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  • Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Rams Get Win in Cleveland
    Sunday, August 22, 2010
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    CLEVELAND – Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo made it clear what he wanted to see from in his team’s second preseason game.

    Asked Thursday afternoon what he hoped to get out of the game against the Browns, Spagnuolo immediately mentioned that he wanted his team to get off to a fast start in Cleveland.

    And the Rams gave him exactly what he wanted in putting together a strong first quarter and finishing with a flourish on the way to a 19-17 win at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Saturday night.

    “It was good to see the team come out strong early like we talked about,” Spagnuolo said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a preseason game or not when they keep score and you win, that’s a good thing so I think the team feels good about that.”

    The Rams improved to 1-1 on the exhibition slate while the Browns fell to the same mark.

    One week after the Rams offense failed to put any points on the board in the opener against Minnesota, they wasted no time in marching down the field and punching it in with a little help from a familiar face.

    After the Browns won the toss and elected to receive, the Rams top defense picked up where it left off against the Vikings.

    In the wet and rainy conditions in Cleveland, the Browns had trouble handling the ball and the defense came up with a quick three and out to get the ball into the hands of quarterback A.J. Feeley and the offense.

    Against Minnesota, the offense struggled with pass protection, allowing six sacks and failed to find a rhythm.

    Feeley wasted no time finding his, hitting tight end Billy Bajema for a gain of 16 on the first play from scrimmage. Running back Steven Jackson, in his first work of the preseason, burst up the middle for 11 yards on the next play.

    With Jackson in the backfield and an offensive line with the five projected starters in place for the first time, the Rams confidence soared before they even stepped on the field.

    “That’s the kind of boost…that’s what he is,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s one of the best players on our football team and to have him out there, I think the offensive line feels better about it, I think the quarterback does, I mean everybody does. We certainly look forward to having him.”

    Suddenly, the Rams had some rhythm and Feeley continued to spread the ball around, finishing the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Fells on third down.

    The score gave the Rams a 7-0 lead on a drive that covered 65 yards on 10 plays in a little more than five minutes.

    It was the type of drive that clearly increased the confidence of the offense across the board. Feeley was five-of-six for 45 yards with the touchdown and Jackson racked up 20 yards on four carries.

    The news wasn’t all good as Feeley injured his right thumb and elbow midway through the series and had to leave the game.

    Feeley said after the game his X rays came back negative and he was confident he’d be able to play next week against the Patriots.

    “On the first drive, I liked the tempo,” Feeley said. “I wanted to finish the first quarter but with the injury I couldn’t. I think we’re getting better, which is what you want to do in the preseason. We hope to build on that and continue to improve. We’re showing improvement. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re headed in the right direction.”

    Meanwhile, the first defensive unit continued to have the success it did last week. On the Browns’ second possession, the defense didn’t even wait for three downs to get the ball back to the offense.

    This time, Cleveland quarterback Jake Delhomme again had trouble handling a snap and lost the ball. Defensive tackle Fred Robbins recovered at the Browns’ 24 to set up a 32-yard field goal from kicker Josh Brown.

    The defense followed with another three and out as Robbins came up with a sack on third down to again get it back for the offense.

    All told, in the first quarter, the Rams defense came up with two three and outs, a fumble recovery and a sack in holding Cleveland to 50 yards of offense. The Browns didn’t get their first first down until there were 42 seconds left in the opening quarter.

    For the game as a whole, the Rams allowed just 98 yards on 27 carries, an average of 3.6 per attempt and finished with four sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

    “It felt good, just coming out and trying to improve from last week,” Robbins said. “We did some good things last week, but we had a lot of little mistakes we had to clean up. That was our focus today, to come out and play hard, eliminate some of our mistakes and play our football.”

    As for rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, his night was a bit more interesting. Bradford acknowledged earlier in the week that one area he wanted to improve against the Browns was in the center exchange.

    Of course, that was tested further with the addition of the slippery outdoor conditions in Cleveland on Saturday night. But after one bobble early in his time, Bradford was able to improve and handle the ball clean the rest of the night.

    Bradford played about the same amount of snaps as he did last week and finished his night six-of-14 for 24 yards.

    “Obviously, I would have liked to have had some more completions out there tonight,” Bradford said. “I felt like I struggled a bit early but once I settled down, I made some smart decisions and for the most part I was in the right place with the ball.”

    While the Rams got off to a hot start on offense and defense, their special teams might have made the biggest difference of all. In addition to the two fumble recoveries the punt team came up with, kicker Josh Brown nailed four field goals to provide the bulk of the offense.

