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Every given Sunday: Another unbeaten for Rams

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  • Every given Sunday: Another unbeaten for Rams

    AP Sports Writer

    ST. LOUIS — The schedule has done zero favors for the one-win
    St. Louis Rams, the first team in NFL history to draw unbeaten
    opponents in three straight home games.

    Good luck parlaying fresh legs off the bye week and a two-week
    buzz from their lone victory now that the prolific New Orleans
    Saints are coming to town. New Orleans (8-0) was a two-touchdown
    favorite to follow the script of the Colts (42-6, Week 7) and
    Vikings (38-10, Week 5) and give the Rams another reason to lose
    faith in the home-field advantage.

    “You definitely don’t want to play a team like New Orleans every
    week,” Rams quarterback Marc Bulger said. "They’re going to get
    their points, it’s as simple as that.

    “So we have to find a way to keep up with them.”

    Since moving to St. Louis in 1995, the Rams (1-7) are 6-2 at
    home coming off the bye week. In 2007 they beat the Saints on
    the road in after the bye for their first victory after an 0-8

    Useless, ancient statistics.

    “That was two years ago,” Bulger said. “If you look around this
    locker room, there are not too many guys left that were on that

    Extra time to prepare? Rookie coach Steve Spagnuolo worries it
    wasn’t enough to get ready for the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense,
    and scoffed at Saints comments that indicated they haven’t been
    at their best lately.

    “I don’t know if anybody ever figures them out,” Spagnuolo said.
    “That’s a compliment to them and scary for the rest of the
    league that they can play better.”

    The Saints average 37.9 points and have scored 30 or more points
    the last four games to match a franchise best. They’re 8-0 for
    the first time and one win shy of tying the franchise record for
    consecutive victories because to this point they’ve been able to
    overcome mistakes with sheer firepower and by forcing their
    opponents into a league-high 24 turnovers.

    Drew Brees leads the NFL in passer rating and has 17 touchdown
    passes; he’s also the league’s best in the fourth quarter. Seven
    Saints have scored three or more TDs.

    Last week all those tools helped erase an early two-touchdown
    deficit caused by two turnovers in a 30-20 victory over the
    Panthers. New Orleans has a plus-8 turnover differential, tied
    for third best in the NFL, which is the biggest reason it’s
    perfect after going 4-4 halfway through last season.

    “We’ve been lucky up to this point because we’ve gotten some
    turnovers of our own,” Brees said. “It just makes you think
    about how good we could really be if we take better care of the
    football and end up scoring points on those times where we’re
    giving it away.”

    After coming from behind to win the last three games, the Saints
    have entered a softer portion of their schedule. The next two
    opponents, the Rams and Bucs, are a combined 2-14.

    Six more wins after that, and they can match the Patriots’
    perfect 16-0 regular season in 2007. That talk is for later.

    “The thought has crossed my mind, but it’s not something that I
    ever think more than about two seconds,” Brees said. "They’re
    not going to walk in the stadium and throw up the white flag
    when they play us.

    “In fact, it’s the opposite. I think we’re going to get
    everybody’s best performance, everybody’s best game.”

    Saddled with the NFL’s most feeble offense (9.6 points), one of
    the most porous defenses (27.6 points) and a minus-7 turnover
    differential, the Rams have yet to even come close to that

    Before its bye, St. Louis ended a 17-game losing streak with a
    17-10 victory over the one-win Lions on Nov. 1. The Rams’ top
    scoring game is 20 points in an overtime loss at Jacksonville,
    while the Saints’ lowest output is 24 points against the Jets.

    Still, they vow not to take this one lightly.

    “They’ve played against some really good teams and some really
    good offenses, and have been put in some tough spots with short
    fields and that kind of stuff,” Brees said. “I just know they’re
    going to have a great plan for us.”

    The Rams’ best hope likely is ball control with an offense
    centered around bruising Steven Jackson and a much improved
    line. Jackson is tied for third in the NFL with 784 yards
    rushing and fourth in the league with 970 yards from scrimmage,
    plus he’s coming off his best game of the year, dragging Lions
    tacklers for 149 yards and rambling 25 yards for the deciding

    “He’s a tremendous worker, he’s big and strong, he’s got great
    speed and he’s an exceptional player,” Payton said. “He’s
    certainly one of the elite players in this league.”

  • #2
    Re: Every given Sunday: Another unbeaten for Rams

    “You definitely don’t want to play a team like New Orleans every
    week,” Rams quarterback Marc Bulger said. "They’re going to get
    their points, it’s as simple as that.

