St. Louis Rams – Blog

Wrapping Up New Orleans

Posted by nickwagoner on October 31, 2011 – 9:42 PM

– Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo just finished up his Monday news conference and let’s just say it was a much happier Monday than it’s been at the Russell Training Center in awhile.

– While the Rams aren’t getting ahead of themselves, they had plenty of positives to take away from Sunday’s impressive 31-21 win against the talented Saints.

– Before we dive into more of what Spagnuolo saw yesterday, let’s hit the injuries real quick.

– QB Sam Bradford (ankle) has begun testing it and could return to practice at some point this week though it’s uncertain when that will be.

– RB Jerious Norwood (hamstring), WR Danario Alexander (hamstring), LB Brady Poppinga (calf), CB Justin King (groin), WR Greg Salas (ankle) and G Tony Wragge (knee) are expected to return to practice at least in a limited capacity.

– WR Mark Clayton is still dealing with an Achilles injury. The Rams must make a decision on his status at some point in the next week or so to pull him off the PUP list but it will depend on how quickly he recovers from the Achilles ailment that is slowing him down.

– RT Jason Smith and DT Darell Scott are still struggling with concussions and have not been cleared yet. They will not practice Wednesday and their status remains day to day.

– On the game, Spagnuolo expressed happiness with how his team performed Sunday but also pointed out a couple of things that bothered him…

“I think we’ve still got a ways to go and some improvement areas. We’ve got to protect the football better because we can’t give people points that easily. The penalties still bother me, so those would be the two big things. And then the negative plays on offense we’ve got to get ironed out. So there is still plenty of work to do there. We’re certainly not blinded by the fact that…it’s just one win. It was a good football team that we played and a good win, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do, so having said that I’ll open it up.”

– Spagnuolo said CB Marquis Johnson played well in his first game back off the PUP list. Johnson worked exclusively in the slot and performed better than expected considering the rust that goes with his absence from the game for the better part of the past year.

– According to coaches’ film review, MLB James Laurinaitis led the team with 10 tackles.

– Rams get back to work on Wednesday as they prepare for their first divisional game this week against Arizona.

Posted in From the Sidelines | No Comments »

A Total Team Win

Posted by nickwagoner on October 31, 2011 – 3:01 AM

– The Rams’ win against New Orleans on Sunday afternoon was stunning to many but not to the 53 players and assorted coaches in the locker room. It may have been a surprise to you and I but it wasn’t to them. For all they’ve taken and dealt with in the first six weeks of the season, the one thing about this team that was clear is that it doesn’t quit.

– On Sunday, it all came together against a very good opponent. It turned into a 31-21 win that brought some combination of elation and relief to the locker room. It was a locker room that only four hours or so before the jubliation was filled with stone cold silence save for the passionate words of captain and running back Steven Jackson.

– See, nobody likes losing but nobody hates it more than Jackson. He’s done enough of it in his career to have a special hatred in his heart that maybe nobody else can truly understand. So it was that Jackson found himself awake in the wee hours of Sunday morning and staying up another hour and a half trying to find the right words to tell his team before the game.

– What Jackson came up with was, in essence, a challenge to his team. What do you do when you get punched in the mouth? How do you react? We all know the Rams have been hit time and again this season but Jackson wanted to see a response commensurate with his own disdain for the losing and the mistakes that have reared their ugly heads in the first six games.

– So the Rams went out and put it all together. There was no weak link, this was a total team victory that left the Saints stunned and sent the city of St. Louis into a further state of St. Louis sports euphoria.

– Before we get into some of the specifics, a quick run through a short injury report:

– DE James Hall was poked in the eye. TE Lance Kendricks cramped up. Both returned to the game. As of now, nothing appears serious and the Rams came out OK. We’ll find out tomorrow if anything else pops up.

– WR Danario Alexander (hamstring), CB Justin King (groin), LB Brady Poppinga (calf), T Jason Smith (concussion/neck), DT Darell Scott (concussion) and QB Sam Bradford (ankle) did not play because of their ailments. Updates on them coming tomorrow.