    Brown, who has been limited or missed practice for most of the past week and a half with a sore hip, opted to play this week after missing last week’s game.

    Brown was busy right away, kicking an extra point and two field goals in the first quarter alone, not to mention four kickoffs.

    But Brown made the most of his chances and booted a 28-yard field goal in the closing minutes to secure the win.

    “He was ready to go,” Spagnuolo said. “I thought maybe we would have to limit the area we kick field goals but he said ‘Coach, I am fine” at the beginning of the game.”

    The Rams have a short turnaround this week, getting back to action on Thursday night when they travel to New England to play the Patriots.

  • #2
    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

    Whooo hooo, we won. Well now that that is over with, I liked the way we came out and played good in the first quarter. It shows we can handle a mediocre team. I just don't see the browns as any good this year. So that being said, I wish our 87 million dollar man would show up and play. I got it, it rained. But it is time he threw down the field and hit some recievers for some big gains. So the critics will shut up. It was not all bad as Bobby the chainsaw Carpenter got a pick on a real good defensinve stand. I was happy to see that. We may have some D this year after all, if we can pass defend in the backfield.

    Well untill I can get back in the states,,,GO RAMS

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

      Originally posted by lordwhttgr View Post
      Whooo hooo, we won. Well now that that is over with, I liked the way we came out and played good in the first quarter. It shows we can handle a mediocre team. I just don't see the browns as any good this year. So that being said, I wish our 87 million dollar man would show up and play. I got it, it rained. But it is time he threw down the field and hit some recievers for some big gains. So the critics will shut up. It was not all bad as Bobby the chainsaw Carpenter got a pick on a real good defensinve stand. I was happy to see that. We may have some D this year after all, if we can pass defend in the backfield.

      Well untill I can get back in the states,,,GO RAMS
      We'll see what he does Thursday, if Murmer lets him.:|

      Stay safe, dude.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

        The one thing that I liked about this game was that we won in spite of the officials doing almost everything they can to make sure we wouldn't.

        That reminds me of the 99 season. In almost all of those games the officials did all they could to help our opponents win, and they only succeeded on three of them.

        Loss 1: roughing the kicker flag picked up to keep us from having first and goal after a rare Wilkins miss.
        Loss 2: Game winning TD was one of the most flagrant push off a Lions WR has ever gotten away with.
        Loss 3: Can't remember a specific penalty called or ignored, but the starters rested because we didn't have to win the game. Even then we almost won the game. Had we been playing for 16-0, the Beagles get blown out by the GSOT.


        gap

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

          Originally posted by gap View Post
          The one thing that I liked about this game was that we won in spite of the officials doing almost everything they can to make sure we wouldn't.
          If that were the case, I doubt they call that PI on Wright in the first quarter. The Browns were flagged for seven penalties while the Rams were called for two.
          Last edited by Nick; -08-23-2010, 04:51 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

            Originally posted by Nick View Post
            If that were the case, I doubt they call that PI on Wright in the first quarter. The Browns were flagged for seven penalties while the Rams were called for two.
            They may have been flagged for seven, but they got away with at least 10.

            The most GLARING was the blow to Feeley's head that wasn't called. Say what? Protect the QB? Preaching concussion prevention? Maybe this only applies to everyone but the RAMs.

            The next most glaring were two push-offs. One on 4th and 3 that was ignored and the other on the TD reception. There's 14 points that would have been 3 at best.

            And by the time they started calling those penalites, the RAMs showed a propencity to fail anyway, and the Browns were winning. I would bet money that the only reason they started calling those penalties was something Spags said to them. When ever I got a chance to see Spags on the sidelines, he was giving the officials an earful.


            gap

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

              Originally posted by gap View Post
              The most GLARING was the blow to Feeley's head that wasn't called. Say what? Protect the QB? Preaching concussion prevention? Maybe this only applies to everyone but the RAMs.
              That isn't Ram specific, it's QB specific. Tom Brady takes a hit like that and it is probably at least a 50 yard penalty with a 6 game suspension and ban from participating in the draft or signing FA. Feeley? Feel free to take out a pistol and shoot his kneecaps a few times too, who cares?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

                Originally posted by gap View Post
                They may have been flagged for seven, but they got away with at least 10.

                The most GLARING was the blow to Feeley's head that wasn't called. Say what? Protect the QB? Preaching concussion prevention? Maybe this only applies to everyone but the RAMs.

                The next most glaring were two push-offs. One on 4th and 3 that was ignored and the other on the TD reception. There's 14 points that would have been 3 at best.