    I know we near the bottom of the NFL but that statement just don’t sound right to me. If the rams is ever to moved out of the basement it should want to play the best teams and should expect to win. Maybe we can be where they are one day.
    Last edited by eldfan; -11-13-2009, 07:20 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Every given Sunday: Another unbeaten for Rams

      Originally posted by eldfan
      Maybe we can be where they are one day.

      Actually we were not so long ago until, of course, the front office blundered and screwed us with one gaffe after another and on and on...:|

      WHAT SAY YE?


      • #4
        Re: Every given Sunday: Another unbeaten for Rams

        Originally posted by eldfan
        By R.B. FALLSTROM
        AP Sports Writer

        ST. LOUIS — The schedule has done zero favors for the one-win
        St. Louis Rams, the first team in NFL history to draw unbeaten
        opponents in three straight home games.
        Would it be better if the one-win St. Louis Rams drew unbeaten opponents in three straight away games?

        Normally, I'd think it would be a good thing to play your toughest opponents at home.


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        • r8rh8rmike
          Schedule Sends St. Louis Rams Another Strong Opponent
          by r8rh8rmike
          Schedule sends St. Louis Rams another strong opponent

          BY JIM THOMAS

          At least the Rams don't play an unbeaten team this week. Then again, the visiting Arizona Cardinals are unbeaten on the road this season.

          "Thanks," coach Steve Spagnuolo said, with mock sarcasm.

          The news of Arizona's road success wasn't exactly the pick-me-up he was looking for after Sunday's 28-23 near miss against New Orleans.

          But that's the way things have gone this season for the Rams — one hurdle after another. The Rams' first four home opponents in 2009 — Green Bay, Minnesota, Indianapolis and New Orleans — are a combined 31-5. In comparison, the NFC West-leading Cardinals are a "modest" 6-3.

          "We've got a division game, a rival," defensive tackle Clifton Ryan said. "High-powered offensive attack with a great quarterback in Kurt Warner. I know the fans are going to be happy to see him. Every time he comes back, he gets a warm reception."

          Warner obviously has some help in the passing game.

          "Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston," Ryan said, listing the Big Red's top three receivers. "The list goes on and on. The high-powered offenses keep on rolling into St. Louis. And we've got to be up to the challenge to stop 'em."

          In order, the Rams have faced the No. 8 (Green Bay), No. 7 (Minnesota), No. 3 (Indianapolis) and No. 1 (New Orleans) offenses in the NFL at home. Arizona isn't far off the pace, bringing the league's 12th-ranked offense to the dome for a 3:05 p.m. kickoff Sunday.

          "A lot of good quarterbacks," defensive end Chris Long said. "Already getting to play Peyton Manning, Drew (Brees), now Kurt."

          And some guy named Brett Favre.

          "Yeah, Favre," Long said. "How could I forget that guy? Yeah, we've played some good quarterbacks. But when you play a good quarterback like that, like these guys, the margin for error becomes so small. They truly manage the game to perfection. You really have to make no mistakes."

          In order, Favre, Brees, Manning and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers are ranked 1-2-3-4 in the NFL in passer rating. Warner isn't far off the pace with the 11th-best passer rating in the league (91.5).

          If only for one Sunday, the Rams showed they can play with the big boys of the NFL by going toe-to-toe with the Saints for 60 minutes.

          "I feel that this team's only going to get better," wide receiver Brandon Gibson said. "We showed that we are capable of playing with one of the better teams. We've just got to always play at a high level."

          Games like that have been few and far between for the Rams lately. The Rams have lost 22 games since the start of the 2008 season,...
          -11-17-2009, 02:52 PM
        • MauiRam
          Rams will face a rejuvenated Saints team ..
          by MauiRam
          BY JIM THOMAS Thursday, December 9, 2010 12:10 am

          Your offseason's a month shorter than most since you've been playing all the way into early February. And once the new season begins, there's a bull's-eye on your chest, because 31 other teams want to get where you've been.

          "We talked so much about that coming into the season," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. "Everybody wants to accomplish what you accomplished less than a year ago. I think we knew coming into the season that we were going to get everybody's best performance, and that everybody would mark us on the calendar as kind of the team to beat until you prove otherwise."

          For the first couple of months of this season the Saints sure looked a little groggy. In 2009, the Saints started 13-0 en route to a 31-17 victory over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.

