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My NFL Gameday Experience - ST. LOUIS RAMS vs New England Patriots 28th October 2012

"Wow, that was tough to watch..."

Yep, the final words I said to a Patriots fan, of all people, before I got up out of my seat and headed home. I suppose it didn't help that I was surrounded by A LOT of them where I was sitting, but guess I only have myself to blame for being such a cheap bastard and getting a ticket to what's commonly known as "The Nosebleed Seats" (AKA "Up Near The Gods").

"Wasn't tough for me to watch..!" he replied. Hmm - wonder if I could have got away with starting a riot at the end of the game, so that people would forget how piss-poor the Rams played. But no - I don't think even a nuclear war at that very moment would have made people forget how excruciatingly bad the Rams had played. We would have taken it with us into the Afterlife...

Anyhoo, I got to the stadium at 2.30pm (UK time), freezing my nuts off outside the entrance waiting to get in. Got a bit of a result beforehand, when a couple of guys were giving away Rams flags. Everyone - and I mean, EVERYONE - was grabbing one, two, three, even more. I was standing next to a couple of 49er fans who had a bundle of them, for fuck's sake - 49ER FANS WITH RAMS STUFF!!! DON'T THESE PEOPLE REALISE WE HATE EACH OTHER???

There were a lot of different supported team jerseys being worn by people just grateful to the NFL for the Gameday Experience in the UK - Bears, Falcons, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Steelers, Redskins, Cowboys - the list was endless. I even saw a Browns jersey being worn - what the fuck? Then again, we all knew that this was not gonna be a regular "Home" game for the Rams - right guys?

After getting into my seat (and getting closer to the Gods), I immediately turned my thoughts to Wembley itself. First time at the "new" Wembley - nearly £800 million spent on the stadium, and no retractable roof. Yep, all that money, and the players were gonna get soaked. Where I'm from (Cardiff, Wales), we have the Millenium Stadium - £127 million, holds 16,000 less people than Wembley, and yet - IT HAS A RETRACTABLE ROOF. Honestly guys, I've been to the Edward Jones Dome, and although it was during leaner times than the Rams are currently going through (AKA "The Linehan Years"), the dome is nothing compared to a "Wales vs England" rugby game with the Millenium Stadium roof closed - the place is like a fiery cauldron. Anyway, I digress - I was just happy to be sitting and waiting for the evening's entertainment, and the possibility (yes, I thought it too) of a Rams win (and, at this time, my heart went out to Doug - if I had known beforehand that you couldn't have made the game bud, I'd have taken copies of your book and sold them overpriced, like everything else at Wembley - split the money 50-50).

After the band played (who's name I didn't quite catch, but there were many people around asking "Who?"), it was onto the fun and games - oh, I forgot - when the Rams were warming up, there were neither cheers or boos. But when the Patriots came out - they elicited a response, a couple of cheers drowned out by A LOT of boos. Was loving this crowd already, but disappointed that it was due to the fact that there were many spectators there who just wanted to see New England lose, and Tom Brady to fall flat on his ass at every snap.

Music - done. Anthems - done. LET'S GET THIS GAME GOING!!!

Without going into every single play or possession time, these are my own personal thoughts on what I was watching...

- The TD pass from Bradford to Givens was possibly the best throw I've ever seen from Sam. The way he managed to get the ball to CG13, by dissecting NE's secondary, was a work of art. It was that good a throw, as good as any QB in the NFL.

- It was about this time (yes, two minutes into the game) where I thought that this could be an old-fashioned shootout, and that the Rams were gonna give the Pats a run for their money. Hmm...

- How wrong I was. Brady and Gronk were on point from the very first Patriots possession, like Donald Driver and whoever his dance partner was on "Dancing With The Stars". They were that good. Our D? Umm...

- Typical. The one time I get to see the Rams play in person, and our defense (and later on, our offense) decided to take the next 58 minutes off. It was that bad. Craig Dahl was nowhere near anyone - it was if he let the receivers catch the ball, just to see if he could chase them down. He did, but only after a 20-40 yard completion.

- Sam still holds on to the ball too long sometimes, and for good reason - he misses Danny Amendola out on the field. When Danny A isn't about, Sam sometimes finds it difficult to home in on someone else. Not a criticism as such, but when Danny (and, for a short while, Givens) isn't available? Let's just say that Brady would have the same problem if Gronk and Welker were injured at the same time too. Be thanful for Amendola coming back - the guy has been SEVERELY missed...

- I don't know what's happened to our secondary since the first three games this season. Have Finnegan and Jenkins let all the hype and plaudits they first received go to their head? Possibly. And Cortland was targeted a lot during this game.

- Brady was not pressured ONCE all game. No blitzes, no pressure, nothing. Brady, Gronk, Welker and Lloyd were all singing in unison from the old Louis Armstrong classic, "We Have All The Time In The World"...even their RB's got in on the action. Our D has taken a battering the past couple of games. It's almost as if they, and in fact the whole Rams team, had the wind knocked out of them from the Dolphins' defeat.

When the other scores were being shown on the screens throughout the game, the biggest cheer BY FAR was the destruction of the Jets by the Dolphins - people couldn't get enough of seeing Miami's lead get bigger and bigger every clip shown...

- Hate to say this, but Steven Jackson is gone from this team. Whether it's in the next few days, or the end of the season, I cannot see him as a Ram in 2013. Daryl Richardson may not be as good a blocker (yet), but damn, that guy's explosive..! He's like S-Jax before injuries took their toll. Even supporters of other teams could see what talent and potential D-Rich has.

- Yes, the Pats scored every time they got the ball. Whether it was due to our own ineptitude (penalties, fake punts), or due to them being so much better than us, the game was over as a contest at the end of the first half. Felt sorry for the Rams stadium announcer, who tried to thrill the crowd by announcing "Rams first down!" as excitingly as possible, when we were down by shitloads of points.

I'm sure there's a lot I've missed out on saying, but it was tough to watch in person. To see everyone around me get up and cheer and clap whenever New England either got long yardage or a TD (but, to be fair, everyone else booed their asses off whenever New England were in a third down situation), it was painful. That was the worst I've seen the Rams play in a long time - even during the Spagnuolo and Linehan years, I don't think I can remember both offense and defense not showing up in the same game. Just my luck that I had to witness it in person...

But, as I took the long four hour drive home, I thought to myself one thing - I wouldn't have missed it for the world! Thanks for reading guys.

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