– Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo just addressed the media to discuss the addition of Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator. But before he did, he announced that incumbent QB coach/assistant head coach Richard Curl is going to retire.
– Spagnuolo said that retirement would happen “in the near future” and that the search for a new QB coach would begin soon.
– Spagnuolo and Curl go way back and Spagnuolo considers Curl one of his closest friends in the business. He said Wednesday that he was proud of the work Curl did with rookie QB Sam Bradford this season and thanked him for two years of hard work in St. Louis.
– As for a replacement, there are a couple of logical possibilities, both of which Spagnuolo was asked about.
1. McDaniels could handle the dual roles of QB coach/offensive coordinator. He did that with New England earlier in his career.
2. McDaniels’ brother Ben, who handled that role in Denver last season.
– Spagnuolo said he expected McDaniels could handle the dual role because he’s done it before but that there had been no discussions yet about bringing his brother along. McDaniels and Spagnuolo will discuss that in the coming days.
Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »
– The NFL just released the list of 56 underclassmen who have declared for the NFL Draft. Below is the list of players who will be draftable in April’s NFL Draft. Of course, this list does not include the many graduating senior also eligible. An underclassman can declare for the draft if he has been out of high school for three years, be it a junior or a redshirt sophomore.
Adams, Darvin, WR, Auburn
Austin, Marvin, DT, North Carolina
Ayers, Akeem, LB, UCLA
Baldwin, Jon, WR, Pittsburgh
Bowers, Da’Quan, DE, Clemson
Brown, DeAndre, WR, Southern Mississippi
Burton, Brandon, DB, Utah
Casey, Jurrell, DT, Southern California
Clay, John, RB, Wisconsin
Claytor, Nick, T, Georgia Tech
Cobb, Randall, WR, Kentucky
Dareus, Marcell, DE, Alabama
Doss, Tandon, WR, Indiana
Evans, Darren, RB, Virginia Tech
Fairley, Nick, DT, Auburn
Gabbert, Blaine, QB, Missouri
Green, A.J., WR, Georgia
Gurley, Tori, WR, South Carolina
Guy, Lawrence, DT, Arizona State
Hamler, Jamel, WR, Fresno State
Harper, Jamie, RB, Clemson
Harris, Brandon, DB, Miami
Hill, Will, DB, Florida
Houston, Justin, LB, Georgia
Hynoski, Henry, RB, Pittsburgh
Ingram, Mark, RB, Alabama
Jones, Julio, WR, Álabama
Keiser, Thomas, LB, Stanford
Leshoure, Mikel, RB, Illinois
Lewis, Dion, RB, Pittsburgh
Lewis, Javes, DB, Oregon
Little, Greg, WR, North Carolina
Liuget, Corey, DT, Illinois
Mallett, Ryan, QB, Arkansas
Moore, Rahim, DB, UCLA
Newton, Cam, QB, Auburn
Parr, Zane, DE, Virginia
Peterson, Patrick, DB Louisiana State
Quinn, Robert, DE, North Carolina
Ridley, Stevan, RB, Louisiana State
Rodgers, Jacquizz, RB, Oregon State
Rudolph, Kyle, TE, Notre Dame
Sands, Robert, DB, West Virginia
Sash, Tyler, DB, Iowa
Siliga, Sealver, DT, Utah
Smith, Aldon, DE, Missouri
Smith, Torrey, WR, Maryland
Smith, Tyron, T, Southern California
Tarrant, Jerrard, DB, Georgia Tech
Todman, Jordan, RB, Connecticut
Vereen, Shane, RB, California
Watt, J.J., DE, Wisconsin
Wilkerson, Muhammad, DT, Temple
Williams, Aaron, DB, Texas
Williams, Ryan, RB, Virginia Tech
Wilson, Martez, LB, Illinois
Posted in From the Sidelines | No Comments »
– After intense negotiations that featured a rollercoaster ride of will he or won’t he all day Tuesday, the Rams and Josh McDaniels finally committed to each other just before 5:30 Tuesday evening.