– I don’t know exactly where to start with divvying up the credit for this one but let’s go ahead and start with the defense.

– The Saints hadn’t posted less than 382 yards in a game this season entering Sunday’s game. They finished with 283 an 80 of those came on a late, purely cosmetic touchdown drive.

– For the Rams, it was back to basics. They tackled well and they stopped the run even better. New Orleans rushed 20 times for 56 yards.

– With the run a non-factor and the Saints a one-dimensional team, the Rams were able to fire up the pass rush and get after QB Drew Brees. The result? Six sacks, countless hurries and a flurry of missed holding penalties.

– Leading the way was DE Chris Long, who went for the hat trick. Hats off to Long, who has been getting doubled and triple a lot in the past three games. With the chance to get after it, he showed what he can do.

– Same to DE Robert Quinn. Heck of a game, rook. His punt block was, in my estimation, the play that changed the game. It set off a flurry that resulted in a 17-0 halftime lead that essentially buried the Saints.

– MLB James Laurinaitis was all over the place. He had a sack, 10 tackles, two quarterback hurries and two pass deflections that were nearly interceptions.

– WLB Chris Chamberlain won’t get a lot of credit but he managed a pair of tackles for loss coming up in run support and was instrumental in helping to limit talented TE Jimmy Graham to 39 yards on four catches.

– In the secondary, hats off to everyone but particularly S Darian Stewart and CB Josh Gordy. Gordy came up with a pick and had seven tackles. He was sticky in coverage all day. Stewart added six tackles and his interception return for a score was the nail in the coffin. Great job by those two youngsters and even better to see Stewart put one in the end zone, been waiting to see that from the defense or special teams for awhile.

– On the offense, Jackson was vintage Jackson rushing for 159 yards on 25 carries with 32 yards on four catches and a pair of touchdowns. Tough, physical running inside and quick, decisive cutbacks on the edge.

– Hats off to an offensive line that played outstanding in all facets. While A.J. Feeley took four sacks and was under pressure, that is expected against a blitz-happy Saints defense. All told, that group protected Feeley and opened nice holes for Jackson.

– Speaking of Feeley, he would like to have a couple early deep throws back but he did a great job of managing the game, getting the ball out quick and converting on third down. great sight adjustment with WR Brandon Lloyd for his 8-yard touchdown.

– Welcome to the Rams, Mr. Lloyd. Nice touchdown grab and read on the defense to set it up.

– WR Greg Salas is quickly becoming a key cog in this offense. Terrific to see how far he’s come in a few weeks under the tutelage of Nolan Cromwell. He had five catches for 47 yards and added a run for 8 more.

– Let us not forget the work done by the special teams against a dangerous Darren Sproles.

– P Donnie Jones was his usual, phenomenal self. He punted seven times for 298 yards, an average of  42.6 yards with a net of 39.9. He dropped three inside the 20 and Sproles had two fair catches. In fact, Sproles only got three return opportunities and had a long of 15 on a day when he had 19 total.

– K Josh Brown was excellent on kickoffs again and helped limit Sproles there too by kicking directionally.

– Said it before and will say it again, special teams coordinator Tom McMahon is one of the best in the business and  a bit of a rising star in his job. His groups have been consistently excellent in coverage all season.

– That’s going to do it for this one for tonight. Back tomorrow to wrap it all up. Enjoy this one, St. Louis. Thanks for reading.

Posted in From the Sidelines | No Comments »

Costas On the Rams’ Win

Posted by nickwagoner on October 31, 2011 – 2:40 AM

– At halftime of every Sunday Night Football game on NBC, St. Louis native broadcaster Bob Costas does an essay about something going on in the world of the NFL. On Sunday night, he focused his words on the magical weekend that took place here this weekend, capped by the performance of the Rams in Sunday’s huge 31-21 win against the Saints.

– Courtesy of NBC, below is the transcript of his halftime essay:

The Rams beat the Saints today in St. Louis, 31-21. The outcome was so stunning, the city threw a parade immediately after the game. All right, so the parade was for the Cardinals, and, in fact, the win by the Rams, a prohibitive underdog at home, was only the second-most miraculous thing that happened in St. Louis this week.