          This season, the Saints lurched out to a 4-3 start that included losses to a couple of less-than-stellar foes in Arizona and Cleveland. By New Orleans standards, the league's most dynamic offense of a year ago had to huff-and-puff its way to points.

          But just in time for the Rams, Sunday's opponent in the Louisiana Superdome, the Saints have started humming on offense. The Saints (9-3) have won five consecutive games, and during the last four victories have averaged 33 points. (They averaged a modest 21 points in their first eight contests.)

          "We're running the ball a little bit more effectively than maybe earlier in the season and that's been a point of emphasis for us," coach Sean Payton said. "I think that's helped us."

          Actually, the Saints have run it a lot more effectively. Through eight games, New Orleans averaged 84.8 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry on the ground. Over the last four contests? Try 126 yards per game and 4.8 yards a carry.

          This has happened even though Pierre Thomas has been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury in Game 3 against Atlanta. The University of Illinois product was full participation in Wednesday's practice and is expected to return against the Rams. Reggie Bush missed eight games with a fractured fibula. Since returning on Thanksgiving against Dallas, he has only 10 touches in two games.

          The player who has rescued the Saints' running game is unheralded Chris Ivory, an undrafted rookie from Tiffin (Ohio) University. When it was mentioned during a conference call that not many people had heard of Ivory, Brees quipped: "I hadn't heard of him either."

          Saints opponents are learning about him the hard way. Ivory has rushed for 636 yards and is averaging a robust 5.2 yards a carry. He is coming off a 117-yard, two-touchdown outing against Cincinnati.

          "He's doing great," Brees said. "Just a guy, and we have a lot of these guys, the undrafted...
          -12-08-2010, 11:42 PM
        • RamWraith
          Saints carry confidence into meeting with Rams
          by RamWraith
          By Jim Thomas
          Of the Post-Dispatch
          Something is strangely amiss. A Saints-Rams game week has come and gone without New Orleans wide receiver Joe "Hollywood" Horn saying anything inflammatory before kickoff.

          Horn has leveled many a zinger at the Rams in the past. But he did nothing but make nice this past week in New Orleans.

          When asked by New Orleans reporters if this was still a big rivalry game for the Saints, he replied: "No. You want to know why? They've got a Super Bowl ring. They've been to multiple Super Bowls. ... I can't say nothing negative about them and try to spark a rivalry."


          And there's more.

          "Coach (Mike) Martz has done a hell of a job," Horn said.

          Take that!

          What about former Saints tight end Cam Cleeland, now with the Rams, and his anti-Saints and anti-Jim Haslett remarks on Wednesday from Rams Park?

          "That's just Cam getting off some frustrations that he felt," Horn said. "He and Kyle (Turley) had some issues that they didn't like (with the organization). But they're very good friends of mine, and I love them to death."

          In your face!

          In a conference call with St. Louis reporters, Haslett, the New Orleans coach, made it sound like he and Martz were bosom buddies. Strange, since in 2000 and 2001 - when the Saints and Rams played each other five times over a 12 1/2- month period - they looked very much like mortal enemies.

          So perhaps this is some sort of a setup. Now a couple of years older and wiser, maybe Horn and Haslett are trying to kill the Rams with kindness.

          Make no mistake, the Saints aren't going to be the least bit intimidated by the Rams' 15-game regular-season winning streak at the Edward Jones Dome. New Orleans has won its last two contests here, including one of only two regular-season losses by the NFC-champion Rams in 2001.

          No Deuce McAllister (ankle) at running back? No problem. The Saints won here in 2000 with Jerald Moore and Chad Morton as their feature backs.

          Besides, the Rams have more on their minds these days than whether the Saints remain a rival. They left the Georgia Dome on the short end of a 34-17 score to Atlanta last Sunday, bewildered by the scrambling sorties of Michael Vick and befuddled by a Falcons front four that played like the Fearsome Foursome.


          "We don't need to look any further than the fact that we need a win," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said. "Coming off a loss you need a win even more. It's just the way it feels. So we want to get back in the winner's column, get that good feeling again, and build off of it."

          It's as simple as that. The last thing the Rams want to do is stub their toe at home against...
          -09-26-2004, 04:47 AM
        • MauiRam
          With Saints ahead, Rams get down to work quickly
          by MauiRam
          BY JIM THOMAS

          Refreshed and relaxed after a four-day break for their bye week, the Rams returned to practice Monday. But if you think coach Steve Spagnuolo had a big speech waiting for his squad on what lies ahead over the second half of the season, think again.

          "No, just got right back into the normal week," Spagnuolo said, blinders on as usual.