                And by the time they started calling those penalites, the RAMs showed a propencity to fail anyway, and the Browns were winning. I would bet money that the only reason they started calling those penalties was something Spags said to them. When ever I got a chance to see Spags on the sidelines, he was giving the officials an earful.


                gap
                A few counterpoints...

                I'm sure plenty of other fan bases could point to instances where their quarterback was "roughed" and it wasn't called. Heck, go back to the Cardinals/Packers playoff game where a facemask to Aaron Rodgers was not called on the final play of the game. The NFL admitted to missing a roughing the passer call against Brett Favre in the Saints/Vikings championship game, as well as one against Mark Sanchez in the Jets/Colts championship game. This stuff happens, and not just to the Rams.

                As for the game from this weekend, were there calls missed? Absolutely. But did the officials do "almost everything they could to make sure the Rams didn't win?" Of course not. Again, Cleveland was called for more than three times the number of penalties the Rams were. They were called early in the game for a very questionable PI call that extended a Rams' drive in the red zone. In the fourth quarter, the Browns were penalized for illegal contact which gave the Rams a new first and goal series. When the Rams were down by one point with less than eleven minutes to go, Cleveland was flagged for two penalties on the Rams' go-ahead drive, one being a PI call that once again gave the Rams a first down inside the red zone. How are they trying their best to help the Browns win when they're throwing flags that extend Rams drives in key situations?

                I agree the hit to the head on Feeley and the second push off by Cribbs should have been called. I didn't have a problem with the fourth down push off. I thought it was subtle enough and within the five yard cushion that it was a good no-call. But regardless, if the officials were actually trying their best to prevent a Rams win, they certainly would have kept the flags in their pockets for some of the above mentioned infractions. I just can't agree with this notion at all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

                  Originally posted by VegasRam View Post
                  We'll see what he does Thursday, if Murmer lets him.:|
                  Murmer, that's too funny and so far this preseason, 100% apropos. Rep to you Vegas!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

                    One thing I took away from this game was the Rams lack of penalties. Can't remember off the top of my head but I think there were only two called on the Rams. On the road. In terrible weather. That's a major positive.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

                      Originally posted by txramsfan View Post
                      One thing I took away from this game was the Rams lack of penalties. Can't remember off the top of my head but I think there were only two called on the Rams. On the road. In terrible weather. That's a major positive.
                      Good point Tx, let's hope that's a trend that continues. Zero turnovers and a +5 margin were major positives as well.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

                        That, and special teams are fun to watch, (as opposed to having to hold your breath). I hope we don't lose this ST Coach.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

                          Originally posted by gap View Post
                          The one thing that I liked about this game was that we won in spite of the officials doing almost everything they can to make sure we wouldn't.
                          Whoa, 1999 comparison??? Yikes slow down buddy. I watched this game closely and if it probably wasn't for the rain Bradford put it into the opponents breadbasket twice. Once could have gone 80 yards for the TD. This is no where near GSOT, not even a hint. I'm not trying to be a pessimist but I just don't see it.
                          LA RAMMER

                          It's Jim not Chris
                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Rams Get Win in Cleveland

                            Originally posted by txramsfan View Post
                            One thing I took away from this game was the Rams lack of penalties. Can't remember off the top of my head but I think there were only two called on the Rams. On the road. In terrible weather. That's a major positive.
                            only two penalties... could that be because budded Barron isn't on the team anymore? ;)
                            LA RAMMER

                            It's Jim not Chris
                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

                            Comment

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                            • Nick
                              Rams get preseason win over Browns
                              by Nick
                              Rams get preseason win over Browns
                              BY JIM THOMAS • Posted: Sunday, August 22, 2010 12:10 am

                              CLEVELAND • Quarterback A.J. Feeley and the first-team offense made it look easy - very easy - on the opening drive Saturday night in Cleveland.

                              But moving the football was a big-time struggle the rest of the night for St. Louis, particularly for No. 1 overall draft pick Sam Bradford. Aided by a couple of Cleveland turnovers, the Rams jumped to a 13-0 first-quarter lead but then needed a couple of late field goals by Josh Brown to rally for a 19-17 exhibition victory.

                              Bolstered by the preseason debut of Steven Jackson in the backfield, Feeley was sharp before leaving with thumb and elbow injuries on his throwing arm after the first series. Feeley completed five of six passes for 45 yards, including a 9-yard TD pass to tight end Daniel Fells.

                              "On the first drive, I liked the tempo," Feeley said. "I wanted to finish the first quarter, but with the injury, I couldn't. I think we're getting better, which is what you want to do in the preseason. We hope to build on that and continue to improve."