– As the Rams named McDaniels their new offensive coordinator, they sent a statement to the rest of the league that they are going to do everything possible to make this offense one of the league’s most explosive.
– In McDaniels, the Rams snared one of the league’s brightest young offensive minds. When he was offensive coordinator in New England, McDaniels helped Tom Brady and that offense reach heights never before seen in the NFL.
– Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said his respect for McDaniels made the young coordinator a natural fit.
““We are happy to announce that Josh will be a part of our staff,” Spagnuolo said. “I’ve always recognized that he is one of the top offensive minds in the NFL. We think he is a great addition to our organization.”
– Spagnuolo and McDaniels have had a number of battles through the years, none more so than the one that concluded the 2007 season in Super Bowl XVII when McDaniels had led the most prolific offense in league history to an undefeated season against Spagnuolo’s dominant Giants defense. In that memorable contest, it was Spagnuolo that came out on top but there’s no doubt that the mutual respect the pair walked away with for each other was abundant.
– Even this season, Spagnuolo and McDaniels squared off again when McDaniels was head coach of the Broncos in a Rams’ victory in Denver.
– Going back before those jobs, Spagnuolo and McDaniels had emerged as two of the hottest coaching names on the market following the 2008 season. The Rams had Spagnuolo and McDaniels high on their list much as the Broncos had McDaniels and Spagnuolo high on their list. Ultimately, Denver opted for McDaniels and the Rams selected Spagnuolo. Now, the pair will get their first chance to work with each other on the same side.
– McDaniels brings with him plenty of youthful energy but his arrival also will symbolize a shift in offensive philosophy. Since taking over as head coach, Spagnuolo’s teams have run the West Coast Offense favored by former coordinator Pat Shurmur. That offense focuses on the running game and short, quick passes designed to allow receivers the opportunity to make yards after the catch.
– McDaniels’ system is quite the departure from that scheme. While McDaniels also keeps balance in the offense, he prefers to stretch the field vertically and allow for big plays down the field.
– Here’s a small sample of some of the Patriots’ accomplishments under McDaniels…
– 2007 NFL MVP Tom Brady broke the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season (50) and led the league in passing yards (4,806) and passer rating (117.2). Brady also set franchise marks in nearly every major passing category, while WR Wes Welker set the franchise record for receptions in a season (112) and WR Randy Moss broke the NFL record for touchdown receptions with 23. The Patriots offense also posted the franchise’s highest average yards per rush in 22 seasons with 4.1 yards per carry and the team’s 17 rushing touchdowns were the second highest total in the previous 20 years.
Brady went to three Pro Bowls during his six seasons with McDaniels serving as his position coach.
– And if you’re skeptical about McDaniels has accomplished without the use of Hall of Fame players such as Brady and Moss, you need not look very far.
– In the 2008 regular season opener, Brady was lost to a season ending knee injury. The Patriots plugged in Matt Cassel, at the time a seventh-round draft pick out of USC, who was never even the Trojans’ starter in his time in Los Angeles.
– Cassel went on to lead the club to a 10-5 record as a starter. In his first season as an NFL starter, Cassel posted the third-best completion percentage in Patriots history (63.4) while passing for 3,693 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
– That performance eventually landed Cassel the starting job in Kansas City and a mega-million dollar contract. He led the Chiefs to a playoff appearance in just his third season as a starter and second year with the Chiefs.
– Even in Denver the past couple of seasons, McDaniels has done more with less. The previously pedestrian Kyle Orton posted career numbers in McDaniels’ system.
– During McDaniels’ first season in Denver, QB Kyle Orton set career highs for pass attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes and passer rating while tying his career low for interceptions. Orton’s 3,802 yards were the sixth highest for a season in Broncos history.
– In 2010, the Broncos ranked seventh in the NFL in passing yards per game and finished 13th in total yards per game.
– So, what does all of that mean for the Rams?
