 record going into Sunday. But make no mistake; San Francisco is as talented a team as there is in the division.

    “Early in the (season) when they stumbled, they lost three games by two or three points,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “This league, there’s a fine line in this league. That’s a talented, good football team. We’re not going to be blinded by the fact that they’re 2-6. They’ve won two out of their last three, and they’re on the rise. So that’s what we’re up against.”

    -11-12-2010, 05:45 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams Notebook: Timmerman plays hurt
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats

    Timmerman plays hurt

    An MRI exam Thursday night disclosed that guard Adam Timmerman has been playing with three cracked ribs. The injury was thought be a bruise, but Timmerman was tested further when the pain persisted.

    He missed just one play after being kicked in the side Nov. 19 at Carolina, and he started against last week vs. San Francisco. And, yes, he plans to be in the lineup — wearing a light wrap to protect his ribs — Sunday for his 202nd consecutive game.

    Kacyvenski will play it safe and sit out

    Isaiah Kacyvenski's heart tells him to "go out there and play." But his brain, scrambled as he jokingly acknowledges it might be right now, knows better.

    "I can't be selfish," he said. "You have to think about the future, and I want to be there for my kids and be able to enjoy all that."

    So, Kacyvenski, a Rams linebacker who is widely regarded as one of the best special-teams players in the NFL, plans to take it slow as he comes back from his second concussion of the season, and the fourth of his seven-year career.

    He won't suit up Sunday, when the Rams meet the Arizona Cardinals at the Edward Jones Dome. His availability after that will be determined by neurological exams, starting Monday.

    The Rams signed Kacyvenski on Oct. 3, after the Seahawks released him in a surprise move. Kacyvenski, who has a 3-year-old son and an 8-month-old daughter, suffered a concussion Nov. 12 in his return to Seattle. He played the following Sunday but now believes that was a mistake.

    "I probably wasn't right," he conceded. "I was lucky at Carolina, and then I got caught (against) San Fran."

    Kacyvenski was covering a kickoff last Sunday against the ***** when he took a blow to the side of his head. "It was a very good tackle, a very good play," coach Scott Linehan said. "But you could tell that he went right down and wasn't getting up."

    On Friday, Kacyvenski said, "I've still got some headaches, but I feel good ... a lot better than I was on Monday. I'm just trying to make it back to normal."

    How long that will take is anybody's guess, at this point.

    "I've just got to make sure I'm right after this one," Kacyvenski said. "But I'll be OK; I'll be like brand new. I've just got to get enough time to heal.

    Linehan loses power

    Scott Linehan's home in Town and Country was without electricity after Thursday's storm. But that's not an unusual occurrence for the family of five.

    "I think I'm a jinx when it comes to the power," he said. "I've been knocked out by two hurricanes (last year in Miami), a wind storm (here...
    -12-02-2006, 05:06 AM