But still, how do you figure this?

A week ago, the Saints treated a winless Colt team like a Pop Warner squad facing the varsity. The final? 62-7. A few hours earlier, the Rams had dropped to a fully deserved 0-6 by losing 34-7 in Dallas. So, coming in to today, the Saints were averaging 37 points a game. The Rams had averaged nine. Until today, the Rams had often looked as if it would have taken them several plays to score even if the opposition had left the field. And to make matters worse, when it seemed they couldn’t possibly be, they were without last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, Sam Bradford. A.J. Feeley looking for all the world like a lamb being led to slaughter.

Instead, it was the Saints who got slaughtered. Down 24-0 at one point, and doing almost all their scoring after the issue had been decided. Feeley’s performance was efficiency personified: 175 yards, a touchdown and no picks. Meanwhile, Steven Jackson, a great player plagued for years by injuries and a weak supporting cast, had a mid-career flashback, reeling off 159 yards and two touchdowns.

Does any of this make sense? About as much sense as two comebacks from two runs down with two outs on the same night, twice down to your last strike in the World Series. In St. Louis this week, some things don’t have to be explained, just enjoyed.

Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »

Rams vs. Saints: Running Blog

Posted by nickwagoner on October 30, 2011 – 3:40 PM


– Feeley hit Lloyd over the middle but Lloyd didn’t hang on. He had nothing but green in front of him and had the first down at minimum. But he dropped it and the Saints get it back at their 32.

– The Saints moved quickly into Rams territory.

– They punched it in on a 3-yard run by Thomas to cut it to 24-14.

– The Rams had it moving on offense but killed themselves with penalties and punted it back.

– New Orleans takes over at its 33.

– The defense responded with a huge three and out. Rams get it back with 6:12 to go.  

– On third-and-12 from the 44, Brees hit Colston for a gain of 25 to the 19.

– Two plays later, the pair hooked up again to the Rams’ 3.

– Thomas punched it in from 3 yards out to make it 24-14 Rams with 10 minutes to play.

– After a three and out from the Rams defense, Feeley hit Lloyd for 16 yards on third-and-5.

– Jackson gained 6 on two plays to bring up another third down, this time third-and-4 at the Saints’ 48.

– Jackson was stopped after 1 yard and the Rams punted it back.

– Saints take over at their 19 with 3:01 to play.

– On the first play, Darian Stewart stepped in front of a Brees pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. The extra point gave the Rams a 31-14 lead with 2:51 to play.

– Saints start again from their 20.

– Brees’ first pass fell incomplete after Harris nearly intercepted him.

– Brees hit a couple of completions to get to the 35 where it’s second and 9 at the 2 minute warning.

– Long added his third sack of the day and the Saints had a fourth down.

– Moore caught an 11-yard pass for a first down to the Saints 46.

– Brees hit Moore again for another 12 yards to the Rams’ 35.

– Fred Robbins picked up a sack to bring up third down.

– Brees hit Sproles for a gain of 21 yards to the Rams 8 with 17 seconds left.

– Brees missed Graham on first down.

– Colston couldn’t hang on for a touchdown on second down. 

– Brees hit Moore for a cosmetic touchdown from 8 yards out to make it 31-21.

– That’ll do it. The Rams get their first win of the season in stunning and dominant fashion, improving to 1-6 on the season.


– The Saints receive to start the second half. Keep an eye on how they attack, possibly looking to open it up. Rams should be able to generate more pass rush with a lead.

– New Orleans began at its 15 and picked up a first down with a couple of completions to the 27.

– Kehl broke through to drop Thomas for a loss of 1 on first down.

– Long followed with his second sack of the game to push New Orleans back 8 more yards to bring up third-and-24.

– A 14-yard completion to Colston forced the Saints to punt again.

– The Rams continued to roll behind Jackson, who broke off a run of 4 and Gibson picked up 11 to the Rams’ 42.

– On fourth-and-2 at the Saints’ 35, Jackson broke off a big gain down the left side for 32 yards to the Saints’ 3.

– Two plays later, Jackson cruised in from 3 yards out for a touchdown.

