St. Louis Rams – Blog

Bradford Limited by Ankle

Posted by nickwagoner on November 30, 2011 – 10:51 PM

– The Rams got back to the practice field Wednesday in anticipation of this week’s matchup with San Francisco.

– The 49ers present a huge challenge for the Rams as they are 9-2 and on the verge of clinching the NFC West Division.

– That challenge will be more difficult if QB Sam Bradford is unable to play this week.

– Although it seems mostly precautionary right now, Bradford was limited in practice on Wednesday, taking only about half the reps with A.J. Feeley handling the other half.

– Coach Steve Spagnuolo said the Rams want to be cautious with Bradford’s injury this week.

“That ankle’s still kind of bothering him a little bit,” Spagnuolo said. “We don’t want it to go backwards, so we kind of cut his reps.”

– For his part, Bradford says while the ankle is a bit sore, overall he feels pretty good.

“I feel all right,” Bradford said. “The ankle is a little bit sore today, but other than that for Week 13 I’d say the body feels pretty good right now.”

– Spagnuolo says the Rams have not yet settled on whether they will stay with the same offensive line as last week this week against San Francisco. Early indications are that they will, however.

– Safety Darian Stewart did not practice Wednesday as he has yet to be cleared from a concussion.

“He did some walkthrough stuff,” Spagnuolo said. “Has not been cleared yet and was actually out here and (Head Athletic Trainer) Reggie (Scott) thought it best for him to go back inside. So today’s Wednesday, we’ll just have to see.”

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Wrapping Up Arizona

Posted by nickwagoner on November 28, 2011 – 10:46 PM

– Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo finished his Monday news conference following Sunday’s loss to Arizona.

– We’re going to veer a little from the usual wrapping up because I know there are a lot of questions out there about the thought process that went into some gameday decisions. So, I’ll just include the quotes from Spagnuolo on a number of those things below.

(On if he second-guesses himself for not going for a touchdown before the end of the first half)
“No. When I go back to the moment and what I was feeling and what I was thinking, I think I explained it to you yesterday, it was a conservative approach-no question. You could have gone another way, but I just got the sense, other than the 71-yard run that they got on our defense, I thought our defense was playing pretty good. In my mind, I’m sitting there, I was talking to myself even before the false start, what happens if? We just wanted to make sure we came away with points. Do we want to get a touchdown? Yeah. But once we had the false start, the sack, at that point I said in my mind, ‘I want to get us settled down. I want to make sure we come away with points here.’ Again, I think I told you yesterday I was going to bring it all the way down and just kick it. Then there was some conversation, let’s take a shot. I thought that was OK thinking and that’s the way we went. Again, it was all in here, it was a reaction to what was going on, we’re going to be ahead seven points. I figure we’re going to get the three, it’s 10-3 and go in, get settled down, regroup, come out and win the second half. That didn’t happen. We had a bad third quarter and we lost by three points.”

(On if he second guesses himself for not going for it on fourth down and not challenging)

“The third quarter, fourth down play with a half a yard, I know in hindsight he returned it for a touchdown, so shame on me. We should have went for it, but I don’t think in any circumstance at that early in the game, down there the score was 13-10, I believe. We we’re down by three and I just don’t think you take that chance. That’s me. I don’t think I’d change that. Now, refresh my memory on another one…The talk was on the headset, I know it was in our territory. Again, I don’t think I’d change this. Three timeouts, it’s a field goal difference in the game, if we stop them on third down, it was third-and-four I believe, we took the two timeouts, had a lot of time up there, turn it over to our offense with no timeouts. Maybe with one, I don’t think I would change on that one either.”

(On if he had a chance to look at the possible challenges in the game)

“Yeah, I’ll tell you the one where the quarterback stretched out, I watched that myself on the jumbo-tron. I just decided, you know what, I don’t think that he’s going to sit there and say there’s enough to change that. Sitting down there and doing it in slow motion, maybe. The other one with the fumble I asked upstairs. They got the view that they got and they said, ‘No, we don’t…’ See you need in that situation, it’s easy, the TV and all the videos and all that, but in that situation what I’m looking for is for somebody to say, ‘We need to challenge that. This looks like it could be overturned.’ If it’s not that clear cut, I don’t think it’s worth taking the chance.”

– Spagnuolo also discussed the errant punt that resulted in Patrick Peterson’s touchdown. By now, you know the intent was not to kick to Peterson but the punt was mishit. Spagnuolo says it’s important to remember that directional punting isn’t as easy as it may sound.

