This is a new Rams team. We haven't seen a Rams team play inspired football - for four quarters - in a long, long time.
Need proof that things have changed for the better? Look no further than the drive, the game winning drive. As soon as Washington's Clinton Portis pushed it for a TD, after just nine plays, I started to get that old familiar feeling, the same one you got in the last game when the Rams went into the half leading the Bills, the same that kept popping up again and again last season when the Rams would blow a lead. And let's face it, the way the offense played today, the odds of success weren't great. But they came right out, got a quick first down, and then converted a 3rd and 13 with a sweet pass to Donnie Avery, the kind of play we envisioned for the speedy second round draft choice since, well, the draft.
The Rams had the momentum. When was the last time you remember that happening before today?
The stupid Incognito penalty made me wince - but you can't fault them for finally having some intensity. It took some of the success percentage out of the field goal, but not enough to make you seriously worry - well, maybe... And the Rams pull out their first win of the season.
There was a lot to like today. The defense created and took advantage of turnovers, a must for underdogs, and used one to get a TD, giving the struggling offense a boost. The offense, which didn't impress much of the game, pulled it together for an impressive drive. And although the Skins made yards on the ground hard to come by, the Rams still got Steven Jackson the ball to stay alive. They looked lost at times, but I still have to give the offense credit for not turning over the ball. Bulger hasn't played in three weeks. And the line kept him off his back. Granted the Skins aren't the Giants when it comes to sacks, but Jason Taylor back in their lineup would have meant trouble for the line in the first four games of this season.
And the defense... left on the field for a lot of time in the first half, they made it game. LB Pisa Tinoisamoa looked like a new man, speeding around the field, making nice tackles and even picking up a sack. Chris Long had a nice game as well, still showing the occasional rookie mistake but coming right back to contribute, even jumping on a fumble. The reconfigured secondary allowed just 5 pass plays of 15 yards or more, the longest being a 28 pass to Cooley and a 29 yarder to Randle El. No getting snuck behind for a long completion into the end zone. Hell, Craft and Manning each had a sack on the day.
There's a lot more to say, but for now, let's savor the moment. We've earned it.