St. Louis Rams – Blog

Rams Get it Done When It Counts

Posted by nickwagoner on November 29, 2010 – 6:14 AM


– Whew. Another tightly contested road game for the Rams on Sunday against the Broncos. And this time, yes this time, the Rams finally got it done in the end with a 36-33 win.

– Plenty on the game to come in a moment but let’s hit injuries first, shall we?

– The only ailment of concern for the Rams is rookie TE Michael Hoomanawanui. He suffered another ankle injury and the concern is that it’s his second high ankle sprain of the season. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said the Rams initially feared that it was a broken fibula but they ruled that out.

– Here’s hoping the injury isn’t too bad. When healthy Hoomanawanui is a burgeoning star at the tight end position. His 36-yard touchdown catch from QB Sam Bradford in the first quarter was a thing of beauty. He just makes plays.

– RB Steven Jackson aggravated his broken hand but he said after the game it is actually no worse for the wear.

– MLB James Laurinaitis got poked in the eye and missed a few snaps but he of course returned.

– That’s all on the injury report.

– As for the game, it’s hard to decide where to start but I suppose let’s start with Bradford himself. What a performance from the rookie signal caller.

– Imagine what his day was like: the Broncos boast one of the best homefield advantages in football, the Rams are playing in the thin air, the headset in his helmet was on the fritz and he had to get signals manually periodically throughout the game and the Broncos are practically begging Bradford to beat them through the air.

– So what does Bradford do? He goes out and absolutely lights it up. He again didn’t throw an interception and he proved capable of pushing the pace down the field. He finished 22-of-37 for 308 yards with three touchdowns for a rating of 113.3. The kid is already a top level NFL quarterback and he’s just scratching the surface. Not that you Rams fans need telling but buckle up for a fun ride. The Sam Bradford era has limitless potential.

– Now, of course, Bradford couldn’t do his thing without the help of a young receiver group eager to prove itself. The Broncos might as well have built a brick wall at the line of scrimmage in an effort to stop Jackson. They dared Bradford and the wideouts to beat them through the air by playing man defense on the outside almost exclusively. So the receiving corps just continued to create separation and make plays.

– The offense sure is different with rookie WR Danario Alexander in the mix, isn’t it? What a threat. Great to see him back on the field and making plays.

– Tip of the hat to Laurent Robinson who seems rejuvenated since the bye week. He caught four balls for 58 yards.

– Nine receivers caught passes Sunday.

– The tight end group of the Rams might be one of the most underrated in the league. When Hoomanawanui went out with his injury, Billy Bajema stepped to the forefront.

– A nicer guy you won’t find than Bajema making his day of work even more enjoyable. After a disappointing drop on a wide open crossing pattern, the Rams went right back to Bajema who caught his first career touchdown pass and added his second one less than three minutes later.

– Great play calling by offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. He stuck with Jackson and that allowed the Rams to take advantage.

– And of course I’d be remiss not to mention an absolutely terrific pass ptoection performance from the Rams offensive line. Bradford was “sacked” twice though they were both on plays where he ran for 0 yard gains.

– Illegal batting is new to me. But apparently if you bat the ball forward you will be flagged. When Chris Chamberlain got the laundry for knocking that onsides kick attempt out of bounds, that was the reason.

– Great job by Chamberlain in coming right back and catching the next attempt clean on a kick that Spagnuolo said felt like it hung in the air for “17 minutes.”

– It was an up and down day for the defense which started cold but came back and played well in the second and third quarters. That group got timely turnovers and timely pass rush to get the job done at the end.

– DE Chris Long will get a lot of credit for the final stop and rightfully so since he had a sack on first down and helped seal it on fourth down by hitting Kyle Orton as he released his last gasp effort.

– But the play that stuck out to me most was from Laurinaitis. On second and 16, Orton fired deep down the middle for TE Daniel Graham’s left shoulder. Just when it appeared Graham had the catch, Laurinaitis got his hand in the way and jarred the ball loose for an incompletion. Two plays later, the Rams had a victory.

– He’s not getting much credit but DL C.J. Ah You is really giving the Rams a boost in the pass rush as part of the rotation on the line.

– All of that said, the Rams must be better at finishing a game that is well in hand as this one was. It should never have been that close and Spagnuolo was quick to acknowledge that but still it can’t keep happening.

– At the end of the day, though, the Rams had more points than the Broncos. That’s all that matters. At 5-6, the Rams moved into a first place tie with Seattle in the NFC West Division. And now, more than ever, all things remain possible for the Rams.

Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Rams Get it Done When It Counts”

  1. By Rachel Stivers-Stewart on Dec 4, 2010 | Reply


    [Accuracy Note: My prior response to an entry in this From The Sidelines Blog was posted on 11-25-10 (Thanksgiving) yet the computer dated it 11-26-10. Today is Friday 12-03-10.]

    Like a favorite celebration song that lifts a person’s emotions to a whole new dimension, this cathartic and momentous 11-28-10 Rams road win over the Broncos was music to our Rams Nation ears! Yes, this was a heart and soul WIN that definitely CELEBRATED cohesive Rams teamwork in elevated legitimate contention. Numerous SENSATIONAL performance moments in all three phases were played up and played out by the “new and improved” Rams’ winning edge!

    CONGRATULATIONS to the St. Louis Rams for this envisioned very sweet victory during NFL week twelve that checked off two more noteworthy achievements of “Win in November” and “Win on the Road” as disclosed by Coach Spagnuolo and further reported on by you, Nick in your most recent “Rams Remaining Focused” article. Thanks for sharing those specifics.

    The mentioned checklist and inventing more boxes for the Team is definitely a winning edge move, collectively and individually. With an abiding interest as a fan, I further look forward to hearing about more “to do” boxes being checked off as Rams team members keep oneself and each other ACCOUNTABLE in a continued apparent supportive way and keep upcoming opponents “IN CHECK” that result in more victories to celebrate together!