“Yeah, in a lot of ways it is,” Spagnuolo said. “Are you kicking it left, are you kicking right? The thing you have to be concerned with…there’s a lot to it. Now, I don’t want to go too deep into because we’ve still got to play a football game this week, but to do that you’ve got to aim a certain way. If they know where you’re going to kick it, they’ve got an opportunity to block it and the corner’s a little shorter. There’s a lot of things that go with it. A lot more than I ever knew, but I’m learning. But I think Donnie has embraced it. I think he’s done a pretty good job of it. Certainly, down there in Arizona when we had three or two punts that resulted in two safeties and I think we had three where we got them in there at the minus 4, minus 9, and minus 6 or something. So he’s done a good job with that.”

– Check out the front page story on the reshuffled offensive line for Spagnuolo’s thoughts on how that group fared.

– Back on Wednesday when the team gets back to business.

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Rams Come Up Short

Posted by nickwagoner on November 27, 2011 – 11:12 PM

– It was another game that was there for the taking. In a season in which it seems the Rams have had multiple opportunities slip by, it seemed they finally had one that they could turn around and be the team that comes from behind to win.

– Trailing 20-10 in the fourth quarter, the Rams came up with some big plays – be it MLB James Laurinaitis’ interception, Brandon Lloyd’s touchdown catch, whatever – and everything seemed to be going their way.

“We thought maybe the tide was turning but again Arizona made the plays when it came time they needed a play, they made it,” tackle Adam Goldberg said. “When it came time for us that we needed a play, we weren’t able to execute today.”

– After the Rams knotted it at 20, the Cardinals came right back, buoyed by a 53-yard run from RB Beanie Wells. K Jay Feely followed with a 22-yard field goal to give Arizona a 23-20 lead and eventually the victory. It was another maddeningly close game the Rams just couldn’t find a way to win. More on the game in a moment.

– On the injury front, it appears the Rams came out OK.

Special teams ace Dominique Curry suffered a shoulder injury but was able to finish the game. He will be looked at closer Monday morning.

Safety Darian Stewart had a good game with seven tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss but took a blow to the head and will also be looked at further on Monday.

Linebacker Chris Chamberlain and Miller had hamstring injuries but finished the game. Cornerback Nate Ness had an ankle ailment that will also require more attention.

Linebacker Josh Hull (hamstring), receiver Danario Alexander (hamstring), running back Cadillac Williams (calf) and tackle Mark LeVoir (pectoral) were inactive.

– The game couldn’t have started any better for the Rams as newly signed PR Nick Miller brought back a punt 88 yards for the team’s first return touchdown since 2007. Happy for Miller, who seems like a good guy and who has fought his tail off to get a chance here.

– A shocking turn of events for the run defense. That had been an area of strength in the past month and it all slipped away Sunday.

– Arizona changed what it did, using multiple back sets and looks the Rams hadn’t seen. Although the Rams adjusted, it didn’t matter because before they could adjust, the Cardinals hit a big play. Beanie Wells had runs of 71 and 53 yards. Those huge plays essentially nullify the turnovers the Rams were able to create.

– Congrats to Chris Long on his 10th sack of the season. It’s been a while coming but he’s a premiere player in this league and he’s doing it on a bum ankle. He’s an absolute warrior.

– Another day, another sack for DE Robert Quinn. He’s at five now and continues to flash potential.

– Stewart continues his breakthrough season. Another solid performance with a sack, seven tackles and two tackles for loss in unofficial pressbox statistics.

– Offensively, the Rams again couldn’t find a rhythm though considering its state injury wise, the offensive line didn’t have such a bad day. By no means was Bradford unharmed but that group did pretty well all things considered.

– RB Steven Jackson ran hard but just didn’t have the room to operate and when the team fell behind it was hard to overcome.

– QB Sam Bradford was admittedly frustrated after the game and who could blame him? He missed some throws he normally hits and the silly penalties that continue to kill drives would drive anyone nuts.

“The opportunities that we had to keep ourselves in this game, the opportunities we had to put ourselves ahead and possibly, not close out the game but put the game out of reach,” Bradford said. “To continually hurt ourselves with penalties or negative plays, it just becomes extremely frustrating. I don’t know what to do anymore…I’ve got to continue to try to find ways that helps us eliminate those plays. Because if we eliminate those, I think today would be a totally different ballgame.”

– Punter Donnie Jones is a stand up guy. On the punt Patrick Peterson returned 80 yards  for a touchdown, it was supposed to go out of bounds or at least be outside the hashes. He simply mishit it and Peterson made the Rams pay. But make no mistake, Jones is a great punter and he made a mistake. What says even more about him is how he answered questions and owned it after the game.

– That’ll do it for tonight. Back tomorrow to wrap this one up.


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Rams vs. Cardinals: Running Blog

Posted by nickwagoner on November 27, 2011 – 4:41 PM

Fourth Quarter

– Brown booted a 48-yard field goal to make it 20-13 Arizona with 14:49 to go in the game.

