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Rams Notebook: Too Little Time To Go For A TD, Coach Says

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  • Rams Notebook: Too Little Time To Go For A TD, Coach Says

    Rams notebook: Too little time to go for a TD, coach says
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/19/2009

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Seven seconds to play, down by three, ball on the 9, one timeout remaining. Do you go for the touchdown, or kick the field goal?

    Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo opted for the Josh Brown field goal, which sent Sunday's game against Jacksonville into overtime tied 20-20. The Rams never got their hands on the football again, because the Jaguars scored on the first possession of OT for a 23-20 victory.

    Why not take one last shot at the end zone at the end of regulation?

    "It was too close," Spagnuolo said. "We've worked it before — 8 seconds we say we can (go for it). You would never want something to happen — just couldn't take the chance. One more tick on the clock, I think you can throw one there. I think it was the right thing to do. I do."

    A 13-yard completion from quarterback Marc Bulger to tight end Randy McMichael put the Rams in position for no worse than a chip-shot field goal attempt, giving them a first down at the Jacksonville 9. Bulger spiked the ball on second down to stop the clock with 15 seconds left.

    On the next play, Bulger was pressured quickly, scrambled to his right, and threw the ball away. That sequence took eight seconds off the clock.

    AVERY'S INJURY

    The Rams are keeping their fingers crossed that wide receiver Donnie Avery's latest hip injury isn't a "replay" of a 2008 stress fracture that sidelined him for most of training camp as a rookie. Avery left Sunday's game with a left hip injury attempting to make a leaping sideline catch early in the second quarter. He was done for the day.

    "I just landed on the hip, the same hip I played on last year with a crack," Avery said. "The X-rays came out negative. I'm going to get an MRI in the morning. I'm just hoping for something positive and coming back out next week and playing."

    MORE INJURIES

    Defensive end James Hall suffered a groin injury that sidelined him in the fourth quarter and overtime. Nickel back Justin King also was done for the day with a groin injury he suffered in the second half.

    On the second play from scrimmage in overtime, cornerback Ron Bartell left after getting "dinged" in the head, and linebacker Will Witherspoon left with a hip and back injury.

    Tight end Daniel Fells and wide receiver Tim Carter briefly left in the second quarter after getting shaken up, but each missed only one play before returning.

    WHERE'S THE PASSION?

    Jacksonville was cited for its football passion when awarded an expansion franchise in 1993 over St. Louis. There didn't seem to be much passion, and there certainly weren't many fans, on hand Sunday at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

    A total of 42,088 tickets were distributed for the contest, and the Jaguars have yet to draw as many as 50,000 fans to a home game this season. Every Jaguars game is expected to be blacked out this season, and one of the most frequent reasons cited for the lack of fan support is that the team isn't winning.

    But with Sunday's victory, the Jaguars are a respectable 49-40 over the last five-plus seasons, or since the start of the 2004 season. Over that same span, the Rams are 28-60.

  • #2
    Re: Rams Notebook: Too Little Time To Go For A TD, Coach Says

    Jaguars to Los Angeles?

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    • eldfan
      St. Louis Rams' losing streak reaches 16 games
      eldfan
      Registered User
      by eldfan
      St. Louis Rams' losing streak reaches 16 games
      BY JIM THOMAS
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      10/19/2009

      JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For a few brief moments Sunday afternoon, sunshine broke through the dark cloud that has been hovering over this franchise for a full calendar year.

      Rams defensive end Leonard Little pawed at the short pass in the flat intended for Jaguars fullback Greg Jones, and then got the football fully in his grasp. He sprinted to the end zone and dived in for a dramatic touchdown just before quarterback David Garrard could knock him out of bounds. Josh Brown's extra point gave the visitors a 17-13 lead with a mere 4 minutes 36 seconds to play at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

      "You're thinking, 'It's about time something good happened for us,'" tight end Randy McMichael said. "A guy like Leonard, who's out there sick and the oldest guy on this football team, and he just makes the biggest play of the year for us."

      Little's 36-yard interception return was the kind of play that can change a game, even change a season.

      But no. Not this time. Not this team. Little has been sick since Friday with strep throat. As for the Rams, they're sick and tired of losing.

      Despite leading for the first 3 1/2 quarters, and then regaining the lead on Little's first TD since 2004, the Rams couldn't seal the deal. Jacksonville's Josh Scobee kicked a 36-yard field goal 7 minutes into overtime, giving the Jaguars a 23-20 victory.

