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  • Burwell: Rams Get Reacquainted With Winning

    Burwell: Rams get reacquainted with winning

    BY BRYAN BURWELL
    Monday, September 27, 2010

    At long last this was a real feel-good story, not another maddening spin in the three-year cycle of loser's laments. There were no frustrating explanations, no grim postmortems, no clinical autopsies of another defeat. Inside the Rams' locker room in the depths of the Edward Jones Dome early Sunday evening, sweat-soaked grown men sat in front of their locker stalls, weary, bloodied and bruised - some with their legs propped up on crutches, others with various body parts swaddled in miles of tape and pounds of ice packs - every last one of them laughing and joking like little kids at recess.

    There were Steven Jackson and Mike Karney, both of them covered in red welts, but neither of them feeling any noticeable pain.

    "You could shoot me right now and I wouldn't care," Jackson cackled. "I honestly don't think I would feel a thing."

    This was coming from a man who had abruptly left the game in the first half after the Washington defense treated him like a brittle wishbone on Thanksgiving, yanking Jackson's arms and legs in about six different directions and forcing the big running back to the sidelines with a damaged groin muscle for the second half.

    But at this delirious moment, it didn't matter because Jackson and the rest of his Rams teammates were swept up in a strange case of total recall.

    Get this, people: The Rams finally remembered how to win.

    At the end of a rather impressive 30-16 dismantling of the Redskins on Sunday, your previously woebegone Rams - losers at home for two miserable, frustrating years - were getting reacquainted with that winning sensation and loving every minute of it.

    So how do you behave when you finally get off a two-year schneid?

    A little goofy. A little joyful. A little introspective. But mostly just happy as all get-out. After two ghastly years of Groundhog Day-like repetition, the Rams finally tossed aside a nightmarish 14-game home losing streak and did what good teams do when it's time to win a football game.

    "We just finished," said cornerback Ron Bartell. "We didn't shoot ourselves in the foot. We didn't make stupid plays. The first two games we had interceptions that slipped through our hands. Today, we make the interceptions and win the game."

    This time, instead of having an itemized list of self-destructive plays to rehash, the Rams could stand in front of a room full of reporters and recount the smart plays, the go-for-the-throat instances where the veteran Washington team pushed up on the previously skittish kids from St. Louis and the kids finally knew how to push back.

    When Jackson went down late in the second quarter with the Rams clinging to a 14-13 lead, you could feel the life getting sucked out of the tin-roofed Dome. The half ended with a bizarre series of plays that should have produced seven points (first and goal on the 1-yard line with 1:05 remaining) but instead ended with a blocked field goal.

    And then the Redskins came out at the start of the third quarter and marched right down the field to take a 16-14 lead, and 52,370 anxious souls began to fret about how the Rams had blown a 14-0 lead and were about to let another game slip away.

    But on the very next possession, the Rams went on a deliberate, clock-gobbling, 12-play, 74-yard march downfield, with rookie quarterback Sam Bradford efficiently finding little slashes of space in the Washington secondary, and the previously unspectacular backup tailback Kenneth Darby finishing it all off by bursting through the line of scrimmage with some nifty running, a nasty stiff arm and a 12-yard touchdown that put the Rams right back into control of the game with a 21-16 lead.

    Then came four consecutive Washington offensive possessions that accounted for a total of 27 yards, zero points and no deeper travels beyond its own 37-yard line, and a big interception by second-year cornerback Bradley Fletcher with less than four minutes to go that all but choked off any hope that the Redskins could mount a rally.

    "This time the interception didn't slip through our hands," Bartell laughed. "Fletch made the big play. ... Whew. I know it's only the third game of the season, but we needed this one bad."

    Instead of 0-3 with that old sinking feeling starting to pile up on them again, the Rams are 1-2 and at home next week facing the surprising NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks (2-1) in a game that could actually put St. Louis right back into legitimate division contention. Now after losing two games against teams the Rams could have beaten, they steal a game in dominant fashion against a Washington team no one figured they'd come close to beating.

    Now you can look at this Rams team for the next few days and imagine the possibilities of what can happen if this young team keeps going in the right direction, if it has finally made the needed breakthrough that marks that defining point in a turnaround.

    "And what kind of story line would that have been if we had won those first two games like we should have?" center Jason Brown said. "The St. Louis Rams three and ohh? Just think about that. Did it happen? No. Could it have happened? Yes."

    But because this still is a young team trying to find its way out of the depths of too much losing, there is always that possibility that Sunday was a glitch, not a defining moment. Are the young Rams ready to prove that they really are getting better?

    The interesting thing is that on the field they did not celebrate like it was a Super Bowl victory. They celebrated like it was the third game of the season, a step on a journey, not a destination.