– On the ensuing possession, DT Gibson hit Skelton as he threw forcing the pass to pop in the air and allowing MLB James Laurinaitis to come up with the interception to give it back to the Rams at Arizona’s 37.

– A holding penalty pushed them back 10 yards and set up a third-and-17.

– Bradford hit Kendricks for a gain of 12 to the 32.

– The Rams opted to go for a 50-yard field goal and Brown left it wide right.

– Arizona takes over at its 40.

– DE Robert Quinn picked up a sack as he dropped Skelton for no gain. His fifth of the year.

– That made it third-and-11 and Long ran Skelton down to force another punt.

– After a quick three and out, the Rams got it back as Brady Poppinga forced Wells to fumble and recovered it at Arizona’s 43 to give the Rams new life.

– Bradford had his best throws of the day, hitting Kendricks for a gain of 24 to Arizona’s 16 and following by hitting Lloyd for 16 yards and a touchdown.

– Jackson had a huge blitz pickup to give Bradford time to throw. Brown’s extra point tied it at 20 with 7:46 to play.  

– Arizona started from its 25 and gained 4 on two plays to make it third-and-6.

– Skelton hit Fitzgerald for a gain of 9 and a first down to the 38.

– From there, Wells gashed the Rams again as he broke a 53-yard run to the Rams’ 9 with 6:02 to play.

– Two plays gained nothing for Arizona to setup third-and-goal at the 9.

– Skelton hit Fitzgerald for a agin of 5 to setup Feely’s 22-yard field goal attempt. He converted to make it 23-20 Arizona with 4:09 to go.

– The Rams couldn’t pick up a first down and punted it back to Arizona, which took over at its 27.

– Skelton hit Stephens-Howling for a gain of 14 yards and a first down.

– Arizona in good position now with 2:55 to go.

– On third-and-4 at the Rams’ 48, Stephens-Howling picked up 5 yards and the first down.

– Arizona ran it out for a 23-20 win.

Third Quarter

– Arizona began from its 20 and got down the field quickly as Skelton finally connected with Fitzgerald for a 41-yard gain to the Rams’ 23.

– But the Cardinals lost 10 yards on a holding call and had to settle for Feely’s 37-yard field goal to make it 10-6 Rams with 9:38 to go in the third.

– The Rams started from their 10 and got a quick first down on Jackson’s 11-yard run.

– On third-and-9 from there, Bradford hit Pettis for a gain of 8 but came up short on the measurement.

– Jones punted to Peterson and he bit the Rams again, returning the punt 80 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-10 Cardinals with 2:56 to go in the third.

– The Rams start again from their 21.

– Bradford hit Pettis for a gain of 35 to Arizona’s 32.

– The Rams have third-and-8 at the 30 trailing 20-10 at the end of three.

– Rams started from their 27 but gave it right back to Arizona after Kendricks coughed up a fumble that Acho recovered. The Cards take ovaer at the Rams’ 28.

– The Cards lost 3 yards on the first two plays to make it third and 13.

– Skelton took off running and picked up the first down to the Rams’ 18.

– Wells went for 7 to the 11 and then picked up another first down on a 4-yard carry to the 7.

– Wells punched it in from 7 yards out to give Arizona its first lead of the day at 13-10 with 5:54 to go in the third.

Second Quarter

– An illegal formation penalty negated a first down pass and the Rams went three and out again.

– Arizona gets it back at its 12.

– The Cardinals began moving again on the strength of Wells, who ripped off a pair of runs for 20 yards.

– But two incompletions on second-and-2 forced a punt and the Rams get it back at their 10.

– Jackson ran twice for 11 yards and a first down.

– An incompletion and a false start set up second and 15.

– Bradford dumped it off to Jackson on a screen for a 1-yard gain.

– On third-and-14, he found Jackson again but only for a gain of 7 and the Rams had to punt again.

– Arizona takes over at its 34.

– The Cards again moved quickly on the strength of Wells’ running but the drive stalled at the Rams’ 39 and the Rams take over at their 20 after the punt went out of the end zone.

– A pair of Jerious Norwood runs gained 14 yards to the 36 at the two minute warning.

– On third-and-4 at the 38, Bradford hit Lloyd for 11 yards for a first down to the Rams’ 49.

– Bradford hit Gibson for 22 to Arizona’s 29.

– He followed by hitting Lloyd for 26 to the Arizona 3.

– A false start penalty pushed the Rams back 5 yards to the 8.

– A 9-yard sack pushed the Rams back again and they had to settle for a field goal attempt.

– Brown hits from 35 yards out to make it 10-3 Rams at the half.

First Quarter

– The Rams received and started from their 20.

