It wasn't pretty -- it was often even hard to watch -- but the St. Louis Rams' three-game skid came to an end Sunday with an essential win over the downtrodden Jacksonville Jaguars.
Was this a resurgence of attitude and aspirations? Or was the opponent simply too bad for even the Rams to lose against? For now, we'll go with the former. They won and that's what matters. Today, at least.
Then it's back to practice to iron out the still ever-daunting plethora of issues which makes St. Louis a lower-tier football team.
Most fans will agree that talent isn't the biggest concern; it's discipline and it's instinct. Football is a game of field position, which is impossible to obtain when penalties erase every significant return on special teams, but it goes deeper than that. Thus far, not one facet of the game is up to par, and all three coordinators should feel the chagrin of the fan base.
The Rams won't play a winless squad again this season. In fact, they'll next be traveling to the home of a highly-regarded playoff contender, so it's time to step it up. In the meantime, let's talk Rams, with a little positive energy.
Jim Thomas' recap - The Rams scored a whopping 34 points -- their highest total since November of 2010 -- on Sunday, finding the end zone four times in the process. The ground game moved efficiently and the run defense did not get embarrassed. Although they did not score first, St. Louis held the lead at halftime and never lost it. Regardless of the opponent, those should be reasons for optimism.
Defense gives Rams a spark - Positive plays on defense were few and far between during the first quarter of the season, but the unit finally came to life. The Rams made a name for themselves last year with their ability to get after the quarterback and force turnovers. Both traits were on display yesterday. Both James Laurinaitis and safety Matt Giordano came up with interceptions, with the latter taking his all the way for a score. The Rams' defensive front pestered the "Jags"' Blaine Gabbert all afternoon.
A much-needed win - Winning cures all ailments. In many more words, that is Nick Wagoner's sentiment as he recognizes the importance of yesterday's victory. More will be harder to accomplish.
Zac Stacy impresses - There is no longer a question of whether rookie running back Zac Stacy belongs in the lineup. Making not only his first start, but also his first meaningful appearance in a Rams uniform, Stacy has vastly out-shined all other St. Louis ball carriers to this point.
Albeit most of his production came against Jacksonville's poorly ranked defense, but the rookie now has 15 rushes for 82 yards on the season. That's more than half of Daryl Richardson's total of 162 ... on 40 fewer carries.
Bradford gives pregame pep-talk - Taking over for usual pregame speech-giver Chris Long, quarterback Sam Bradford assumed his long-awaited leadership role by lighting a fire under his teammates' rear ends.
Post-game report card - Good news, parents -- the Rams passed, but we recommend an increase in study time. Aside from the big men up front on both sides of the ball -- seriously, the offensive line impressed, too -- much of the team was fairly average. Special teams is still failing and the coaching staff hasn't been much better.
NFL.com Game Center - Review the statistics and relive the highlights from yesterday's contest. For real - there are highlights this time!
Jaguars lose rookie Joeckel - You can never have too much of a good thing. The Jaguars know that better now after, losing two quality offensive lineman in less than a week. Just days after trading their former franchise left tackle, Eugene Monroe, to the Ravens, Jacksonville has lost second-overall pick Luke Joeckel to a season ending ankle injury.
Seahawks fall to 4-1 in Indy - Danny Kelly from Field Gulls discusses the Seattle Seahawks' first loss of 2013. Pete Carroll's squad came close to a loss last week, but their record now finally has a blemish. At least their punter, Jon Ryan, can take a hit. Sort of.
Cardinals shut down Cam Newton - Don't look now, but the Arizona Cardinals are on a winning streak. Now sitting at 3-2, well in the hunt for the NFC West, the "Red Birds" are playing some pretty stout defense of late, having allowed only 16 points in the last two games. They'll need that to continue if Carson Palmer keeps throwing interceptions.
Tony Romo chokes in thrilling shootout - The Dallas Cowboys came close -- very close -- to handing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos their first loss. That is, well, until they didn't. At the end of a nearly flawless, career-best game, Tony "Romoed."