    "And that's the feeling that has to be," said Jason Brown. "This has to be the first of many. You can't just go out there and shoot out a golden egg this week, then next week shoot out a dud and then everyone says ‘What is going on?'"

    That's the difference between learning how to win and knowing how.

  • #2
    Re: Burwell: Rams Get Reacquainted With Winning

    It's great that our boys won. Enjoy it Sunday night and get back to business on Monday morning. The win has to be put on the back burner and now prepare to beat the snot out of the Seahawks!!!!

    GO RAMS!!!!!
    sigpic :ram::helmet:

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      [PD]: Ultimately, Rams must look in mirror
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      "I don't get it," said the giant offensive lineman, standing in front of a group of linebackers.

      "It makes no sense," he said, now huddled with a few fellow offensive linemen.

      "How does this rule work?" he said as he towered over a new audience of scribbling sportswriters.

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      SEATTLE • Of all the noise that they expected to hear on Sunday night at Qwest Field, this was the one the young Rams never imagined.

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      It could have been a turnaround for the ages, but instead they will have to settle for a more appropriate improvement for a franchise that had fallen down so far. Nothing shameful in a 7-9 finish. Nothing shameful about a team that now gives you hope and shows all sorts of promise for the future.

      But these young Rams walked out the stadium Sunday night knowing that it could have been so much better. They left knowing that the job was incomplete.

      There's no way they should have lost like this, scoring only six points against one of the worst defenses in football. There's no way it should have ended like this, with somebody named Charlie Whitehurst, a journeyman quarterback with no particular NFL pedigree, using his arm and legs to lead the staggering, stumbling, dead-men-walking Seahawks to this ugly victory.

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    • Nick
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      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.

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      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.

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      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.”

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    • Nick
      Burwell: Rams didn't look half bad this time
      by Nick
      Burwell: Rams didn't look half bad this time
      BY BRYAN BURWELL | Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010 2:00 am

      At the end of the game, the paying customers were still on their feet, still lingering at their seats as the Rams raced off the field. And for a change, this was no bile-spitting, expletive-blurting, crazed, depressed or hostile mob of unsatisfied customers who bothered to hang around until the bitter end only to empty their spleens with a barrage of vulgarity that would make a sailor blush.

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      Come on, admit it. The Rams didn't look half bad, did they?

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      -09-13-2010, 06:33 AM
    • MauiRam
      Rams show no signs of hope in this mess ..
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      BY BRYAN BURWELL

      They are playing winning football in old football ghost towns like Detroit and Buffalo and Oakland again. In San Francisco and Seattle and Arizona, too, their teams seem to be showing at least some faint glimmers of a football renaissance. The out-of-town scoreboards offer weekly evidence that even in such traditionally dismal outposts like Cleveland, Carolina, Tennessee and Cincinnati there are revivals in progress.

      But here in St. Louis — where football dreams go to die — this is what we get.

      No renaissance. No revival. Nothing but a miserable recurrence of the same football nightmare that has haunted this NFL franchise for the last decade.

      On Sunday afternoon the half-empty Edward Jones Dome echoed with the disgruntled voices of a frustrated fan base whose only weapons are boos and sarcasm. While they spent most of the day booing the mistake-riddled performance in this 17-10 loss to the visiting Washington Redskins, the defining moment of the game and this 0-4 season was the rousing sarcastic ovation for the proper execution of ... a fair catch.

      The Rams are heading into the bye week a dispirited and dysfunctional lot. They are a bad team that seems to regress with each week that goes by. This was supposed to be a turnaround year for the franchise, a team that was ready to take the next step to contention for the NFC West title and a playoff berth. This was supposed to be the season where the Rams returned to prominence in this city's sports conversation. Instead, they are in shambles. They beat themselves with penalties and missed assignments.

      And if things don't change dramatically, the only danger the Rams will present this season is to the long-term health of their franchise quarterback and the job security of their head coach and general manager.

      "It's very disappointing, very disappointing," said running back Steven Jackson, who measured his words carefully when someone asked him if he understood why the fans were booing, and basically said he was right there with them. "I definitely understand our fans' frustrations. There were a lot of high expectations around here. I don't think the season is written off quite yet, but ..."

      Jackson is a veteran of this mess now. His hide has gotten thick enduring all the losing. But just like the rest of us, he thought this year would be different. Which is why he took a slow, dramatic pause, then bit down on his lip before finishing his thought.

      "Hell, I'm disappointed too," he said before turning his back to the TV cameras and microphones.

      The Rams have to be better than this. There's no way they should be 0-4. There's no way they should be committing the same dumb mental mistakes week in and week out.

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      -10-03-2011, 10:42 AM
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