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Rams Buried In The Desert

Posted By Chaz Ingram On Nov 7 2011 @ 3:56 pm In St. Louis Rams | No Comments

 

[1]The St. Louis Rams went into Arizona for a game against the Cardinals on Sunday looking to springboard off of last week’s thrilling victory over the New Orleans Saints. Instead the Rams took a leap backward in going down in defeat to the lowly Cardinals 19-13 in overtime. This loss is disappointing for several reasons, the Rams had great momentum after last week’s win over a formidable foe, QB Sam Bradford was returning after a two game hiatus and last but not least the way the Rams managed to lose the game.
[2]

Rams' QB Sam Bradford had 0 TD's and one interception in his return against the Cardinals

 

With an opportunity to win it in regulation the Rams’ usually reliable kicker, Josh Brown, who had kicked 3 previous field goals

[3]

Arizona's Calais Campbell gets a hug from teammate Darnell Dockett after his blocked field goal.

in the game, had his field goal attempt blocked by 6’8” Calais Campbell sending the game into overtime. The Rams got the first possession of overtime and was able to get a first down on a 15 yard run by Steven Jackson. They went three and out after that and was forced to punt. On the ensuing punt Rams’ punter Donnie Jones thought he did his job when he pinned the ball inside the Cardinals’ 10 yard line. Everything was right about the punt, except one thing, Cardinals’ rookie Patrick Peterson, who caught the ball at the one yard line, outraced everybody to the end zone for a 99 yard punt return and score. Jones had pinned the Cardinals inside their 10 yard line on two previous occasions that ultimately forced two safeties.

After being in control for most of the game the punt return took the air out of the Rams and left them wondering what happened. “It is probably the toughest loss I’ve had since I’ve been in the league,” said Rams’ QB Sam Bradford, who returned after a two game hiatus.  The Rams (36:58) had the ball for nearly twelve minutes longer than the Cardinals (24:59) but was unable to punch the ball into the end zone on either of their possessions. Kicker Josh Brown kicked field goals of 48, 37 and 41 yards. The Rams’ other four points came on the two safeties.

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Rams' kicker Josh Brown kicks one of his three field goals against the Cardinals on Sunday

Other than the final score the game plan worked perfectly for the Rams. The hard nose running of Steven Jackson, who rushed for 130 yards in the game, opened things up for the Rams downfield as planned. Bradford passed for 255 yards.  Despite the total passing yards the Rams were unable to get into the end zone based in part on bad play calling by the coaches. On third and one from Arizona’s 33 yard line Rams’ head coach Steve Spagnuolo called for a run and Jackson was stopped. Spagnuolo decided to go for it on fourth and one and again Jackson was stopped short of the first down and the Cardinals took over on downs. The Cardinals had been stacking the line all day by putting seven or eight men on the line. Poor execution is also to blame for the Rams’ loss (ala, the blocked punt and 99 yd. punt return.)  Four sacks on Bradford and an interception surely did help the Rams cause.  Bradford had 0 tocuhdowns in the game. 

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Arizona's Patrick Peterson returns punt for winning TD against the Rams

At the end of the day the Rams will point to Peterson’s punt return for a TD as the straw that broke the camel’s back. With that TD Peterson became the first player in NFL history to have three punt returns for scores in his first eight games. And oh, by the way, that interception by Bradford was made by Peterson. After being the team to beat in the NFC West after a 4-0 preseason the Rams are once again flirting with disaster in the regular season. And after an impressive win over the Saints last week Rams’ fans were once again coaxed into thinking that the ship had reversed its course. Unfortunately that is not the case and the Rams are still in search of on and off field leadership. There is still plenty of football to be played. Let’s see what happens in the second half of the season.

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