– The Rams lead it 24-0 with 6 minutes left in the third.

– The Saints got a quick first down on a 6-yard compltion to Moore but the Rams bowed up and got a stop again.

– This time, it was Gordy coming up in run support on third and 1. With help from Laurinaitis, Ivory got dropped for a 1 yard loss and the Saints had to punt again.

– The Rams start again from their 6.

– On third-and-6, Feeley was sacked by Saints S Malcolm Jenkins. LB Jonathan Vilma recovered in end zone for a touchdown to shift momentum and make it 24-7 Rams with 1:21 to go in the third quarter.

– At the end of three, the Rams lead it 24-7 with a third and 6 at their 24.


– The Rams got off the field again but a 62-yard punt forced the Rams to start again at their 12.

– The offense began piecing together its best drive of the day after a 9-yard sack to start.

– Jackson took a second down handoff and burst for 9 yards and Feeley hit Gibson for 11 and a first down.

– A 15-yard run by Jackson got it into New Orleans territory at the 48.

– Another sack lost 7 but Jackson picked up 7, Feeley hit Salas for 8 to set up a fourth and 2.

– Feeley hit Salas again, this time out in the flat. He hauled it in, made a defender miss, kept his balance and burst 33 yards to the Saints 7.

– New Orleans challenged that Salas stepped out well before getting to the 7. The challenge was upheld and the play overturned. Rams have a first down at New Orleans’ 23.

– An incompletion and a 3-yard run by Jackson set up third-and-7 at the 20.

– Feeley had Salas come clean over the middle of the field but his pass was deflected and fell incomplete. Salas cruises into end zone if it’s completed.

– Brown hits from 38 yards out for a 3-0 Rams lead with 8:32 to go in the half.

– New Orleans starts again from its 23.

– The Saints began marching methodically with completions for 7 yards to Graham and Thomas and a 13-yard strike to Collins.

– On third-and-4 at the Rams’ 43, Quinn burst inside past Jermon Bushrod for a 10-yard sack to kill the drive.

– Rams take over with a first down from their 8.

– The Rams picked up a first down but went backwards as penalties cost them yards. They punted from their 20 and Jones boomed a 54-yard punt with a good angle to force the Saints to start from their 25.

– Brees hit Moore for 14 to the 39.

– But the Rams defense again showed some resiliency.

– Craig Dahl nearly got an interception on first down. Long broke through for a sack and a 9 yard loss and deflected a pass on third to force a punt.

– On fourth down, Quinn made his presence known again, busting through from the right side for a blocked punt. The ball spun out of bounds at the New Orleans’ 15.

– Feeley hit Salas for a gain of 12 to the 3 and Jackson punched it in from the right side to give the Rams a 10-0 lead.

– New Orleans started again from its own territory as Brees forced it deep down the right sideline. Gordy intercepted it and the Rams got it back at the Saints’ 38.

– On third down, Feeley hit Gibson for a gain of 14 to the Saints’ 24.

– A holding penalty on the Saints gave the Rams another first down at the 19.

– Feeley hit Lloyd for 8 more to the Saints’ 11.

– A 6-yard run by Feeley gave the Rams a first down and a penalty for hands to the face made it first and goal at the 3.

– The Rams moved back to the 8 on a false start penalty before Feeley hit Lloyd in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown and a 17-0 Rams lead with 17 seconds to go in the half.

– At the half, the Rams lead it 17-0.


–  With most of the world champion St. Louis Cardinals in the house, the Rams won the toss and elected to receive. Pitcher Chris Carpenter served as a coin toss captain.

– The Rams started from their 20.

– After an incompletion on first down, Feeley hit Jackson for a gain of 15 to the 35.

– Jackson picked up 11 on two carries to move the chains to the 46.

– Feeley took a shot deep for Lloyd twice in a row but didn’t quite connect as the first one was underthrown a bit and the second was overthrown a bit.

– A third down pass for Gibson fell incomplete and the Rams had to punt.

– The Saints got their first possession at their 15 and picked up first downs on completions to Lance Moore and Jimmy Graham.

