The St. Louis Rams lost another game that they could have just as easily won today. Then again, that really is nothing new for this team. Blame the injuries, blame the lockout, those things certainly factored into the Rams eighth consecutive losing season, but the real problems start higher up the food chain. After watching today's loss, it becomes pretty hard to defend Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo, not to mention General Manager Billy Devaney.
I almost tripped over three more nails in the coffin of Spagnuolo's coaching career with the Rams.
Punting to Patrick Peterson...again. Did the Rams learn nothing from what happened in week 9? They punted right to Peterson who returned it 80 yards for his record-tying fourth punt-return touchdown. In a game the Rams lost by three points, those kind of decisions mattered.
The Rams had life in the fourth quarter, a rarity these days. They tied the game on a Brandon Lloyd touchdown following a fumble recovery. Arizona quickly responded with a field goal to take the lead. The Rams got the ball back, finding themselves at fourth-and-one at their own 36-yard line with four minutes left. Rather than go for it, with Steven Jackson who had been effective all day, Spagnuolo decided to punt. Cardinals ran the ball, as they had done all day, and won the game. Gutless is the only way I can describe it. A head coach about to lose his job and he still can't overcome his own chickenshit-ness.
For some strange reason, the Rams simply refused to throw passes to the middle of the field, where they had success last year. Yes, the loss of Danny Amendola changed that, but abandoning that area all together defies logic. Josh McDaniels' epitaph should include "too clever by half" along with "Tom Brady made me look better than I really am."
We'll dig a little deeper later. For now, we fume.
Maybe I'm wrong on this, but Stan Kroenke can't allow Spagnuolo and Devaney to keep their jobs. He would lose all of his credibility and essentially cede whatever future this franchise has in St. Louis.