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A new low for rams

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  • A new low for rams

    The formula for victory couldn't have been more clear-cut for the Rams entering Sunday's game at Candlestick Park. Against a San Francisco squad that featured a snarling defense, but a pedestrian offense, the surest path to an upset victory was to minimize mistakes, take care of the football and don't give up anything cheap.

    Alas, the Rams did just the opposite. On a day when the defense played spirited football and Steven Jackson ran as hard as humanly possible, the Rams gift-wrapped three touchdowns for the ***** and seemingly made more mistakes than humanly possible.

    The result was another sobering dose of humiliation, a 35-0 shellacking that left the Rams at 0-4 this season and extended their franchise-record losing streak to 14 games. The Rams have been outscored by an astounding 108-24 this season. They are as painful to watch as ever. Yes, the defense is more competitive, but that's more than negated by an offense that isn't — Jackson's work notwithstanding.

    There was no fire and brimstone from coach Steve Spagnuolo after the loss. No calling out of players. Just lots of disappointment.

    "I am disappointed in the loss," Spagnuolo said. "I'm disappointed in how it happened. I'm disappointed that we weren't able to play a better football game — that the score was what it was. I'm not discouraged, just disappointed in the way it went."

    Defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, who has played some of his best football the past two weeks, made an unusual postgame plea.

    "I'm asking our fans to be patient," Ryan said. "I'm asking you guys in the media to be patient. We can't turn it around overnight. It's going to be a work in progress.

    "When the Rams first got here they won the Super Bowl and went to two Super Bowls — a lot of success in their first 10 years. I think our fans and the media got real spoiled.

    "But we're going to get it back because we've got a lot of young guys dedicated to getting this show back on the road, and getting this franchise back to being one of the top franchises in this league."

    As sincere as Ryan's comments were, patience is in short supply in Rams Nation. This franchise has lost 31 of its past 36 games, and despite an offseason in which the mantra seemingly was blow it all up, things don't seem to be getting any better at the quarter pole of the 2009 season.

    "It hurts me, and it hurts all these guys to lose 14 straight," Ryan said. "Because we work real hard and we take pride in the product we put on the field. I don't want you guys to think that this is not important to us. It's very important to us. We're hurting inside.

    "We deserve so much more, as a team, as a city, and as a franchise. Because we put a lot of hard work and dedication into playing each and every Sunday."

    But it takes more than hard work and dedication to win in the NFL, where the difference between winning and losing usually is paper thin. It takes execution. It takes focus. It takes playmakers. So far the Rams have been totally lacking in those areas.

    Mistake after mistake after mistake continues to kill the team.

    For starters, Danny Amendola returned the opening kickoff 92 yards to the San Francisco 3. "I was pretty pumped," Amendola said. "It put us in good field position."

    But the play was negated on a holding call on Anthony Smith, the former Green Bay Packer playing in his first game for the Rams.

    Misfortune turned to disaster late in the second quarter of a scoreless game when San Francisco punter Andy Lee sent a short punt deep into Rams territory. The ball bounced off Quincy Butler, who was blocking on the play with his back to the ball, and caromed past return man Amendola into the end zone.

    "I felt the ball hit me, it hit me in the back of my leg," Butler said. "I tried to run and go get it. But things didn't turn out my way."

    Butler compounded the problem by trying to scoop the ball up in the end zone instead of falling on it. He failed to field it cleanly, and ***** linebacker Scott McKillop fell on the ball for a touchdown and a 7-0 San Francisco lead with 5 minutes, 27 seconds left in the half.

    "I thought about falling on it," Butler said. "But my first reaction was just to pick it up and try to kick it out of the end zone or something."

    But there was no need to do so. By league rule, since the original contact was inadvertent, the play would've been merely a touchback — and not a safety — had Butler merely fallen on the ball in the end zone.

    The St. Louis mistakes weren't just limited to special teams. Four penalties against the offense kept the Rams from getting on track despite 49 first-half rushing yards from Jackson.

    One of those penalties, an illegal formation penalty against left tackle Alex Barron, wiped out a 19-yard reception by Amendola to the San Francisco 17 with 1:21 to play in the first half. The penalty backed the Rams up to the 41, ending that scoring threat — and ending Barron's day. He was benched in favor of John Greco.

    "I just felt it was something we needed to do at that particular point," Spagnuolo said.