– But that drive died at the New Orleans’ 43 as Al Harris broke up a third down pass attempt.

– The Rams have it back at their 20.

– Dominique Curry makes his Rams offensive debut at WR on this drive.

– Feeley was dropped for a 9-yard sack on first down by Will Smith.

– Jackson lost 4 yards to make it third and 23 on their 7.

– In order to protect the ball, the Rams handed to Jackson for a 9-yard gain to the 16 before punting it away.

– Brees and Co. take over at their 42.

– Brees hit Sproles for a 19-yard gain and first down to the Rams’ 36.

– But the Rams got a sack from James Laurinaitis for a loss of 8 and Chris Chamberlain dropped Pierre Thomas for a loss of 4.

– A 17-yard completion to Moore set up a 49-yard field goal attempt by John Kasay. He left it wide left and the Rams take over at their 39.

– The Rams managed a lone first down as Lloyd caught a 6 yard pass to convert a third-and-2.

– But that was all for the possession as the Rams punted it away again.

– New Orleans takes over at its 16.

– The Saints got a quick first down but Chamberlain dropped Collins for a loss of 5 and Robert Quinn came hustling across the field to drop Sproles after just 2.

– At the end of the first quarter, the game is tied at 0 and the Saints have a third-and-13 at their 24.


– Greetings from the Edward Jones Dome where the Rams and Saints are preparing to get it going with a noon kickoff.

– Today is the Green Game, as we encourage people to start making better decisions on the environment.

– It’s also throwback day as the Rams will be sporting the old blue and yellow based on our votes.

– As expected, QB Sam Bradford is inactive as he continues to nurse a high ankle sprain. A.J. Feeley starts in his place.

– Other Rams inactives: RT Jason Smith, DT Darell Scott, WR Danario Alexander, LB Brady Poppinga, CB Justin King, RB Jerious Norwood.

– With Smith out, Adam Goldberg gets the start at right tackle. Don’t be shocked if recent addition Mark LeVoir gets some playing time as well.

– As Alexander sits, Brandon Gibson will be back in the lineup.

– Bryan Kehl will start for Poppinga. Also keep an eye for Ben Leber back in the mix on the weak side.

– Josh Gordy goes for King.

– The Rams activated CB Marquis Johnson on Saturday and placed Brian Jackson on injured reserve.

– Johnson is up this week and likely to play a lot in the nickel.

– For the Saints, the inactives are RB Mark Ingram, CB Johnny Patrick, LB Will Herring, T Zach Strief, TE David Thomas, WR Adrian Arrington and DE Turk McBride.

– The Saints have released TE Tory Humphrey and activated RB Chris Ivory, who will serve as the team’s third back today.

– Stay tuned for updates throughout the game today.

Posted in From the Sidelines | 2 Comments »

Bradford Ruled Out

Posted by nickwagoner on October 28, 2011 – 6:44 PM

– Coach Steve Spagnuolo confirmed Friday what many suspected all week: QB Sam Bradford (high ankle sprain) will not play this week against New Orleans. He did not test the ankle today as he did a week ago and the Rams are trying to be smart about it.

– A.J. Feeley will start for Bradford on Sunday.

– CB Justin King surprised by doing some work in practice and it is possible he’ll be available this weekend after battling a groin injury all week.

– Likewise, CB Marquis Johnson is probably going to be active this week and removed from the PUP list. The Rams will have to let someone go to make room for him but that decision hasn’t been made yet.

– WR Mark Clayton has been bothered by an Achilles injury and will not be activated. He’s sore right now but the team doesn’t want to take a chance activating him this weekend.

On the official injury report:
OUT: Bradford, T Jason Smith, DT Darell Scott
DOUBTFUL: WR Danario Alexander
QUESTIONABLE: CB King, LB Brady Poppinga

– Look for guys like Ben Leber and Adam Goldberg to play bigger roles this week.

– Lastly, it’s rare to get the type of event that’s taking place in St. Louis tonight. Sports have a way of providing drama that you can’t find anywhere else. For those of you about to sit back and watch tonight’s game 7 between the Cardinals and Rangers, enjoy it.