– RB Steven Jackson picked up a quick first down, breaking a 19-yard run on second-and-9 to Arizona’s 40.

– Three runs netted 0 yards though and the Rams punted it back to the Cardinals.

– John Skelton and Co. take over at their 27.

– Two Beanie Wells runs picked up 12 yards and a first down to the 39.

– On third-and-9 from the 40, Darian Stewart burst through for a sack and a loss of 7 yards to force a punt.

– Miller, in his first attempt as a Ram, promptly took off the left side and sprinted 88 yards for a touchdown.

– Josh Brown’s extra point made it 7-0 Rams with 9:15 to go in the first quarter.

– On first-and-10 at Arizona’s 34, Skelton overthrew Larry Fitzgerald and it was intercepted by CB Rod Hood.

– Hood returned it 27 yards to Arizona’s 31.

– On first down, the Rams went to the bag of tricks as Brandon Lloyd took it on an end around and threw for Brandon Gibson in the end zone. They just missed connecting to set up second down.

– After a 3-yard run by Jackson, Bradford hit Lloyd for a gain of 12 and a first down.

– But disaster struck on the next play as Sam Acho broke through from the left side for a sack and a forced fumble. Arizona took over at its 24.

– That drive went nowhere as Dave Zastudil punted it away again, this time avoiding Miller by booting it out of bounds.

– The Rams get it back at their 25.

– The offense went three and out after a false start opened the drive. Donnie Jones boomed an angled, 49-yard punt and the Cardinals get it back at their 19 after Dominique Curry dropped Peterson for a loss.

– Arizona’s drive started inauspiciously as DE Chris Long broke through for his 10th sack of the season, giving him one in five straight contests. Long and his father Howie become the second father/son combo (the Matthews family) to hit double digits in sack.

– On the next play, Wells broke through with a 71-yard run down the left sideline. Gordy saved a touchdown and the Cardinals had to settle for a field goal to make it 7-3 with under a minute to go.

– The Rams start again at their 24.

– They have a second-and-8 at their 26 at the end of the first, leading 7-3.

Pregame Notes

– Greetings from the Edward Jones Dome where the Rams and Cardinals and preparing for today’s rematch only three weeks after the Rams dropped an overtime decision to Arizona.

– This time, the game is back at the dome and the Rams find themselves looking for a bit of revenge.

– Of course, it’s not going to be easy for a Rams team that is now banged up as much as it has been all year.

– Inactives for today: T Mark LeVoir, WR Danario Alexander, G Bryan Mattison, LB Josh Hull, LB Ben Leber, RB Cadillac Williams, DT Justin Bannan.

– The Rams’ revampled OL will probably look like this (from left tackle to right): Adam Goldberg, Jacob Bell, Tony Wragge, Jason Brown, Harvey Dahl.

– Dahl hasn’t played tackle since his early days in Atlanta but he’s going to get his shot today.

– With Bannan out, Gary Gibson likely to take his place in starting lineup. Don’t be shocked to see James Hall in there a bit with Robert Quinn on the field more often.

– Newly signed Nick Miller will probably handle return duties. Austin Pettis is active after battling a knee injury but he’ll probably be used exclusively as a receiver, namely in the slot.

– Lance Kendricks is cleared and ready to go at TE.

– Arizona inactives: QB Kevin Kolb, WR Stephen Williams, FS Kerry Rhodes, FB Reagan Maui’a, LB Joey Porter, T D’Anthony Batiste, TE Rob Housler.

– The Rams are wearing gold pants with blue jerseys today.

– Stay tuned for updates throughout the game.

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OT Jason Smith Placed on Injured Reserve

Posted by nickwagoner on November 25, 2011 – 7:38 PM

– The Rams made it official with RT Jason Smith on Friday, placing him on injured reserve and ending his season with lingering concussion symptoms.

– Smith suffered the injury against Dallas on Oct. 23 and has been unable to get back up to speed since. It’s his second serious, season ending concussion in three years.

“We are going to make sure that we do everything possible to do the right thing, get him with the right people,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I think we’ve done that to this point but it just seemed like the right thing to do right now.”

– The loss of Smith had been expected after he was unable to pass exertion tests in recent weeks.

– In his place, the Rams have signed OL Bryan Mattison from Baltimore’s practice squad.

– Mattison is the son of current Michigan DC Greg Mattison. He played collegiately at Iowa and came into the league as a DE before moving to the O line in 2009.

– As for this week’s offensive line arrangement, Spagnuolo continues not to tip his hand though he’s acknowledged there will probably be some moving pieces.

– On the injury front:

– DT Justin Bannan (shoulder) will almost certainly be out this week.