    The floodgates opened in the third quarter when the ***** used the short field to march 48 yards for a TD, and then Kyle Boller's errant pass was intercepted by linebacker Pat Willis and returned 23 yards for a TD. The 'Niners scored a second defensive TD early in the fourth quarter when defensive tackle Ray McDonald returned a botched handoff from Boller to Amendola on an end-around 11 yards for a score.
    :ramlogo:

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  • Nick
    Rams fall to San Francisco *****
    by Nick
    Rams fall to San Francisco *****
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Monday, Oct. 05 2009

    SAN FRANCISCO — The formula for victory couldn't have been more clear-cut for
    the Rams entering Sunday's game at Candlestick Park. Against a San Francisco
    squad that featured a snarling defense, but a pedestrian offense, the surest
    path to an upset victory was to minimize mistakes, take care of the football
    and don't give up anything cheap.

    Alas, the Rams did just the opposite. On a day when the defense played spirited
    football and Steven Jackson ran as hard as humanly possible, the Rams
    gift-wrapped three touchdowns for the ***** and seemingly made more mistakes
    than humanly possible.

    The result was another sobering dose of humiliation, a 35-0 shellacking that
    left the Rams at 0-4 this season and extended their franchise-record losing
    streak to 14 games. The Rams have been outscored by an astounding 108-24 this
    season. They are as painful to watch as ever. Yes, the defense is more
    competitive, but that's more than negated by an offense that isn't — Jackson's
    work notwithstanding.

    There was no fire and brimstone from coach Steve Spagnuolo after the loss. No
    calling out of players. Just lots of disappointment.

    "I am disappointed in the loss," Spagnuolo said. "I'm disappointed in how it
    happened. I'm disappointed that we weren't able to play a better football game
    — that the score was what it was. I'm not discouraged, just disappointed in the
    way it went."

    Defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, who has played some of his best football the
    past two weeks, made an unusual postgame plea.

    "I'm asking our fans to be patient," Ryan said. "I'm asking you guys in the
    media to be patient. We can't turn it around overnight. It's going to be a work
    in progress.

    "When the Rams first got here they won the Super Bowl and went to two Super
    Bowls — a lot of success in their first 10 years. I think our fans and the
    media got real spoiled.

    "But we're going to get it back because we've got a lot of young guys dedicated
    to getting this show back on the road, and getting this franchise back to being
    one of the top franchises in this league."

    As sincere as Ryan's comments were, patience is in short supply in Rams Nation.
    This franchise has lost 31 of its past 36 games, and despite an offseason in
    which the mantra seemingly was blow it all up, things don't seem to be getting
    any better at the quarter pole of the 2009 season.

    "It hurts me, and it hurts all these guys to lose 14 straight," Ryan said.
    "Because...
    -10-05-2009, 09:35 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Mentally, Rams Are A Lost Cause
    by r8rh8rmike
    Mentally, Rams are a lost cause

    Columnist Jeff Gordon
    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    10/04/2009

    The Rams have enough physical ability to win a few National Football League games this season. Really, they do.

    But mentally . . . well, let’s just say the Rams appear to be a lost cause.

    Football is a game of myriad details and techniques -– there isn’t one of them that the Rams can’t screw up. When they take the field, they are one giant mistake waiting to happen.

    They made one blunder after another, turning a low-scoring defensive struggle into a dispiriting 35-0 loss at San Francisco.

    In this game, they were flagged 10 times for 73 yards. Coach Steve Spagnuolo noted that the team earned just one penalty in 210 practice plays this week -– and then failed to carry it over to the game.

    “We have to play disciplined,” Spagnuolo told the Rams Radio Network after the game. “We have to keep working at it.”

    Quarterback Kyle Boller threw an interception that resulted in a TD. He also muffed a handoff exchange, resulting in another ***** TD.

    “It is hard to overcome turnovers and giving them points,” Spagnuolo surmised.

    The Rams (0-4) took another huge step backward while losing for the 31st time in 36 games. Whatever progress made in Week 2 is long forgotten now.

    In their last six quarters, opponents have outscored the Rams 49-3. Forty-nine to three! The Rams have been shut out twice in four games.

    Their defense held the ***** to 229 yards. San Francisco converted just four of 13 third-down plays. But the Rams offense gained just 177 yards and never even reached the red zone in this game.