      "This one probably hurts more than any of them," McMichael said. "Not being able to close it out, that's the most disappointing thing."

      So the agony of defeats continues. Seasons change, coaches change, the result doesn't. The Rams are 0-6 this season. Overall, their franchise record and league-worst losing streak is at 16.

      Happy anniversary, Rams Nation. Today marks the one-year anniversary of the team's last victory — a 34-14 triumph over Dallas on Oct. 19, 2008.

      Obviously, rookie head coach Steve Spagnuolo has been at the helm for only six of those losses, but even he is running out of things to say to his players.

      "I don't have any magical words," Spagnuolo said. "I just asked them to hang together, hang tough."

      Easier said than done after so many setbacks. And from Steven Jackson's vantage point, they all make you feel awful.

      "It don't matter how you lose a game," Jackson said. "It really doesn't make you feel any better. At least (not) for me. At the end of the day, we're 0-6. I can't say, 'We almost had that one, we're 0-5 1/2.' A loss is a loss."

      Things started out promisingly for the Rams. Marc Bulger, making his first start since suffering a shoulder injury Sept. 27 against Green Bay, went five for five on the opening drive,...
      -10-19-2009, 07:14 AM
    • eldfan
      Result that matters eludes Rams again
      eldfan
      Registered User
      by eldfan
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      09/21/2009

      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 clichι 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, 08:35 AM
    • ScottD413
      Rams Turn Back the Clock
      Guest
      Guest
      by ScottD413
      By Jim Thomas
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      09/08/2008

      STALLED OFFENSE • Rams fail to convert on all 11 third-down opportunities.
      SHREDDED DEFENSE • 3 Eagles get 100 yards receiving for first time in 48 years.

      * * * * * *

      PHILADELPHIA — It took two plays for their first penalty. Four plays for their first injury. Four of the five offensive line starters had false start penalties — before halftime.



      They couldn't block. They sure couldn't cover. And boy, they really couldn't convert on third down.

      Wait a minute. Wasn't the theme for the 2008 Rams that things would be different this season?

      It sure looked a lot like the 3-13 Rams of a year ago, except maybe worse if you can believe that. Sunday's 38-3 loss to Philadelphia was the most lopsided opening-day defeat in 71 years of Rams football.

      The 35-point margin of defeat was the worst for the club since Scott Linehan took over as head coach in 2006. It took a 46-yard field goal by Josh Brown with 9 minutes left in the game to avoid the franchise's first opening-day shutout since 1965.

      And hopefully, punter Donnie Jones put his kicking leg on ice Sunday night. Jones' 10 punts at Lincoln Financial Field fell just two short of the Rams' single-game record.

      When the best news of the afternoon is a painful blow to the ribs, you know it's not your day. (Left tackle Orlando Pace suffered only sore ribs, and not another shoulder injury, with 10½ minutes left in the game.)

      So all in all it was a discouraging day.

      "I think 'discouraged' is not a very good word," Linehan said. "I don't like to use it, and refuse to use it. I'm very disappointed, though."

      OK, how about "embarrassing"?

      "I would think so," cornerback Fakhir Brown said. "I wish we could play tomorrow. Try to make up for this."

      But as quarterback Marc Bulger points out, there are no mulligans in the NFL.

      "That's about as bad as you can get beat in the NFL," Bulger said. "We realize it. And we don't have any excuses."

      The Rams began their offseason conditioning program 5½ months ago. They are six weeks removed from the start of training camp at Concordia University Wisconsin. But all that work and preparation unraveled in a hurry.

      "To put it in simple terms, we got our butt whipped today," tight end Randy McMichael said Sunday. "There's no way you can sugarcoat it."

      The Rams won the coin toss but elected to defer receiving the ball until the start of the second half. That was the first of many bad moves for St. Louis.

      Philadelphia scored on its first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter. Rookie wide receiver DeSean Jackson, whom the Rams bypassed in favor of Donnie...
      -09-08-2008, 08:44 AM
    • RamWraith
      Rams turn back clock
      RamWraith
      Registered User
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      Monday, Sep. 08 2008
      STALLED OFFENSE • Rams fail to convert on all 11 third-down opportunities.
      SHREDDED DEFENSE • 3 Eagles get 100 yards receiving for first time in 48 years.

      * * * * * *

      PHILADELPHIA — It took two plays for their first penalty. Four plays for their
      first injury. Four of the five offensive line starters had false start
      penalties — before halftime.

      They couldn't block. They sure couldn't cover. And boy, they really couldn't
      convert on third down.