          That's probably a good thing considering that this week's opponent is the unbeaten New Orleans Saints — 8-0 and proud possessors of the NFL's top-ranked offense. No need to look beyond that. "We've got a great challenge because they've got some great skill position players," defensive end Leonard Little said. "Great receivers, great quarterback, great running back. But every week is a challenge."

          That's for sure. Especially at home this season. The Saints are the third consecutive unbeaten team to visit the Edward Jones Dome. Minnesota was 4-0 before defeating the Rams 38-10 on Oct. 11. Indianapolis was 5-0 before a 42-6 rout of the Rams on Oct. 25. The Saints are merely the latest NFL heavyweight to visit the Gateway City.

          "It's been tough, the first eight games," Little said. "But I think guys got refreshed during the bye week. And we're coming back and trying to get ready for this challenge."

          The Rams have had success coming out of the bye week since the move to St. Louis in 1995. They are 9-5 over that span in their first game following a bye, including a 6-2 mark when that game is at home.

          The Saints know first-hand not to take the 1-7 Rams lightly in this situation, regardless of the record. The Rams were 0-8 under Scott Linehan coming out of their bye in 2007 but stunned a Saints team that was riding a four-game winning streak 37-29 at the Superdome. At Marc Bulger's suggestion, Linehan got the game ball after that one.

          This season, the Rams ended a franchise-record 17-game losing streak in their most recent contest, a 17-10 victory at Detroit on Nov. 1. Now, they'd like to end another streak, having lost their last eight home games. That ties the 1997-98 Rams for the second-longest home drought in franchise history. (The Los Angeles Rams lost 11 straight home games from 1961-63 to set the record.)

          "We went to a lot of road games the first half of the season," Little said. "And most of our games now are at home. It'd be nice to win at home because the fans deserve it. We're going to work hard and try to do that."

          The Rams play five of their final eight games at home, with the New Orleans game beginning a string of three consecutive home contests. The Rams don't have to leave St. Louis again until a Dec. 6 contest at Chicago.

          During the bye, many Rams left town after last Wednesday's practice to get away from football...
          -11-10-2009, 08:28 AM
        • RamWraith
          Conwell's back - as a Saint
          by RamWraith
          By Lori Shontz
          Of the Post-Dispatch

          Ernie Conwell was born in Reston, Wash., and he stayed at home for his college years at the University of Washington. Since 2002, he has played tight end for the New Orleans Saints.

          But when people ask Conwell and his wife, Andrea, where they're from, they often fail to mention either of those places.

          "My wife and I, we still have a tendency to say we're from St. Louis," said Conwell, who played in St. Louis for seven years after the Rams chose him in the second round of the 1996 NFL draft. "That's where we really grew into adulthood as a married couple. Where our kids grew up."

          So when Conwell returns to the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday for the first time as an opposing player, he expects to feel a twinge or two.

          "I'm sure it's going to be a weird feeling to be on the opposite sideline," he said. "And it'll be a different experience. But I think all that'll happen in pre-game, the warm-ups, and then just like anything else, when the game starts we're playing football and it'll kind of just subside, I'm sure."

          The Saints, as usual, are looked upon as a team with plenty of talent, particularly offensively, with running back Deuce McAllister (who was injured a week ago against the *****), quarterback Aaron Brooks and wide receivers Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth. Somehow, however, that talent rarely turns into results.

          "The key right now is we don't want to talk about talent, ability, potential," Conwell said. "They're almost like four-letter words in this business. We just know that we have to take care of business every week and that we're only as good as we are on game day.

          "I think we're just maturing in that we realize that we're going to have to prepare like champions, we're going to have to practice like champions, and then go out and play hard and winning will take care of itself. I think we're starting to learn that as a team."

          That said, the Saints started the season with a loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and although they beat San Francisco a week ago, they played sloppily at times. They also lost McAllister with a high-ankle sprain. He will be out for four or five weeks, leaving the running back duties to Aaron Stecker and Ki-Jana Carter.

          "We'll package them up based on what they do best," Saints coach Jim Haslett said in his Monday news conference. "I think both of them have good qualities; both of them are good running backs.

          "I think Aaron showed (Sunday against San Francisco) that he has good, pretty good running skills, he's tough. You can see why Ki-Jana Carter was the No. 1 pick in the draft - he's got great vision. He's lost a little bit of speed, but he's a good player."

          By necessity, Haslett said, the Saints will...
          -09-26-2004, 04:48 AM