Posted in From the Sidelines | 3 Comments »

Johnson Working Way Back

Posted by nickwagoner on October 27, 2011 – 9:56 PM

– Cornerback Marquis Johnson continues to work his way back from a trio of surgeries that landed him on the PUP list to start the season.

– And it appears Johnson’s return could come sooner than later.

– Johnson has been getting more work this week in practice and coach Steve Spagnuolo indicated Johnson is closing in on a return. It’s possible with the groin injury to Justin King that Johnson could not only be activated but up and playing this weekend against the Saints.

– WR Mark Clayton is still working his way back though it remains to be seen if he’s going to be ready to contribute this week.

– No changes with QB Sam Bradford and his sprained left ankle. It still doesn’t look likely he’ll play this week.

– WR Danario Alexander (hamstring), King (groin), LB Brady Poppinga (calf), T Jason Smith (strained neck/concussion) and DT Darell Scott (concussion) did not practice.

– DE C.J. Ah You (wrist), RB Jerious Norwood (illness) and LT Rodger Saffold (illness) were back to full participation.

Posted in From the Sidelines | No Comments »

Rams vs. Cowboys: Running Blog

Posted by nickwagoner on October 23, 2011 – 6:47 PM


Fourth Quarter

– The Rams got a first down as Feeley hit Hoomanawanui for a gain of 27.

– But that was it for the Rams, who punted it back and Dallas starts yet again at its 22.

– It matters not who is at running back for Dallas as it continues to just pound the ball on the ground against the Rams’ woeful run defense.

– Murray ripped off a 43-yard run to the Rams’ 30 before ceding the work to Phillip Tanner.

– Tanner ran twice for 23 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown to make it 27-7 with 9:22 to go.

– The Rams got it back at their 13.

– Rams drive ended when Ware sacked Feeley, forcing a fumble and the Cowboys took over on downs at the Rams’ 34.

– Romo hit Bryant for a 20-yard touchdown to make it 34-7 Dallas with 4:07 to play.

– As Dallas backed off, the Rams put together a drive highlighted by a 34-yard catch and run from Lloyd to the Dallas’ 13.

– The Rams got to Dallas’ 1 but couldn’t put it in and that ended it.

– Dallas wins 34-7.

Third Quarter

– The Cowboys started the second half from their 20.

– Murray picked up 19 on second down to the 45.

– A handoff to Choice turned into a turnover as Choice was hit by Mikell, jarring it loose as he fell to the ground. Al Harris pounced on it to give the Rams a golden opportunity at the Dallas 44.

– The Rams promptly went three and out as Feeley looked deep for Lloyd on first down but got no call for interference and no catch.

– Dallas gets it back at its 12.

– The Cowboys methodically drove it with a couple of catches by Bryant and some Murray running.

– Dallas settled for a 51-yard field goal from Bailey to make it 20-7 Dallas with 5:32 to go in the third quarter.

– Rams wasted good field position again, starting from their 40 and going three and out.

– The Cowboys get it back at their 14.

– The Rams got a stop after Dallas  picked up a pair of first downs. Rams take over at their 3.

– Feeley hit Jackson for 3 yards to the 5.

– At the end of the third quarter, the Rams trail 20-7.

Second Quarter

– DE James Hall came up with a sack to move the Cowboys back 11 yards but it didn’t take long for them to get it back.

– Romo hit Dez Bryant for a gain of 34 then Laurent Robinson for 17 more to the Rams’ 4.

– On third-and-goal at the 1, Romo hit Witten in the back of the end zone for a touchdown and 14-0 lead with 12:25 to go in the half.

– The Rams started from their 15 and put together a solid drive as Feeley hit Lloyd for gains of 7, 4 and 7.

– But the big play came when Jackson broke a 40-yard gain up the middle to the Dallas 6.

– On first and goal, the Rams cleared out the right side and Jackson waltzed into the end zone for a touchdown.

– A red zone score for the Rams, a positive step in the right direction. They trim Dallas lead to 14-7 with 7:58 to go in the half.

– LB Brady Poppinga has a left calf strain, his return is doubtful. Bryan Kehl is in for Poppinga.

