Looking for some answers in the St. Louis Rams' fourth consecutive road loss, this time falling in overtime to the 49ers?
Well, you won't find many answers from the coaching staff this week, just a couple of lucky breaks on injury newsand a few "wha?" moments. Let's review, starting with the injuries.
LT Rodger Saffold has a mild ankle sprain and is day-to-day.
SS James Butler could be back this week. The Rams got a fine performance from starter Craig Dahl, but Butler's coverage ability could have been useful in some key situations. Would it have been enough to make a difference?
WR Danario Alexander is getting closer to a return. He's running but still not able to make the cuts a receiver, even a Rams receiver, needs to make.
On to the craziness...
Spagnuolo expressed a surprising level of confidence in how the game moved up to the third quarter.
I thought the game went about how you would want it to go for three quarters. We knew it was going to be a knock down, drag out football game. And we are into the fourth quarter at 17-10. In the fourth quarter, we have got to find a way to make one more play to turn that thing in our favor.
Did he think that a defense not prone to giving up big plays would give up big passing plays of 65 and 38 yards? Or that the offensive line would only block well enough for Steven Jackson to average 2.3 yards per carry on 10 carries? That the offense would be forced to punt 4 times on 8 possessions through three quarters?
Yes, it was ugly in the fourth quarter for the Rams; that was when the offense had four consecutive three-and-outs, but the Rams weren't exactly putting the game away in the first three quarters.
On not challenging the incomplete ruling on Laurent Robinson's catch following the blocked punt:
You can’t tell. They never even went back and replayed it. In that instance, when you have a play you think you might want to challenge, you rely on the people upstairs in the pressbox and they are looking at a feed which comes from TV. When it never gets there, we don’t have any way of knowing. You could take a chance but at that point, I didn’t think it was the right thing to do…I still haven’t seen a good enough picture to say whether it was complete or not. Modern technology is great when it’s there and working for you but in that particular case, it wasn’t.
Hindsight's always 20-20, especially for a blogger, but given the way things were going early in the fourth quarter. That would have put the Rams inside the 49ers 30-yard line and set up an FG try. Given how hard it was to come by yards for the Rams, risk taking ought to be emphasized a little more...it worked for the desperate 49ers.
Ok, this is mostly quibbles from a frustrated fan, but this last one really defies logic.
From the Rams' report on the official web site:
No determination has been made yet on who will start at cornerback this week after Kevin Dockery stepped in for Bradley Fletcher this week. That competition will continue throughout the week.
Step one to building a better team, learn lessons.