                              Feeley was injured on the fifth play of the drive, on a play in which he was hit by inside linebacker Chris Gocong. Nonetheless, Feeley completed a 7-yard pass to Danny Amendola on the play, converting a third-and-2 situation in the process. Feeley finished the drive before giving way to Bradford.

                              X-rays of the elbow and the arm were negative, but both areas were wrapped after the game when Feeley spoke to reporters.

                              "A guy came through free in the middle," Feeley said. "I just took a helmet in the elbow as I was extending to throw the football."

                              Even though the Rams have a quick turnaround - they play their third preseason game Thursday at New England - Feeley sounded optimistic about his chances of playing.

                              "There's a little soreness, but I'm good," Feeley said. "Get a little treatment and should be ready to go by next week. Definitely."

                              Once Feeley left the game, the Rams got nothing generated offensively for the rest of the half, and much of the second. In six series before halftime with Bradford at quarterback, the Rams managed only one first down. And that came as a result of a pass interference penalty against Browns cornerback Eric Wright on third and 8. All told, the Rams gained 28 yards on 20 plays the rest of the half with Bradford at QB.

                              Bradford completed six of 12 passes in the opening half for 24 yards. Although hurried occasionally, at least he wasn't sacked and was hit only once as the pass protection showed major improvement from a week ago.

                              Bradford's first pass, intended for Donnie Avery, was almost intercepted by Wright. Playing in a steady rain at the outset, Bradford threw a couple of wobblers. One came on...
                              -08-22-2010, 08:04 AM
                            • Nick
                              Rams offensive line shows improvement
                              by Nick
                              Rams offensive line shows improvement
                              By Bryan Burwell | Posted: Sunday, August 22, 2010 12:25 am

                              CLEVELAND • There were a little more than 30 minutes to go before the start of Saturday evening's football game, and over in the far corner of the eastern end zone of Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Rams' offensive linemen were already engaged in brutal hand-to-hand combat.

                              It wasn't quite top speed, but make no mistake, this was serious business. One by one, every one of the starting O-linemen were getting two and three consecutive one-on-one confrontations against their starting defensive line teammates. It was nothing but pure mano-a-mano, smash-mouth duels. Lots of violent bull rushing and head banging, just the sort of pregame ritual needed to get the mind and the body into a frothing, high-energy rush.

                              After a week of hearing just how badly out of sorts they looked in last weekend's preseason disaster against the Minnesota Vikings, in which the starting unit allowed starting quarterback A.J. Feeley and high-priced, first-round draft pick Sam Bradford to be rag-dolled all over the Edward Jones Dome, the starting offensive linemen understood the urgency of the moment in Saturday night's second preseason contest with the Cleveland Browns.

                              A week ago, they looked like total strangers as they experienced one pass protection breakdown after another, then spent the last six days hearing about it.

                              Saturday night — even in the steadily pouring rain — there was a marked difference in both attitude and production out of the O-line. For the better part of the first half, they did a credible job of keeping unreasonable pressure off Feeley (one series) and Bradford (six series). And while the offense pretty much stalled when the rookie came in (two field goals on a short field), it had as much to do with the absence of Steven Jackson in the backfield as any glaring rookie miscues.

                              So consider this the first sign of progress for the woebegone Rams as they begin their daunting climb out of the NFL basement.

                              You don't spend much time looking at the final score in a preseason game, particularly since the starting offense and defense are long gone after the first half. But the Rams' first units on offense and defense pretty much won their first-half battles against the Browns' first units, scoring a touchdown on Feeley's only drive, and getting two field goals on Bradford's first two possessions, while the defense pitched a shutout for an early 13-0 lead.

                              Better yet, that one opening drive with Jackson in the game showed how critical he is to whatever success this offense will have. With the hard-running Pro Bowl star in the backfield, the Browns defense was forced to constantly consider his presence. On first down, when they loaded up the box to contain Jackson, Feeley calmly threw the ball to tight end Billy Bajema for a 16-yard gain. On...
                              -08-22-2010, 08:05 AM
                            • Nick
                              Rams Gain Much from Win
                              by Nick
                              Rams Gain Much from Win
                              Friday, August 27, 2010
                              By Nick Wagoner
                              Senior Writer

                              As New England kick returner Brandon Tate darted through the Rams coverage unit, taking the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, the immediate thought on the Rams sideline could easily have been something to the effect of “Here we go again.”

                              But in the process of learning how to win in the NFL, there must come a point whether it’s a minicamp practice in June, a regular season game in November or a preseason contest in August that those thoughts no longer become an option.

                              It remains to be seen if the Rams have reached that point yet but judging by their reaction to Tate’s opening lightning bolt, they are well on their way.