– Clearly, in choosing to come to St. Louis, McDaniels had a very good idea of what was already in place. Few coordinators get a chance to step into a job where a franchise quarterback is already in place. In Sam Bradford, that’s precisely what McDaniels has in St. Louis.
– Now, Bradford had one of the most productive seasons by a rookie signal caller in league history. It took some time for him to get adjusted to Shurmur’s system but once he got the handle on it, he performed well. Now, Bradford will be asked to start over again which one can argue will slow his progress. While there’s certainly truth in that it will take Bradford time to learn a new system and, especially, new verbiage, it’s not like he was in the WCO for 10 years. It’s only one year of work in the other system so unlearning it wouldn’t be as tough as it would had he been doing it for a decade.
– Bradford has all the tools to succeed in McDaniels’ system and there’s little doubt that he will once he gets his mind around all the concepts. Keep in mind, Bradford is one of the hardest working guys on the team. He loves the details and the film work that goes into his job. He’ll work extremely hard to get the hang of it.
– All of that said, there’s one reasonable concern for Bradford and the rest of the offense in learning a new system. The impending possibility of a lockout could severely limit the amount of time Bradford gets to work with McDaniels and his teammates this offseason. That doesn’t mean he can’t take the playbook home and get cracking on it right away but it does mean he wouldn’t have much guidance in it while the lockout is going on.
– As for the running game, the Rams struggled to find consistency last year but McDaniels has proved in the past that he can rev the running game up. For starter Steven Jackson, it could mean less carries but more touches. McDaniels likes to use his backs in the passing game and Jackson has been an adept receiver out of the backfield. There’s little doubt that will continue.
– In a more big picture sense, the addition of McDaniels could also signal an emphasis on adding weapons and playmakers to the offense to fully maximize his abilities. There was a time when the Rams hired a big name offensive mind in Mike Martz as offensive coordinator. That same year, they went out and traded for Marshall Faulk, drafted Torry Holt and signed Trent Green and Adam Timmerman.
– It remains to be seen if the Rams would go on a similar offensive spree – especially considering the looming CBA issues – but don’t be surprised if, with McDaniels, Jackson and Bradford in place as well as two talented young tackles, the Rams go out and look to add more toys to the offense.
– That’s all for now. Back with more this afternoon. Spagnuolo is scheduled to discuss McDaniels at noon and McDaniels will participate in a conference call at 4.
Posted in From the Sidelines | 3 Comments »
– NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently sent out a letter to you, the fans, addressing what’s to come this offseason in terms of the CBA. Below is the text of that letter with no additional thoughts or opinions included…
“With one of the most exciting regular seasons now completed and the playoffs about to begin, let me first thank you and all NFL fans for your incredible support. Many fans have been asking me where we stand on signing a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union. Let me update you and be clear at the outset:
I know we can and will reach an agreement.
My goal as Commissioner now is to help our teams and players find a solution that is fair to everyone and ensures that football becomes more popular, accessible, and fun. We want the next decade to be the best yet for our fans, and I’m ready to work day and night to make that happen.
We’ve come a long way. Compare where we are today with 10 years ago. From player accountability to player safety, more and better television coverage, upgrading the in-stadium experience, innovations like the RedZone channel, the Draft in prime time and playing the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl, we are focused on doing what’s best for the players, teams, and fans. My priority is and always will be the game and the fans who love our game.
The NFL is great because fans care deeply about it. Economic conditions, however, have changed dramatically inside and outside the NFL since 2006 when we negotiated the last CBA. A 10 percent unemployment rate hurts us all. Fans have limited budgets and rightly want the most for their money. I get it.
Yes, NFL players deserve to be paid well. Unfortunately, economic realities are forcing everyone to make tough choices and the NFL is no different.
These are not easy negotiations, but the outcome can be positive. If both sides give a little, everyone, including fans, will get a lot and the game will improve through innovation.
Even in difficult economic times, a new CBA presents us with the opportunity to secure the future of our game. You may ask how will the NFL look under this vision?