– At receiver, the Rams have some gametime decisions coming with Danario Alexander (hamstring) and Austin Pettis (knee).

– Alexander didn’t do much on Friday and it looks like it will be tough to get him to the game.

– Pettis is feeling better than Alexander and did more and is more likely to be available.

– Spagnuolo said both would be evaluated up to gametime.

– It’s possible Nick Miller will be involved as a wideout and almost certain he’ll handle some return duties.

– MLB James Laurinaitis got most of the work Friday but he seems set to go on Sunday.

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Clayton to Injured Reserve, Rams Bring Back Miller

Posted by nickwagoner on November 24, 2011 – 6:55 PM

– The Rams made another roster move on Thursday morning, this time it wasn’t at cornerback but at the other position that seems to be hit with injuries the most: wide receiver.

– Veteran Mark Clayton, who just came off the Physically Unable to Perform list two weeks ago, was placed on injured reserve after it was determined he just couldn’t make it through the season.

– Clayton had been plagued by myriad issues in his return from knee surgery including soreness in his Achilles and his knee. He was limited in practice Wednesday but the Rams simply couldn’t get him up to full health to be a contributor on a regular basis this season.

“He was really in pain,” Spagnuolo said. “I could see that he was. I had a talk with him. He’s really been struggling. The knee that he had surgery on has been giving him a hard time. The other knee, he is starting to feel too.”

– Spagnuolo said the decision came down to having a scope on one or both knees that would have kept Clayton out five to six weeks, which would bring you to the end of the season.

“I really considered the player,” Spagnuolo said. “So we are going to put him on I.R. We are going to lose Mark Clayton. He understands. He toughed it out as long as he could.”

– Clayton had three catches for 26 yards last week.

– In his place, the Rams brought back receiver/returner Nick Miller. Miller was with the Rams early in the season but let go.

– The Rams will again have questions at receiver this week with other injuries involved. Danario Alexander (hamstring) and Austin Pettis (knee) have been limited in practice, leaving Brandon Gibson, Brandon Lloyd and Dominique Curry as the only healthy options.

– On the injury front:

Did Not Participate: DT Justin Bannan (shoulder), LB Josh Hull (hamstring), RT Jason Smith (head) and T Mark LeVoir (pec/illness)
Limited Participation: WR Alexander, LB James Laurinaitis (foot), DE Chris Long (ankle), WR  Pettis, RB Cadillac Williams (calf).

– Rams are hopeful that all of the limited participants will be available this week.

– No firm decisions have been made on the offensive line for this week yet but Spagnuolo said he believes that plenty of guys will have to be ready to play multiple positions.

– That’s all for today. Be sure to check out the front page story on Laurinaitis. Some interesting insight into what makes him tick.

– Thanks for reading and happy Thanksgiving.

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Rams Lose Another Corner, Add Tackle

Posted by nickwagoner on November 23, 2011 – 3:02 PM

– The Rams made another roster move late Tuesday as yet another cornerback suffered a season ending injury.

– This time, it’s cornerback Marquis Johnson who is headed to injured reserve after he suffered a lacerated spleen in the game against Seattle last week.

– Johnson had what was originally called a bruised abdominal muscle but was in the hospital overnight on Monday before finding out how serious the injury ws.

– The addition of Johnson means the Rams now have six, count ’em six, cornerbacks on the injured reserve list. He’s the 10th to have spent time on that list at some point this season though four others have been on there and been subsequently released or received an injury settlement.

– Johnson had been playing in the nickel since returning from knee and shoulder surgeries after spending the first six weeks of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

– In Johnson’s stead, the Rams signed offensive tackle Thomas Welch from Buffalo’s practice squad.

– At 6’7, 310 pounds, Welch is a former seventh-round pick of New England and has also spent time in Minnesota.

– With Rodger Saffold out for the season and Mark LeVoir nursing a pectoral injury that will likely keep him out two to four weeks, Welch instantly becomes a candidate to start this week. Rookie Kevin Hughes played last week when LeVoir was hurt but nothing has been determined yet for this week.

– In addition, the Rams added cornerback Kendric Burney to the practice squad.

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Wrapping Up Seattle

Posted by nickwagoner on November 21, 2011 – 9:50 PM

– Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo just wrapped up his weekly Monday afternoon news conference and discussed all that happened in Sunday’s 24-7 loss to the Seahawks.

– First, on the injury front:

– Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis had a sore foot when he woke up Monday morning and Spagnuolo said the sides would be proactive about finding out the source of the problem.

– “He’s going to go over and get an MRI and make sure we are not sitting on anything there,” Spagnuolo said. “He kind of toughs things out but we are just going to be careful.”

– Tight end Lance Kendricks had a mild concussion and Spagnuolo said he is hopeful he’ll be available by Thursday at the latest after going through the normal rounds of testing.

