Road trips used to be journey into futility for the St. Louis Rams. Winning has been pretty rare for the Rams for the last few years anyway, but even the 2010 team that went 7-9 only won twice on the road. Sunday's win in Tampa Bay was the Rams third road win this season, third consecutive road win. And the Rams haven't lost in their last four road games. It's a testament to just how far things have moved forward for a reborn squad. Best of all, it portends better days ahead.
Bernie Miklasz shared one of the starkest facts about the Rams' road record:
Between 2007-2011, the Rams went 7-33 on the road for a .175 winning pct. The 7-33 was the worst road record in the league over the past five seasons. To put that into sharper context: between 2007 and 2011, the NFL had 22 franchises win at least 15 road games.
The Rams last won three road games in a season since 2006. The last time St. Louis won three consecutive road games was 2003, which was also the last season the Rams had a winning record.
So what, right? The Rams won three on the road in 2006, but really started to slide the next year.
This is true, but that Rams team was in a very different situation than this one. The roster was getting older, trying to keep the GSOT components humming along. The rest of the roster was filled with the repercussions of poor drafting. Super stars and scrubs, there was nothing in the middle.
The 2012 Rams are starting a new chapter under Jeff Fisher. The roster is dotted with young talent at key positions. The depth chart has been improved with smart free agent moves and one good draft. Another draft in the year ahead like this year's could really change the talent level on the roster.
Four of the last five games have all ended in wins for the Rams. A Week 15 loss to the Vikings didn't look dramatically different than the four wins, with the late burst of offense, but the defensive mistakes proved to be too costly against a player like Adrian Peterson. Another year and those kinds of things are less apt to happen.
A playoff push always seemed like a stretch this season. I've been saying to keep an eye on how the Rams finish the season, because it's the kind of thing that signals a real turnaround.
I feel pretty good about where the Rams are headed, and I've got three straight road wins to justify it.