A significant change would be to resolve fan complaints about preseason by modifying our 20-game format. Fans tell us they don’t like the quality of the preseason games, and we’re listening. An enhanced season of 18 regular season and two preseason games would not add a single game for the players collectively, but would give fans more meaningful, high-quality football.
Our emphasis on player health and safety is absolutely essential to the future of our game. We are strictly enforcing rules that protect players from unnecessarily dangerous play, especially involving hits to the head. We are changing the “play through it” culture to a “player-first” culture to ensure that if a player has a head injury, he doesn’t play again until his health is certain. We are also addressing the potential wear-and-tear on players in the way they train in-season and off-season.
It’s not just the health of players that concerns us. We must ensure the health of the league. That includes a new system that properly compensates proven veterans and retired players by shifting some of the outrageous sums paid to many unproven rookies. Earlier this year, Sports Illustrated published a list of the 50 highest-paid American athletes that included five 2009 NFL rookies. Every other athlete on the list was a proven veteran. In 2009, NFL clubs contracted $1.2 billion to 256 drafted rookies with $585 million guaranteed before they had stepped on an NFL field.
Don’t get me wrong: top draft choices will continue to be highly paid. All we’re asking for is a return to common sense in paying our rookies. Other leagues have done this and we can too.
These improvements and more will lead to better football, plain and simple. A forward looking CBA that is fair to players and clubs will lead to a great future for the NFL and our fans.
My job is to represent the game — the fans, teams, players, coaches and business partners. Protecting the integrity of the game and ensuring it thrives is a responsibility I take very seriously.
This is about more than a labor agreement. It’s about the future of the NFL. We have to improve and will be relentless in our quest. The commitment to our fans is to make the NFL experience even better in the years ahead. With a responsible CBA, we will fulfill that vision.
Happy New Year and enjoy the playoffs.”
– Roger Goodell
Posted in From the Sidelines | No Comments »
– The mood at Rams Park on Monday afternoon was understandably somber. Such an abrupt ending to a rollercoaster season that many thought would end with a playoff berth and a NFC West Division title can be a bitter pill to swallow and it certainly was on Monday.
– However, the Rams were in a much more retrospective mood given some time to reflect on what occurred this season and the strides the team made.
– This is a team that went from 1-15 a year ago to 7-9 this year. In the process, it improved from 29th to 26th in total offense, from 29th to 19th in total defense, from 31st to 12th in points per game allowed, from 30th to seventh in sacks and from a tie for 30th to 10th in turnover differential. The Rams also finished second in third down defense a year after finishing 29th.
– So if you don’t believe progress was made, the numbers would argue vehemently against you.
– All of that said, it doesn’t make for an excuse for what was a missed golden opportunity to claim a division crown Sunday night in Seattle. That’s a sobering reality that nobody at Rams Park would hesitate to acknowledge. To a man, each player has stepped up and taken accountability for what went wrong: the dropped passes, the missed blocks and tackles, the bad reads, the silly penalties. All of the things that have hampered the Rams this year seemed to rear their ugly head in one foul swoop last night in the biggest game of the year.
– Before we get into some reflections and updates, let me give you a couple of quick pieces of information.
– The Rams will draft 14th in this year’s NFL Draft. You probably already know what the needs are: WR, OLB, DB, DT, more help on the interior of the offensive line. But the Rams are a long way from locking in on anything and, as always, general manager Billy Devaney will explore all options and look for the best player available when the Rams time comes.
– The Rams’ 2011 opponents are set. On paper, it looks awfully tough but remember, this is the NFL, things change dramatically from year to year. Here’s a look at how it breaks down. The actual schedule won’t be released until April:
Home games: Arizona, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Cincinnati.
Road games: Arizona, Seattle, San Francisco, Green Bay, New York Giants, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Cleveland.
– Of course, this offseason will be shaped by the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement situation. The league intends to have a draft one or another but free agency would be greatly altered by a lockout. It remains to be seen how fast a resolution will come and it’s something we’ll certainly be watching in the coming weeks and months.