– Defensive tackle Justin Bannan has a sore shoulder and had an MRI, of which the results are not yet available.  

– As expected, linebacker Josh Hull aggravated his hamstring injury early in Sunday’s game and will be out this week.

– Cornerback Marquis Johnson has what is being termed a “bruised abdominal” muscle and is in the hospital tonight as a precautionary measure. More will be known tomorrow.

– Fellow corner Justin King came out of the game OK on his sprained ankle but had some swelling in his knee. He had an MRI that looked OK but he’ll be day to day this week.

– Receivers Austin Pettis and Mark Clayton also had sore knees. They’ll be limited and watched day to day also. 

– End Chris Long has a sore ankle but also seems to have come out of the game OK.

– As for previously injured running back Cadillac Williams (calf), tackle Jason Smith (concussion) and receiver Danario Alexander (hamstring), Spagnuolo said they were about the same and nothing seemed imminent for a return.

– T Mark LeVoir has a grade one strained pectoral which will keep him out two to four weeks. Spagnuolo said the Rams will need to make a move to add more depth at tackle this week.

– On the game, Spagnuolo didn’t have much to add from Sunday’s game.

– Spagnuolo said the Rams believed they had the opportunity to take advantage of some matchup things by going with an empty backfield but it just didn’t work out.

“I thought that was the right way to go at the beginning,” Spagnuolo said. “We had some periods there where we were…a lot goes to that. It’s not just the protection. The receivers have to get open and separated. If they choose to play man you have to separate a little bit. You do certain things scheme wise to get open on that. We came out in the second half with the same approach and we we’re moving the ball down field. I forget what happened at the end. Did we end up punting? Somebody will remember in here, but we we’re driving the ball at the first drive of the second half with the same approach that we had at the beginning of the game.”

– It was a rough day for QB Sam Bradford, who was hit quite a bit behind a patchwork offensive line. But Spagnuolo says he doesn’t worry about Bradford becoming “gun shy.”

“I don’t think he’ll get gun shy, but you always worry about your quarterback getting hit,” Spagnuolo said. “We’re trying not to do that. He doesn’t want that either.”

– Spagnuolo was again pleased with what he saw from the defense, which held Seattle under 300 yards, had four sacks and a pair of interceptions.

“I do,” Spagnuolo said. “I thought the defense was gritty yesterday. Obviously, the play at the end of the half that we gave up kind of sticks there. The last touchdown, again I thought we got a little aggressive, but I’m still not so sure in hindsight it wasn’t the right thing to do. You really can’t afford to have them get a field goal. They called the right play at the right time. Then there was one other play in there defensively, certainly the touchdown, the slant or whatever…overall you come out in the first two drives, you get two interceptions and I thought for the most part they played the run game pretty good except for that last run and a couple here and there. I thought the D-line, I thought played aggressive.”

– The Rams have the mandatory NFL day off tomorrow and get back to work on Wednesday with Arizona coming to town this week.

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Rams Struggle to Find Rhythm

Posted by nickwagoner on November 21, 2011 – 1:53 AM

– The Rams fell to Seattle 24-7 on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome in a loss that didn’t seem like it was going to come considering the way the Rams started the contest.

– For four consecutive weeks, the Rams have received a strong defensive performance. The offense and special teams did enough to provide the points to get wins in two of those games. On Sunday, there simply wasn’t enough, though.

– Make no mistake, it’s a team game and everyone must contribute but as QB Sam Bradford and coach Steve Spagnuolo said after the game, by hook or by crook, they have to find a way to put more points on the board.

– Before we dive into that, a quick rundown of the injuries:

– Defensive end Chris Long suffered an ankle injury in the first half but was able to finish the game.

– Llinebacker Josh Hull aggravated his hamstring injury early in the proceedings and also did not return.

– Tight end Lance Kendricks took a blow to the head late in the game and also did not return.

– LT Mark LeVoir, starting in place of Rodger Saffold, who was placed on injured reserve with a torn pectoral, suffered a right shoulder injury early on that kept him out the rest of the game.

– Receiver Austin Pettis took a shot to the knee and was in and out for the rest of the game. Cornerback Marquis Johnson was hit in the ribs and defensive tackle Justin Bannan injured his shoulder.

– All of those injuries will be revisited on Monday to determine severity.

– Back to the game, let’s start with the positive and the defense.

– Great start despite the trick play early on.

– LB Chris Chamberlain continues to impress. He made his first career interception Sunday in the same week in which he became a father. Nice week for Chambo, who is a solid young player and a really good guy.

– Nice to see a big play from S Quintin Mikell. His early interception was a big one and led directly to the Rams’ only touchdown of the game.