      Wait a minute. Wasn't the theme for the 2008 Rams that things would be
      different this season?

      It sure looked a lot like the 3-13 Rams of a year ago, except maybe worse if
      you can believe that. Sunday's 38-3 loss to Philadelphia was the most lopsided
      opening-day defeat in 71 years of Rams football.

      The 35-point margin of defeat was the worst for the club since Scott Linehan
      took over as head coach in 2006. It took a 46-yard field goal by Josh Brown
      with 9 minutes left in the game to avoid the franchise's first opening-day
      shutout since 1965.

      And hopefully, punter Donnie Jones put his kicking leg on ice Sunday night.
      Jones' 10 punts at Lincoln Financial Field fell just two short of the Rams'
      single-game record.

      When the best news of the afternoon is a painful blow to the ribs, you know
      it's not your day. (Left tackle Orlando Pace suffered only sore ribs, and not
      another shoulder injury, with 10½ minutes left in the game.)

      So all in all it was a discouraging day.

      "I think 'discouraged' is not a very good word," Linehan said. "I don't like to
      use it, and refuse to use it. I'm very disappointed, though."

      OK, how about "embarrassing"?

      "I would think so," cornerback Fakhir Brown said. "I wish we could play
      tomorrow. Try to make up for this."

      But as quarterback Marc Bulger points out, there are no mulligans in the NFL.

      "That's about as bad as you can get beat in the NFL," Bulger said. "We realize
      it. And we don't have any excuses."

      The Rams began their offseason conditioning program 5½ months ago. They are six
      weeks removed from the start of training camp at Concordia University
      Wisconsin. But all that work and preparation unraveled in a hurry.

      "To put it in simple terms, we got our butt whipped today," tight end Randy
      McMichael said Sunday. "There's no way you can sugarcoat it."

      The Rams won the coin toss but elected to defer receiving the ball until the
      start of the second half. That was the first of many bad moves for St. Louis.

      Philadelphia...
      -09-08-2008, 05:23 AM
    • RamWraith
      Believe It Or Not: Strange finish favors Rams
      RamWraith
      Registered User
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
      09/25/2006

      Rams Big Red


      GLENDALE, ARIZ. — First the ball squirted out and onto that retractable grass field at Cardinals Stadium. Then, Arizona defensive end Antonio Smith emerged from the pile with the football. And then the celebration, with the sellout crowd going absolutely nuts.

      For Marc Bulger, this was "Twilight" Zone material. He stood all by his lonesome on the Rams' sideline. As the clock ticked down, and Arizona maneuvered for a game-winning field goal, it was as if Bulger's football life flashed in front of him.

      "Everything came on me at that point," Bulger said. "You work all year round. You know how hard everyone in this (locker) room works. And the organization, the accountants -- everyone.

      "And then to lose the ballgame. That's a big deal. One-16th of the season gone because of one stupid little ball-handling thing."


      But that's not what happened. Because just 16 seconds after Bulger's botched fumble with 2 minutes 3 seconds remaining in the game, Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner amazingly did the same thing. Warner's eighth fumble of the season came on a botched exchange with center Alex Stepanovich. Linebacker Will Witherspoon fell on the ball, preserving a 16-14 St. Louis victory.

      "I didn't have a chance to take a step," Witherspoon said. "The ball was there ... just right there. So I just jumped on the pile to get on top of it. And that's where the end of the story is."

      Well, not exactly.

      It's rare enough for a close game to feature a botched fumble in the final two minutes by both starting quarterbacks. But the ending got even weirder. Arizona had a timeout remaining, so the Rams couldn't quite run out the clock following the Warner fumble.

      Matt Turk punted the ball away with 5 seconds left with Troy Walters fielding the football with a fair catch as time expired. There was an offsides penalty against Arizona on the play, so the game was over. Right?

      Uh, no. For a few minutes, mass confusion reigned. Here's what was going through offensive guard Adam Timmerman's head at the time:

      "Whose ball is it? Is it the offense? Are we going to punt again? What's the deal here?" Timmerman said. "That was weird."

      Under NFL rules, a team can attempt an uncontested free kick after a fair catch at any point in the game. This is so even if time expires at the end of the fair-catch play, as was the case here.

      When the Rams originally declined the penalty, it was explained to them by the officiating crew that declining would allow Arizona to attempt a free kick. So instead of giving St. Louisan Neil Rackers a chance at a 77-yard -- that's right -- 77-yard desperation field goal, the Rams accepted the...
      -09-25-2006, 05:29 AM
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