– Back to the Rams, some tidbits from the locker room the day after the season ended.
– S Oshiomogho Atogwe is due a big roster bonus this offseason but made it clear he’d like to stay in St. Louis to continue to see this process through and be part of the team that returns to the playoffs.
“I want to be back,” Atogwe said. “However we can make that work, we’ll talk about it. Going forward, it’s just whatever God has for me, whatever God has for the organization, He’s going let His will be done and I’m cool with that.”
– WR Mark Clayton says he is ahead of schedule in his recovery from his season-ending knee injury. But he also emphasized that he really wants to stay in St. Louis and make this his permanent home. He’s scheduled for unrestricted free agency this offseason but again, the CBA could change things some depending on what happens. Regardless, Devaney has made it known the Rams would like to keep Clayton and the mutual feeling likely keeps him in Rams horns beyond this year.
“I really want to be here,” Clayton said. “I was really excited about coming. I am totally committed to the organization, the players. I love Sam. I have developed relationships with guys on the defense and offense…I love the relationships. I love the organization. The coach is awesome, he’s passionate. I can relate to that. I would love to be here.”
– QB Sam Bradford says he’d like to work on “everything” this offseason but says his main goal is to become more comfortable in the offense. Bradford says he felt comfortable with a lot of the basic reads and things he was fed this year but that he’d like to go to the next level to be able to do more pre-snap reads where he can make choices and checks to get the ball down the field.
“I felt like for the most part I was comfortable with what we were doing, but I still stayed within our base reads,” Bradford said. “I’d like to be able next year to pre-snap, maybe take some more shots down field just based on leverage and matchups that we’re getting. Within plays that were really designed to take an intermediate throw, recognizing what the defense is giving us and maybe take a shot. So that’s one of the big things.”
– Bradford also said one of his offseason priorities will be to find a home in St. Louis and set up shop here on a more permanent basis.
– RB Steven Jackson says he is as healthy as he’s been going to an offseason since 2006. He says he is planning to play in the Pro Bowl this year and will likely have the pins in his broken finger removed sometime soon after that.
“Other than the broken finger, since 2006 this is probably the healthiest I’ve been finishing a season,” Jackson said. “That’s very, very positive, especially coming off a back surgery where a lot of questions was will I be able to endure another NFL season? I’m very proud of that, to not only go through a surgery, but to play in all 16 games.”
– Jackson says he believes the Rams offense is close to a breakthrough but acknowledged the need for more play makers and guys capable of scoring anytime they touch the ball. He also said he believes the Rams are now a more attractive option to free agents and he’ll do what he can to help recruit potential help for the roster.
“I trust that our front office will make whatever decision they feel like is best for the team,” Jackson said. “Whatever that is, I assure you that I’ll be ready to play football for the 2011 Rams. I’ll come back hungrier than ever. Being this close, it won’t take much motivation to get the body back together for training back in March. I normally take a couple months off, but March time I might be ready to go.”
– Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo also addressed the media on Monday afternoon and wrapped it all up. As for the season, he again expressed his pride in what the team accomplished but also his disappointment in the outcome. Still, he believes there were important lessons to be gained from the season and thinks those lessons will serve the team well going forward.
– Speaking of going forward, Spagnuolo says the coaching staff will immediately get to work on evaluating the players already on the roster. When that’s through, Spagnuolo says he will look at the coaching staff. He said it’s too early to determine if any changes could be made in that regard.
– On the injury front, DE Chris Long is seeing a hand specialist but no results were available immediately. I’ll have injury updates on things throughout the week.
– That’s going to do it for today. I’ll have plenty of updates and stories coming this week as we put a bow on this season. Thanks again for following all season long. Here’s to another busy offseason.
Posted in From the Sidelines | 4 Comments »
– Frustration and disappointment were the prevalent emotions in the Rams locker room after Sunday night’s 16-6 loss to the Seahawks in a NFC West Division elimination game.