– The pass rush continues to be very good. The Seahawks threw everything at Long and he still managed to break through multiple times to generate pressure. Congrats to him on his career high ninth sack.

– Rookie DE Robert Quinn continues to emerge. He picked up his fourth sack of the season and got a piece of a punt. He’s becoming a full on weapon on special teams.

– MLB James Laurinaitis was all over the place. He had 13 tackles in unofficial pressbox statistics.

– Another strong game from S Darian Stewart. He had eight tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry. He’s my vote for Most Improved Ram this year.

– Elsewhere, there wasn’t as much going on.

– QB Sam Bradford discussed what the offense saw on tape of the Seahawks and noted that teams had great success going empty backfield and deploying four and five wide receiver sets. Unfortunately for the Rams, they couldn’t take advantage.

– With so many moving parts and Kevin Hughes forced into action at LT, the Rams never found a rhythm after Bradford found Brandon Lloyd for a 30-yard touchdown early in the game.

– Hughes did his best in a tough spot. Chris Clemons is one of the league’s best pass rushers and he gives everyone fits. Hughes will be better for it. After the game, Spagnuolo acknowledged the Rams will need to look for additional outside help at that position, though, particularly if LeVoir’s injury is anything that will keep him out awhile.

– Tough sledding in the run game today. Seattle loaded up to stop RB Steven Jackson and was successful. Everyone loads up to stop him. Few do it. Tip of the cap to the Seahawks.

– Not the best day for special teams, either as P Donnie Jones had a couple of punts returned for big gains by Leon Washington.

– PR Austin Pettis, who has done a good job of stepping in recently, erroneously fielded a punt at the 1 that helped swing field position.

– Pass interference is obviously the most subjective call in the NFL. But it’s still hard to understand what is and is not going to get called right now.

– Bradford says he’s as frustrated as he’s ever been in his career and isn’t sure how to get out of the hole though he says that won’t keep him from trying…

“I’m beyond frustrated right now,” Bradford said. “I have never been a part of a team that has been in this situation. I don’t like it. I hope this is the only time in my career I am in a situation like this. I do know this: there’s six games left, I am going to continue to work as hard as I can to do everything I can to help this team win. I’m not going to quit. I’m going to push our guys to continue to work and I think that’s all we can do right now. It’s not what we had envisioned at the beginning of the year but that doesn’t mean because we are 2-8 right now, we can give up. There’s no excuses. We have got to continue to fight and we have got to figure out a way to win games.”

– That’s all for this evening. Back tomorrow to wrap this one up before we dig into the rematch with Arizona for next weekend.


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Rams vs. Seahawks: Running Blog

Posted by nickwagoner on November 20, 2011 – 7:45 PM

Fourth Quarter

– Clayton took his first punt return opportunity to watch as a long punt sailed over his head for a touchback. The Rams start again at their 20 and must get something going now.

– The Rams quickly went three and out again, punting back to Seattle at its 35.

– The Seahawks started from their 40 after a 5-yard penalty was enforced for an illegal man downfield.

– Justin Forsett scored from 22 yards out to make it 24-7 Seattle with 4:21 to play.

– Bradford was hit and fumbled late, Seattle recovered at the Rams’ 39.

– That would do it for the scoring as Seattle ran the ball and ran out the clock.

– The Seahawks win it 24-7 and improve to 4-6. The Rams fall to 2-8 with the loss.

Third Quarter

– The Rams started from their 20 and finally got a drive going as they went to the no huddle.

– Bradford hit Gibson for gains of 10 and 11 before connecting with Lloyd for 14 more.

– But the drive died at Seattle’s 38 and Jones punted to pin the Seahawks at their 6.

– After a first down, Seattle had to punt from its 23, giving it back to the Rams at their 33.

– An illegal contact penalty netted 5 yards but Bradford was hit and fumbled on second down before Roy Lewis recovered it at the Rams’ 25.

– Seattle took advantage as Lynch punched it in from 3 yards out to make it 17-7 Seattle with 5:58 to go in the third.

– The Rams started again from their 20 in serious need of a long drive and some points.

– They picked up a first down as Bradford sneaked for 1 yard on third and 1.

– On another third and 1 at the 39, Bradford threw incomplete and the Seahawks have it back at their 16.

– The Rams got a stop after one first down and the Rams will get it back to start the fourth.

Second Quarter

– Quinn picked up his fourth sack of the season, dropping Jackson for a 9 yard loss to force another Seattle punt.

– Chris Long was shaken up on the play and limped off.

– The Rams get it back at their 9 as Austin Pettis fielded a punt at his own 1 and gained 8 on the return.

– The Rams moved the chains as Bradford hit Gibson for a gain of 10 on third and 7.

