Change

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams' 15-12 victory over the Buffalo Bills represents a change in the character of the team, a change that Rams fans have been clamoring for for years.

The Rams' gutted out a 15-12 victory in a defensive battle that represented how different the 2012 Rams are from their recent predecessors.

Go back to 2010. St. Louis didn't gut out many wins, as most of those victories came as a result of racking up early leads (see the Denver game or the San Diego Game) or clamping down on defense throughout (the early Seattle game, the late Arizona game being prime examples). The close games that were really won late? The Rams lost all of them. Week 1 versus Arizona, Week 2 versus Oakland, Week 7 versus Tampa Bay, Week 10 versus San Fran...St. Louis lost all four of those by a total of 10 points.

They weren't the team who could find a way to win.

Last year. The offense was so anemic (and the defense legally obliged to put a cornerback on IR every week), there were too many blowouts to count. But every so often, a close game saw the Rams find a way to lose. Against the Redskins in their fourth game, the Rams had two possessions needing a touchdown to tie the game. It didn't happen. In St. Louis-Arizona I, the Rams led the Cards by a touchdown after three quarters, despite only scoring through three Josh Brown field goals and a pair of safeties. The offense would never score as Larry Fitgerald tied the game under five minutes to go and Patrick Peterson would return a punt 99 yards for the game-winning TD. Three weeks later in the rematch, the Rams would scratch their way to a 20-20 tie with 7:46 remaining. Beanie Wells would run all over the Rams to set up what would be a game-winning field goal since the Rams couldn't convert a 3rd and 1 in their final possession.

They weren't the team who could find a way to win.

This year, the Rams are 5-1 when their opponent scores first. They've won against the Redskins after being down going into the 3rd quarter, against Seattle in a field position and field goal contest, against Arizona on Thursday Night Football with a dominating defensive effort, and are riding a three-game win streak after working the Cardinals, eking out an impressive win over the 49ers and a last minute grab in Buffalo.

They aren't the team who can't find a way to win.

Now don't misunderstand. The Rams have lost six games, and the offense has serious issues. And no, I still have no answer for whatever happened in London. But the bottom line is that football games and seasons are a manifestation of the quality of work put in by the front office, coaching staff and roster. That the Rams are winning games (and winning games that they aren't winning in dominating or impressive fashion) is important...and a bit unusual, as we're not really used to this...

We're not used to having a head coach who isn't fazed by the swings of emotion and passion that go into gameday when doesn't need to be but is capable of summoning the requisite emotion when necessary. More importantly, we're not used to having a head coach who knows the difference.

We're not used to having a draft like we did this year. Hell, most teams aren't. Sure, Isaiah Pead and Brian Quick haven't delivered to this point in their careers, and given where they were taken, that's a bit disappointing. But the Rams hit on Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Chris Givens, Greg Zuerlein and Daryl Richardson and are getting performances from Trumaine Johnson. That's insane. Throw in the fact that this draft class brings the bonus of two additional first round picks in the next two years, and Les Snead could likely quit right now and be the greatest one-year GM in the history of football.

We're not used to having players step up like Austin Pettis, making a crucial 4th down catch. Like Brandon Gibson, who had one catch at halftime, but provided three key receptions on the Rams' first TD drive and a late pair including the game-winning TD. Like Michael Brockers who was a force in the middle of the defensive line, shutting down the Bills' running game and collapsing the pocket with his raw strength.

The team has turned a corner. I know the Rams aren't where we'd all like them to be. But they're on the path, and the only way I know is the results that this team is getting where previous Rams teams couldn't.

After the game, Sam Bradford said:

I think it says a lot about the maturity of the team. I think this team grew up a little bit more today.

He's wrong. They had already grown up before the game. The change had already taken place.

We're just now seeing it have an effect on the field.

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