– The loss ends the Rams season earlier than hoped as they finish 7-9. Seattle also finished 7-9 but wins the tiebreaker by virtue of their division record. The Rams were 3-3 in the West, Seattle was 4-2.
– On the injury front, the Rams made it out of the game OK as DE Chris Long had an X ray on his hand. The results were not yet available but even if it’s injured, Long now has time to recover.
– As always, the Rams entered Sunday’s game expecting to win. It’s a mindset they’ve had all year. And it’s a game that was there for the taking. The most disappointing part is clearly the lost opportunity within the division. These chances don’t come along often and to not capitalize is painful.
– So, with all of that said, what happened?
– The simple answer comes down to execution.
– The Rams offense simply never found a rhythm. That unit struggled to run the ball and convert on third downs, receivers and tight ends dropped catchable balls that could have gone for big plays.
– And once again, penalties bit the Rams in the red zone, including a key holding call on WR Laurent Robinson that forced them to settle for a field goal.
– On defense, the Rams battled the whole way and held Seattle to field goals more often than not. However, they gave up a big play on the opening drive and eventually a touchdown after another costly penalty.
– In the second half, the run defense struggled and Seattle continued to pound away with the same play in the same direction.
– Tough night for QB Sam Bradford, who had passes batted down at the line repeatedly and was out of sync with WR Brandon Gibson on his interception.
– That said, hats off to Bradford for a strong rookie season. He came up short of the playoffs but he set rookie records for completions and attempts and finished second all time among rookies in passing yards.
– RB Steven Jackson finished with 11 carries. The Rams again struggled to get the running game going and Jackson said after he simply just tried to make the most of the opportunities he was given.
– No question, the Rams receiver and tight ends struggled Sunday night. WR Danario Alexander dropped a pair of catchable deep balls but he was far from the only one missing out on opportunities.
– A tip of the cap to Seattle QB Charlie Whitehurst, who extended some plays with his legs, made a few big plays and didn’t turn it over. Just what Seattle ordered.
– Disappointing that the Rams couldn’t get home on blitzes and the front four was unable to corral Whitehurst when it had the chances.
– Maybe I don’t know what constitutes a holding penalty or an offsides or my ability to track the ball and where it should be spotted after a play? I don’t know but it didn’t seem like I’d be the only one on Sunday night. Brutal.
– All told, it was a fun year with an unexpected contender that surprisingly came within a win of taking the division. However, it’s hard not to think back at some of the missed opportunities along the way such as the road games in Tampa Bay and San Francisco and the home loss to Arizona.
– While the schedule looks much more difficult on paper next year, take solace in the fact that the Rams now have an offseason to fill some needs and will have a bunch of young players with more experience under their belt and a whole offseason to improve.
– Thanks for following along all season and be sure to stay tuned for what should be an interesting offseason. Back tomorrow to wrap this one up and we’ll look back at the 2010 season in the coming weeks.
Posted in From the Sidelines | No Comments »
– The Rams got a stop on third-and-1. Seattle called timeout to think about the decision.
– Pete Carroll opted to punt. The Rams get it back at their 8 with 14:10 to go.
– The Rams went three and out though as Fells dropped a long pass down the seam.
– Seattle got it back at its 48.
– The Seahawks got two big plays right away to surge deep into Rams territory. Whitehurst hit Obamanu for a gain of 13 and a 13-yard run by Lynch to make it first down at the Rams’ 22.
– The Rams got a stop and Mare hit from 38 yards out to make it 13-6 with 10:57 to go.
– Seattle’s offensive line getting away with a lot of holds. Not many flags on the Hawks tonight.
– Rams take over at their 24.
– Rams just missed a deep ball to Alexander, who just couldn’t make the play on a catchable bomb that went through his hands.
– The Rams went three and out again. They punted it away again. The Rams have gone three and out six times.