– An unnecessary roughness penalty on Stephen Spach and a false start nullified that, though, making it second and 26 at the 5.

– Another low line drive punt from Jones allowed Washington to shake loose again, giving Seattle a first down at the Rams’ 40 on a return of 25 yards.

– Seattle took advantage this time as Lynch finally got some room for a 10-yard run and Jackson hit Rice for a 14-yard touchdown to tie it at 7 with 8:36 to go in the first half.

– The Rams started from their 20 but couldn’t get anything going again as they continue to struggle to move the ball.

– LeVoir was replaced by Hughes on the first play as LeVoir has a shoulder injury. His return is questionable.

– Seattle has more good field position at the Rams’ 47 to start the drive.

– A key unnecessary roughness penalty after a 15 yard gain pushed Seattle back to its 41 and Stewart picked up a sack for a loss of 8 to make it third and 32.

– The Rams got the stop but need some yards to get a little breathing room and rhythm as they start again from their 9.

– Bradford hit Clayton for 12 yards and a first down on second down to the 22.

– On third-and-12 from the 20, Bradford hit Lloyd down the left sideline for a gain of 16 but Seattle challenged whether Lloyd controlled it.

– The call was reversed and called incomplete. Seattle gets it back at its 30.

– Seattle moved into Rams territory on the strength of a 35-yard completion to Doug Baldwin on third-and-2 to the Rams’ 27.

– Two incompletions there set up a third-and-10 at the Rams’ 27.

– A 12 yard run by Lynch gave Seattle a first down but it got shoved back by a 12-yard sack from Quinn.

– A pass interference call against King gave Seattle a first and goal at the 1 but with three second left, the Seahawks opted for a 19-yard field goal from Steven Hauschka. He converted to make it 10-7 Seattle at the half.

First Quarter

– Seattle received to start the game. The hawks start from their 15.

– They started with some trickery as WR Sidney Rice came on a reverse, stopped and threw a perfect deep ball to Mike Williams for a gain of 55 to the Rams’ 30.

– But the Rams ended that drive right away as Chris Chamberlain stepped in front of a pass from Tarvaris Jackson for an interception to give it to the Rams at their 29.

– The Rams picked up a first down as Bradford hit Gibson for a gain of 6 on third and 1.

– The drive ended as Jackson was stopped for a gain of 2 on third-and-4 at midfield.

– The punt went for a touchback and Seattle takes over at its 20.

– Two plays later, Brandon Lloyd came clean down the right sideline for a 30-yard touchdown.

– The Rams lead it 7-0 with 9:15 to go in the first quarter.

– The defense promptly got another stop behind the work of S Darian Stewart, who came up with a tackle for a 4 yard loss.

– On the ensuing punt, DE Robert Quinn broke through and got a piece of the kick, giving the Rams good field position at their 42.

– The Rams went three and out, though, giving it back to Seattle at its 23.

– The defense got it done again, coming up with another three and out to get it back for the offense at the Rams’ 38.

– The Rams couldn’t get anything going again as Mark Clayton made his first catch since his return for a gain of 6 yards. But that was it and the Rams punted again.

– Washington burned the Rams with a big return back to Seattle’s 49 to give the Hawks good field position. The return went 37 yards.

– A sack by James Hall for a loss of 11 at the end of the first quarter sends this one into the second frame with the Rams leading 7-0 and Seattle with a third-and-24 at its 45.

Pregame Notes

– Greetings from the Edward Jones Dome where the Rams and Seahawks preparing for today’s 3:05 kickoff.

– The Rams were hit again by the injury bug Friday and made the news official on Saturday as LT Rodger Saffold is going to miss the rest of the season because of a torn pectoral injury. He suffered the injury lifting weights on Friday. He’ll need surgery and has been placed on injured reserve.

– Rookie T/G Kevin Hughes replaces him on the roster. The Rams like Hughes’ potential and he’ll be one of the first in line should anything happen to Mark LeVoir, who replaces Saffold in the starting lineup.

– CB Justin King will be active today after suffering an ankle sprain in practice on Thursday. He’s expected to start with Josh Gordy on the other side and Marquis Johnson at nickel.

– The Rams’ inactives: WR Danario Alexander (hamstring), T Jason Smith (concussion), RB Cadillac Williams (calf), CB Nate Ness, LB Justin Cole, LB Ben Leber, DT Darell Scott.

– Seattle’s inactives: QB Josh Portis, WR Deon Butler, SS Atari Bigby, CB Ron Parker, T James Carpenter, T Jarriel King and DE Anthony Hargrove.

– The Rams are wearing the blue on blue today.

– Today is also Military Appreciation Day at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams will honor local military throughout the game.

– Stay tuned for updates throughout the game.

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