                              “I think we answered that kickoff return right away,” running back Steven Jackson said. “I think that was really big for the team and we didn’t get down or startled by it and put our heads down like we’ve seen in the past. I think we showed we have some resiliency in this locker room.”

                              So, what exactly, was the Rams’ reaction to that opening salvo fired by the Patriots? Nothing more than a blank stare.

                              With rookie quarterback Sam Bradford making his first NFL start in the third preseason game, generally the contest used as the best measuring stick for NFL teams in the exhibition slate, it would have made plenty of sense had the Rams come out on the first possession and took some time to catch their breath.

                              Before coming out of the locker room for the final time before Thursday’s game, Bradford said he took a deep breath and reminded himself not to let the emotions of the moment get in his way.

                              Surely, though, Tate’s return would be enough to rattle the rookie, right? Maybe not.

                              “To be honest, obviously you never like to see a kickoff return against you, but at the same time that meant I didn’t have to sit around and wait on the bench,” Bradford said. “And that means I was able to get on the field even sooner, which I like.”

                              Having Jackson in the backfield provided a sense of calm for the entire offense and Bradford made it clear he wasn’t intimidated by the moment or by the three Super Bowl champion banners at Gillette Stadium where the Patriots didn’t lose a game in 2009.

                              Bradford immediately went to work and completed all four of his pass attempts for 48 yards on the opening drive. He converted a key third-and-3 pass to Danny Amendola for 4 yards deep in New England territory to keep the chains moving.

                              And two plays later, he found tight end Michael Hoomanawanui for his first NFL touchdown pass.

                              “The offense was determined to answer what had happened and kind of rally, came back, scored and evened it up,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

                              It was no coincidence that the Rams used the momentum from that drive to play an inspired...
                              -08-27-2010, 08:49 PM
                            • Nick
                              Total Team Effort Yields Rams' Second Straight Win
                              by Nick
                              Total Team Effort Yields Rams' Second Straight Win
                              By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
                              Posted 23 minutes ago

                              It’s called a winning streak and don’t look now but the St. Louis Rams are officially in the midst of one.

                              With an emphatic 20-3 win on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome, the Rams claimed a victory for the second week in a row. And they did it in total team fashion much like they did last week against Washington.

                              “I think it’s a huge win for us, especially coming off last week, a win versus Washington,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “I think everyone kind of wanted to see if we could validate that and see if we could put two together or if that was just a fluke that we happened to catch them on an off-night. So to come out here and play the way we did and get a win against a divisional opponent and move to 2-2, I think it’s huge.”

                              Just how huge it is in the grand scheme of a long NFL season remains to be seen but sitting at the quarter pole of this year, the Rams are in territory unfamiliar to them in quite some time.

                              With the win, the Rams improved to 2-2 on the season. Combining that with a loss that drops Seattle to the same mark and Arizona’s loss to San Diego, the Rams now sit in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC West Division.

                              In the process, the Rams broke a 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks and sent a message to the rest of the division that they have every intent to be a contender well into the final weeks.

                              “To have two wins in a row feels really good,” running back Steven Jackson said. “I think you can see the confidence around here is starting to grow. We are starting to believe in what is going on. The philosophy that coach has been talking about over the last two years, guys are really buying in. I am glad to see a lot of guys start to grow in their own individual careers.”

                              Nobody has been around to see more of that growth than Jackson, which made his presence and role in Sunday’s game even more fitting.

                              Plagued all week by a strained groin that many figured would keep him out of action, Jackson battled all week and persevered enough to step on the field with his teammates to take on the Seahawks.

                              It was an emotional lift that carried plenty of weight for a team that looks to Jackson to provide leadership in tangible and intangible forms.

                              “I think he understood how important this game was for this football team,” Bradford said. “I never doubted that he would be out there today. I think that’s a huge credit to him and the type of player and the type of competitor he is, because I know he was battling out there. He wasn’t a hundred percent, but to come out and play the way he did, it really helped this football team.”

                              Jackson finished with 124 yards of total offense and moved past Marshall Faulk for second place on the team’s all...
                              -10-03-2010, 06:53 PM
                            • Nick
                              Week Ten: Post-Game Observations
                              by Nick
                              A win is a win, eh? Well, it depends. Some Rams fans are willing to overlook a rather shoddy and dull performance due to the victory that’s marked in the results column. Others aren’t letting a victory over a poor team distract them from the fact that the Rams have underachieved from pre-season NFC West contender status. Regardless of your stance, the fact of the matter is that the Rams did enough on Sunday to get their second victory of the season, and winning games is exactly what this regim...
                              -11-14-2011, 08:00 PM
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