– The Seahawks did the Rams a big favor on the ensuing possession. They tried three straight passes from their 27 and all three fell incomplete. The drive took all of 17 seconds and the Rams took over at their 40 with 9:23 to go.
– Bradford hit Gibson for 14 yards on first down.
– But Bradford misread the coverage and LB Will Herring intercepted him at Seattle’s 37 to kill the drive.
– Seattle took over at its 37 and gained a first down on two runs by Lynch.
– Whitehurst ran for 9 on second-and-6 at the Rams’ 47 to the Rams’ 38.
– Whitehurst hit Obamanu for 9 more to the Rams’ 29.
– On third-and-7 at the 25, Lynch gained 4 to the Rams’ 21 setting up another field goal try from Mare.
– But the Rams were flagged for encroachment and the Seahawks got a first down at the Rams’ 16.
– Lynch gained 6 to the Rams’ 10.
– Mare attempted a 33-yarder and hits to make it 16-6 and effectively kill the Rams’ shot with 1:37 to go.
– The Rams took over at their 41.
– The Seahawks got the stop and that ended it.
– Seattle wins the game 16-6 and claims the NFC West Division title with a 7-9 record.
– The Rams opened the second half with the ball at their 19.
– Two 4-yard completions and a 3-yard strike to Gibson combined with a 15-yard penalty to give the Rams a first down at their 45.
– But that’s all the Rams could get as two incompletions were sandwiched around a 3-yard run by Jackson.
– Jones’ punt went out of bounds at Seattle’s 28.
– The Rams got a huge play on first down. Ron Bartell ripped it out of Lynch’s hands and James Laurinaitis recovered at Seattle’s 21 to give the Rams a golden opportunity.
– Jackson picked up 5 on first down and Bradford hit Alexander for 10 on second to Seattle’s 6.
– A holding penalty on Robinson pushed the Rams back to their 16.
– Bradford hit Amendola for 3 and Karney for 4 more to make it third-and-goal at the 9.
– Bradford threw incomplete on third down and the Rams again settled for a field goal. Brown hit from 27 yards out to make it 7-6 Seattle with 8:59 to go in the third.
– Seattle responded with a long, methodical drive of its own, doing most of its damage on the ground.
– Lynch ripped off 24 yards and three plays later, Forsett gained 21 for a first down.
– On second-and-10 at the 25, Whitehurst hit Washington in the flat for a gain of 10 and a first down at the Rams’ 15.
– The defense got the hold and Mare hit a 31-yard field goal to make it 10-6 with 3:04 left in the third.
– The Rams started with poor field position again, this time from their 16.
– Bradford hit Amendola for a gain of 6 on first down and threw incomplete twice to end the drive as Alexander couldn’t hang on to a deep pass down the left sideline.
– Three and out for the Rams and it goes back to Seattle at its 39.
– The Seahawks moved into Rams territory and have a third-and-1 at the Rams 40 with a 10-6 lead at the end of three.
– The Rams put together a long, long drive led by Jackson who had runs of 13, 2, 2, 6 and 5 with a catch for a gain of 13.
– Bradford connected with Fells for gains of 10 and 15 as well.
– But the drive died in the red zone as a third down pass to Robinson was incomplete when he couldn’t get his right foot down.
– Josh Brown connected from 32 yards out to make it 7-3 Seattle with a little less than 9 minutes to go.
– Rams seem to have weathered the storm from the first quarter.
– Seattle started its next drive at its 37.
– After the Seahawks gained a first down on a third-and-2 conversion, the Rams got another stop as Whitehurst threw incomplete on third-and-4.
– The Rams get it back at their 10.
– Bradford hit Keith Toston for a gain of 6 on first down and Jackson picked up 3 on second.
– But Jackson was stuffed for no gain on third down and the Rams punted again.
– A holding penalty on Seattle combined with a friendly roll, swung field position again and Seattle started from its 12.
– On third-and-5, Whitehurst hit Martin for a gain of 16 to the Rams’ 33.