– The Cowboys started again from their 20.

– After picking up a first down on a 6-yard completion to Witten, the Cowboys were forced to punt after an incomplete pass on third down.

– The Rams take over again at their 13.

– Two plays gained 2 yards before Feeley misfired a pass that was intercepted by Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins.

– Dallas takes over again at the Rams’ 30.

– Murray picked up a first down, gaining 10 on two carries. Romo followed by hitting Miles Austin for a gain of 9 to make it second-and-1 at the Rams’ 11.

– The Rams caught a break as Bryant dropped what would have been a touchdown on the ensuing second down and Al Harris broke up the third down pass.

– K Dan Bailey hit from 30 yards out to make it 17-7 Dallas with 15 seconds left in the half.

– That’s where we stand at the half, as Dallas leads 17-7.

First Quarter

– The Rams won the toss and elected to receive.

– After starting from their 24, the Rams ran twice for a net of 3 yards before Feeley hit Salas for a 12-yard gain and a first down.

– Two more Jackson runs and an incompletion netted 0 yards and the Rams had to punt.

– Donnie Jones boomed one that was downed at the 2, where Dallas gets its first chance.

– The Cowboys picked up a first down when Romo hit Jason Witten for a 4-yard gain on second down.

– A holding penalty on the Rams followed by one on Dallas moved it back to the 9 for a first-and-19.

– From there, rookie RB DeMarco Murray did all the work, taking a handoff on a misdirection play, making Quintin Mikell miss and racing 91 yards for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead for Dallas.

– The Rams started again from their 20 and picked up a quick 12 on a completion to Lloyd. They added another first down as Feeley hit Bajema for 12 yards and a first down into Dallas territory.

– But that was all for that drive as the Rams lost 5 on a third down screen pass. Dallas gets it back at its 20.

– The Rams defense bounced back with a quick three and out.

– Good field position for the Rams who take over at their 36.

– The Rams had a drive moving after Jackson converted a third down for a gain of 5 to the 50.

– On the ensuing play, disaster struck twice after Feeley dumped it off to Cadillac Williams for a gain of about 12 but Williams fumbled and Dallas S Abram Elam recovered.

– Not only did the drive end up the Rams lost RT Jason Smith to injury. He was taken off on a stretcher.

– Smith waved his hands a little bit as he was taken off on the stretcher. He will not return. Updates as we get them.

– At the end of the first quarter, the Cowboys lead 7-0 and have a first down at the Rams’ 44.

Pregame Notes

– Greetings from Cowboys Stadium where the Rams and Cowboys are warming up in preparation for today’s 3:15 start.

– As announced yesterday, QB Sam Bradford will not be available today because of a sprained left ankle. He tested it on Friday but the Rams didn’t want to risk making it worse.

– A.J. Feeley will start in Bradford’s stead and the Rams have promoted QB Tom Brandstater from the practice squad to serve as the backup.

– To make room for Brandstater, the Rams released WR/KR Nick Miller.

– At receiver, the Rams will have a little different look this week. Expect Danario Alexander to start with newly-acquired Brandon Lloyd. Greg Salas and Austin Pettis will also be in the mix.

– The inactives for the Rams: Bradford, RB Jerious Norwood, CB Brian Jackson, DE C.J. Ah You, TE Stephen Spach, LB Ben Leber and WR Brandon Gibson.

– The addition of Lloyd and the special teams need of Pettis puts Gibson down.

– Rams will be wearing blue jerseys with white pants today.

– Of note for the Cowboys, RB Felix Jones is inactive as expected. Tashard Choice starts in his stead.

Posted in From the Sidelines | 3 Comments »

Bradford a Gametime Decision

Posted by nickwagoner on October 21, 2011 – 6:57 PM

– The Rams finished their practice week Friday afternoon and not much changed in terms of the status of QB Sam Bradford.

– The starting signal caller did do some work indoors, taking drops and testing out various ankle braces. According to coach Steve Spagnuolo, Bradford did find some braces he felt comfortable in and could play in.