    Nick, in prior Blog entries you have told us fans to enjoy a Rams win so I definitely did enjoy and still am enjoying this St. Louis Rams’ Denver victory as an inspired memory and helpful reference point. In further celebrating game accomplishments, I wish time and space would allow for every contributing Rams team member, specifically players and coaches, to receive acknowledgment. Since that is not feasible in this written format, I offer the following comments on selected Rams-Broncos game summary highlights, with a focus on validating and reinforcing peak performance moments.

    In starting with that extremely tense last series of the game with one minute of crucial game time remaining, our Rams DEFENSE responded staunchly to their MOMENT OF TRUTH against the Broncos. With an exciting, closing peak performance spearheaded by LDE Chris Long with a clean sack and MLB James Laurinaitis with a broken up pass attempt, our stalwart defense protected the Rams final three-point lead for the win!

    Earlier in the third quarter, an innovative and collaborative Rams defensive peak performance got the ball back for our Rams offense, as visible in this Website’s “Atogwe Strips Moreno” posted video clip, when FS Oshiomogho Atogwe forced a fumble and LOLB Na’il Diggs recovered the fumble by safely scooping up the bouncing football into his steady hands! (Side note: I learned from this video that Atogwe leads the NFL with forced fumbles and/or interceptions.) As we know, this Atogwe-Diggs takeaway resulted in the Rams offense scoring a timely touchdown run that gave the Rams an even greater lead over the Broncos at that particular point in the game.

    During the posted “Rams Force Fumble Before Half” video clip, it was exciting to see some Rams players’ arms outstretched signaling Rams’ ball and exciting to hear an unidentified Rams player twice enthusiastically verbalize, “WE GOT THE BALL!” “WE GOT THE BALL!” I count that fumble recovery as a kickoff coverage peak performance moment for our Rams distinctive SPECIAL TEAMS as that fumble recovery occurred during a Broncos player’s kickoff return and the Rams scored a field goal off that takeaway. (Nick, I re-checked the “Rams vs. Broncos: Running Blog” and you reported Jerome Murphy to have forced and recovered that fumble.) Three successful field goals in this game certainly added to the Rams winning score by adept K Josh Brown along with center/ snapper LS Chris Massey and holder P Donnie Jones. (Hopefully, I correctly identified the Rams snapper and holder!)

    Nick, I want to comment on your following two OFFENSE statements in the above “Rams Get It Done When It Counts” 11-29-10 Blog entry. “Great play calling by offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. He stuck with Jackson and that allowed the Rams to take advantage.” Right on, Nick! Yes, that was quite an impressive Rams offensive display of “through the air” FIREPOWER with solidified BLOCKING PROTECTION from various offensive positions on the ground as well as firepower (scoring action) benefit also coming from the integrated contributing running threat/attack. While some defenses, like the Broncos, may hinder RB Steven Jackson’s running game, we know such opposing defenses cannot stop RB Jackson’s high-powered presence and powerful team contribution that includes intangibles, physicality and tailor-made blocking.

    So, yes, Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur deserves extra recognition for the ASTUTE offensive play calling. It was awesome to see this game’s brilliant pass attack where QB Bradford connected with, as reported, nine different receivers on multiple completions and where the STELLAR Rams offense scored the most points in a game to date this 2010 season for the Team win. Yes, it was exciting to watch the offensive unit work in concert in a more fluent way and watch QB Sam Bradford, TE Michael Hoomanawanui, TE Billy Bajema, and HB Kenneth Darby score the team’s four touchdowns, three pass and one run.

    Yes, Nick, it was also great to see WR Danario Alexander back healthy with his big receiving yardage day that helped out the Rams. As we know, another win-win situation was QB Bradford’s best statistical game of his rookie year to date there at Denver, which was a peak performance game for him, also for some fellow teammates and was a statement WIN as the WHOLE Rams team did STEP UP TOGETHER and will continue to step up production in all three phases.

    In wrapping up my comments on the Rams offense, I will utilize a hunting rifle analogy since certain players are referred to as “weapons” in football talk. As is well known, the Rams have a bolt-action, high-speed quarterback in Sam Bradford who is strong, quick, smart, reliable, accurate and durable. This week twelve game as a successful proving ground demonstrated that QB Bradford has an emerging group of talented, on target receiving “weapons” who performed with increased chemistry and “game-changer” capability.

    As was posted on the Home Page earlier in the week, I was happy to read that QB Bradford was listed as a nominee for the second time for NFL/PEPSI ROOKIE OF THE WEEK ’10 as he was the NFL Week 4 winner. Yes, I voted in this Week 12’s “Pepsi Rookie of the Week” honor and Bradford received my vote!

    I pledge to write more concisely next week! I have written a lot again as there are so many positives to write about the St. Louis Rams who present themselves as a high-character professional football team committed to, and who are, becoming better and who belong in first place in the NFC West Division. It is a good personnel fit!

    Wishing “TEAM RAMS” a continued OUTFLOW of PRECISION and SKILL that STEPS UP PRODUCTION in ALL THREE PHASES with a CONGRUOUS PERFORMANCE that ADAPTS to various challenges, circumstances and requirements that surface during this week thirteen road game at Glendale, Arizona.

    May the St. Louis Rams WIN THROUGH this VITAL divisional rematch with the Arizona Cardinals, SURVIVING difficulties, COMPETING at desired set standards and CLOSING RANKS with the RAMS once again UNITING in a CONCERTED STAND to CLINCH the WIN.

    Respectfully & Prayerfully, Rachel Stivers-Stewart, RAMS FAN IN NEBRASKA

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