    Spagnuolo doesn’t want to talk about the past. But the Rams seem intent on reliving their last two season collapses no matter how many incumbent players are run off.

    Let us review the gaffes they committed Sunday:

    * The Rams opened the game with Danny Amendola’s 91-yard kickoff return. But . . . blocker Anthony Smith got flagged for holding, bringing the ball all the way back to the Rams 22.

    * The Rams earned back-to-back offensive penalties in the first quarter, a holding penalty on tight end Daniel Fells and a five-yard call for having 12 men in the huddle.

    * Cornerback Jonathan Wade prolonged a ***** drive by earning a pass interference penalty while trying to cover Josh Morgan.

    * The Rams' punt coverage team accidentally kicked the ball into its own end zone. Quincy Butler got to the loose ball first, but failed to scoop it up on the fly. Then the ***** swarm arrived and fell on the ball for a touchdown. That was the only score of the first half.

    * Alex Barron destroyed a scoring drive by failing to line up correctly. His five-yard penalty for being behind...
    -10-05-2009, 08:22 PM
  • eldfan
    Rams Team Report
    by eldfan
    The biggest question following Sunday's 35-0 loss to San Francisco was the immediate future of left tackle Alex Barron. Entering the final year of his contract, Barron was moved from right tackle to left tackle this past offseason following the release of Orlando Pace. He stayed there after the Rams selected tackle Jason Smith with the second overall pick in the draft. Smith has missed the last two games because of a knee injury, but might be ready to return this week. The question was whether he will remain at right tackle or replace Barron, who was benched late in the first half against the *****. With the score 7-0, the Rams had moved from their own 27 to the San Francisco 36, where it was third-and-4 with 1:29 left in the half. Quarterback Kyle Boller connected with Danny Amendola on a 17-yard play to the 19-yard line. However, the play was negated by one of the team's 10 penalties. Barron was called for not lining up on the line of scrimmage. Barron was then replaced by John Greco, who played the remainder of the game. Greco had practiced at left tackle during the week while Barron missed time because of a thigh injury. Asked about the decision after the game, coach Steve Spagnuolo said, "Well, again it's not a policy, that's not something that we're going to be doing here. Someone makes a mistake we're not yanking people out of here. I told the group I have a tremendous amount of confidence Alex Barron, I still do. I just felt that it was something we had to do at that particular point and it's over and done and we'll move on." Said Barron, "It was just a decision made by the coach, and that was that. You don't want to get pulled, but it happens." Barron refused to comment on whether the decision was justified, and when asked if he would be more motivated in practice this week, said, "You've got to be motivated anyway. We've got a game Sunday. We've got to play against a good team. Our focus is toward the Vikings." Greco, a third-round pick in 2008, started one game at guard as a rookie, and worked exclusively at guard during the offseason and training camp. He missed the first two games this season with a wrist injury, and began practicing at tackle after Smith suffered a knee injury in Week 2 because the team had no other tackles behind Barron and Adam Goldberg. "I wanted to show that I could play anywhere," he said. "I was kind of getting ready for it this week (in practice). I got an opportunity to get in there, and hopefully I did my job." Center Jason Brown had praise for the job Greco did. "John did a very good job out there; we're proud of him," Brown said. "We never like to call each other backup players; we like to say we have solid depth. Whenever a man goes down, the next guy called to duty has to come in and perform at a level that'll help us win the game. He did that today." Concluded Greco, "It felt good to get in, but I'm kind of sick about the loss."...
    -10-06-2009, 08:08 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Team Report - October 14
    by r8rh8rmike
    INSIDE SLANT

    In 1983, the Rams set a franchise record with 24 lost fumbles. If the current Rams don't find a way to correct their chronic case of butter-fingers, that record will be shattered.

    Through five games, the Rams lead the NFL with nine lost fumbles, a figure that projects to 29 for the season. Twenty-six NFL teams have four lost fumbles or less. The only teams with more than four are Oakland (eight), Jacksonville and Tennessee (six), and Buffalo and Carolina (five).

    Not coincidentally, the six teams with five or more including the Rams have a combined record of 5-24.

    The Rams are also tied for the league lead with Washington for total fumbles with 12, although the Redskins have lost just four. Only the Rams (12/9), Oakland (11/8), Tennessee (9/6), Jacksonville (8/6), Buffalo (8/5), Denver (7/4), Cleveland 6/4) and San Diego (5/3) have lost more than half of their fumbles.