– But that doesn’t mean anything in terms of his status for Sunday. Spagnuolo said the Rams will wait to see how he reacts over the next couple of days and the team will make a deicison closer to game time.

– Bradford is officially listed as questionable for this week. One way or the other, the Rams may need to call QB Tom Brandstater up from the practice squad to ensure depth. Any move in that regard will be made tomorrow evening, most likely.

– WR Mark Clayton and CB Marquis Johnson will NOT be activated this week. Spagnuolo hopes to have both available for next week.

– DE C.J. Ah You (hand/wrist) and CB Brian Jackson (knee) are listed as out this week.

– DE Euegne Sims, who had a migraine headache and missed practice Friday, is listed as probable.

Posted in From the Sidelines | No Comments »

Jackson Over Draft Slight

Posted by nickwagoner on October 20, 2011 – 8:38 PM

– Rams RB Steven Jackson used to lament the fact that the Dallas Cowboys passed on him in the 2004 NFL Draft. See, Jackson grew up a Dallas fan and when he entered the league, the Cowboys had parted ways with Emmitt Smith and were in search of a new feature back.

– Bill Parcells was in charge at the time and decided not to take Jackson, moving down in the first round. The Rams moved up and the rest is franchise history.

– Each time the Rams played the Cowboys after Jackson arrived, he made it clear he was disappointed with Parcells’ decision and he made the Cowboys pay.

– But when he was asked Thursday if he still thinks about the slight, Jackson said he no longer lets it concern him and he’s happy he ended up in St. Louis.

“Not this many years later,” Jackson said. “I am over it. I’ve had a great career here. I’ve enjoyed my time and I continue to enjoy my time here, especially when this thing turns around I will know I had a big part to do with that. I’ll be prouder of that than things that could have happened in the past.”

– Jackson will need a big performance against Dallas this week as the Cowboys boast the league’s top rated run defense.

– QB Sam Bradford sat out practice again Thursday and his status remains up in the air for Sunday because of his sprained left ankle.

– DE C.J. Ah You (hand/wrist) also did not practice. S Quintin Mikell did not participate either because of the birth of another child.

– CB Brian Jackson suffered a knee injury in practice yesterday and also had to sit out Thursday’s workout. For those keeping track at home, that’s eight corners who have suffered injuries this year. It’s not likely Jackson will be ready to go this week but he could return next week.

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Bradford’s Status Up in the Air

Posted by nickwagoner on October 19, 2011 – 9:06 PM

– There were a lot of new faces on the practice field at the Russell Training Center on Wednesday, most of them at key positions. But at the most important of positions, there was a familiar face missing.

– Rams QB Sam Bradford did not practice Wednesday as he continues to nurse a high sprain in his left ankle. He did not even step onto the practice field and was spending the time attempting to recover. Coach Steve Spagnuolo offered no clues on Bradford’s status for this week other than to say that he won’t venture a guess at Bradford’s ankle because of the nature of the injury.

– Bradford, on the other hand, made it clear he would like to play. He stopped short of guaranteeing he’ll play but did say that he is going to do everything possible. He also said he felt better Wednesday than he did after the game or on Monday and feels like the ankle is improving.

– Considering that Bradford is playing in the closest thing to a homecoming for him in Dallas this weekend, he emphasized how important it is for him to get on the field. He’s got plenty of ticket requests but doesn’t want to fill those unless he knows he can play.

– Meanwhile, WR Brandon Lloyd made his Rams debut and impressed everyone with how quickly he adjusted and made plays during the practice.

– WR Mark Clayton also returned to practice after spending six weeks on the PUP list. He has not been activated yet from that list to the 53-man roster but he looked good to Spagnuolo and said he felt good as well. He still believes he’s ready to go and pushing to play this week.

– Ditto for CB Marquis Johnson, who also came off the PUP list this week.

– DE C.J. Ah You is the only other Ram on the injury report. He did not practice as he’s dealing with an infection in his hand from surgery. He had his pins removed early because of it.

– On the Cowboys injury report, of note is the absence of monster LB DeMarcus Ware, who did not practice because of a back injury. It’s not expected to keep him out this week but worth monitoring.

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