– On first down, the Seahawks were flagged for holding to make it first-and-20 from the 23.
– The Rams got the stop and forced Seattle to punt with 1:42 left in the half and two timeouts for the Rams.
– They took over at their 37.
– A penalty and a sack set up a third-and-16.
– The Rams punted it back to Seattle, which had no timeouts with 45 seconds to go in the half.
– Jones hit his best punt and got good coverage as the Seahawks started at their 13.
– At the half, the Rams trail 7-3.
– The Seahawks won the toss and received. They start from their 13.
– Whitehurst at QB for Seattle.
– After a 13-yard strike to Forsett to start it, Whitehurst froze Dahl with a pump fake and hit Ruvell Martin for a gain of 61 to the Rams’ 13.
– The Rams appeared to get off the field with a third down sack by James Hall but a holding penalty on CB Ron Bartell kept the drive alive and Whitehurst hit Mike Williams two plays later for a 5-yard touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead for Seattle.
– The Rams take over on their first drive from their 25.
– The Rams picked up 10 on second down as Bradford hit Robinson but he was a yard shy of the first down after the first play lost a yard.
– On third-and-1, the Rams tried the quick inside handoff to Mike Karney who was stuffed for no gain.
– Seattle starts again at its 33.
– On second-and-10, Whitehurst hit Washington on a quick dump for a gain of 8.
– That set up a third-and-2 from Seattle’s 41.
– Forsett took the draw for a gain of 4 and a first down.
– Lynch took the next handoff off the right side for 12 more to the Rams’ 43.
– Selvie dropped Lynch for a loss of 3 on the next play.
– Whitehurst hit Morrah for a gain of 6 to set up third-and-7 but he misfired on third down and the Seahawks had to punt.
– The Rams take over at their 10.
– Bradford dropped it off to Jackson for 20 on first down.
– On first down at the 30, Bradford fired incomplete for Robinson and Jackson gained 3 on second down.
– On third-and-7, Bradford’s pass was batted down and the Rams had to punt again. Quincy Butler made a nice tackle, dropping Washington for a loss of 1 on the return.
– Seattle starts again, this time from its 14.
– The Rams got a three and out as the defense stopped Seattle twice with 1 yard to get a first down.
– The field position swung and the Rams started again from their 41.
– Robinson was dropped for a 9-yard loss on first down to Seattle’s 32.
– That play killed the drive and the Rams went three and out again.
– The Rams punted but Butler was flagged for unnecessary roughness to give it to Seattle at the Rams’ 44.
– Lynch lost 5 on first down.
– On second down, Washington gained 6 on a swing pass to set up third-and-9.
– Whitehurst threw incomplete to force another punt and three and out but field position swung back to Seattle as it downed the punt at the Rams’ 3.
– The final play of the opening quarter was a handoff to Karney for a gain of 4.
– At the end of the first quarter, the Rams trail 7-0.
– Greetings from Qwest Field where the Rams and Seahawks are warming up in preparation for tonight’s showdown for the NFC West Crown. I’m calling it “Showdown for the Crown” but you can call it what you want.
– It’s a cool and crisp 37 degrees right now but there’s not expected to be any precipitation tonight. So it will be cold but no rain or snow.
– The Rams are wearing the all whites tonight.
– Inactives for the Rams include: S Michael Lewis, CB Justin King, LB David Nixon, LB Curtis Johnson, G John Greco, WR Mardy Gilyard, TE Derek Schouman and DT Jermelle Cudjo.
– Hasselbeck is active and it appears he will get the start. Rams were prepared for that possibility. Seahawks make no change to starting lineup. Whitehurst will be ready at moment’s notice.
– Seattle inactives: third QB J.P. Losman, WR Brandon Stokley, LB Joe Pawelek, G Paul Fanaika, T Breno Giacomini, T Will Robinson, G Stacy Andrews, DT Armon Gordon.
– Stay tuned for updates throughout the game.
Posted in From the Sidelines | 4 Comments »