    At minus-7 (12 turnovers, five takeaways), the Rams have the second-worst turnover ratio in the league. Only Carolina is worse at minus-9. Since the Rams had three takeaways in the first quarter of the season opener, they have just two takeaways in the next 19 quarters.

    Compounding the problem is the usual negative results of their own miscues. Of the 12 turnovers, six have resulted in touchdowns, with four scored on the turnover in the last two games. Adding in two field goals, 48 of the 146 points against have been the result of turnovers.

    Meanwhile, four turnovers have come in the red zone from the opponent's 5-yard line or closer.

    Numerous players have shared in the malaise. Wide receiver Donnie Avery has lost two fumbles, one at the 5-yard line when the Rams were set to take a fourth-quarter lead at Washington. Quarterback Kyle Boller has lost two fumbles, with quarterback Marc Bulger, running back Steven Jackson, tight end Daniel Fells, wide receiver Danny Amendola and cornerback Quincy Butler also losing fumbles. Butler's came on a punt, when the ball hit his foot, bounced into the end zone and was recovered by the ***** for a touchdown.

    Said coach Steve Spagnuolo, "It's a ball security thing. We're preaching it all the time. It'll get solved. It's funny they're all a different way. If you think back, they're all different. But it's the same result.

    "I don't know if we can emphasize it more. We will continue to emphasize it. (But) we can't turn the ball over; that's been our Achilles heel now."

    Added defensive end Leonard Little, "The only thing separating us from winning games is mistakes. We all know what the problem is."

    SERIES HISTORY: 3rd meeting. Rams lead the series, 2-0, playing in 1996 and 2005. Both previous games have been played in St. Louis and won by three points.

    NOTES & QUOTES

    QB Marc Bulger practiced with the first...
    -10-15-2009, 11:51 AM
  • eldfan
    Last whimper for Rams
    by eldfan
    Last whimper for Rams
    AP)BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    01/04/2010

    Like so many other Sundays this season, the Rams came out scrappy, hung around and threatened to make a game of it.

    Like so many other Sundays, they went out quietly — another day, another defeat. When things go south with these guys, they go w-a-y south. And so it was Sunday on Fan Appreciation Day at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Trailing only 7-6 against San Francisco with 7˝ minutes to play in the fourth quarter, the Rams picked the worst time possible to give up their longest pass play of the season. On third and 1 from the San Francisco 27, quarterback Alex Smith threw deep to Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis. Davis got behind Rams safety James Butler, and once Davis got the ball nobody was going to catch him.

    The 73-yard touchdown catch gave San Francisco a 14-6 lead with 7:29 to play. Before all was said and done, the 'Niners left town with a 28-6 victory, and the Rams left the stadium red-faced as usual.

    "It's a hard way to finish," Steve Spagnuolo said of his 1-15 debut as an NFL head coach. "For 3˝ quarters, it was toe to toe with a good football team ... and then to have it kind of get away like that at the end. We were hoping to finish on a high note and weren't able to do that."

    Not even close. Just about any way you slice it, this was the worst season in Rams football history. Over the course of the campaign the Rams set franchise marks for:

    — Most consecutive losses (17, going back to last season).

    — Most consecutive home losses (13).

    — Most losses in one season (15).

    The 1-15 debacle is definitely something no player, coach or anyone else in the organization ever wants to go through again.

    "That's kind of like asking a boxer who just got knocked out, 'Do you want to get knocked out again?' " offensive lineman Adam Goldberg said. "No, you don't want to get knocked out again."

    The Rams were pummeled on several levels Sunday, particularly on offense.

    They managed a mere 109 yards, a single-game low since the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995.

    For the 13th time in 16 games, the Rams scored one or fewer TDs.

    The Rams managed only one first down in the entire second half, and just six for the game.

    Add it all up, and their season total of 175 points scored was the sixth-lowest total in the NFL since the league went to the 16-game schedule in 1978.

    On Sunday, rookie quarterback Keith Null was knocked woozy by a relentless San Francisco pass rush. His replacement midway through the third quarter, Kyle Boller, was under siege not only from the ***** but also from teammate Steven Jackson.

    Early in the fourth quarter, Jackson was stuffed behind...
    -01-04-2010, 05:20 AM
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