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Rams defeat Seahawks: Enjoy the Win

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The St. Louis Rams used some very solid play early, sprinkled with some Special Teams magic and late game luck, to get their first home win of the season against the Seattle Seahawks. While there are plenty of reasons not to get carried away about this win and its longterm impact, can't we just enjoy the victory?

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Once the final seconds had ticked off the clock, and the St. Louis Rams had officially defeated the Seattle Seahawks, there was plenty of celebrating from Rams fans everywhere.  The Rams had managed to knock off the defending Super Bowl Champions for the first time since 1991, and had beaten the Seahawks for just the 3rd time in the previous 19 tries.  Surely Rams fans everywhere would ignore the negatives, and just bask in the afterglow of a victory right?  Unfortunately the "Debbie Downers" were out in full force almost immediately following the end of the game, so lets take a look at some of the negative points made.

One of the most frequently cited reasons the Rams were able to defeat the Seahawks is their current injury situation.  The Seahawks were without 4 starters (Bobby Wagner, Byron Maxwell, Zach Miller, and Max Unger) the naysayers scream.  Yes this certainly had an impact on the football game, but did we all forget the Rams were also without starters?  The Rams didn't have Chris Long (a top 10 DE) and Trumaine Johnson (Rams best CB?) available, and technically didn't have their starting QB.  If you think Russell Wilsonhas the same type of day with those two available, then I seriously question your sanity.  I am not saying the Rams defense would have shut him and the Seahawks offense down completely, but let's not pretend the absence of Long and Tru hasn't been huge for this defense.

The second thing I have seen mentioned is the fact the Rams made several huge Special Teams plays.  I will agree that expecting the ST to be able to produce at that level on the regular is foolish.  That being said, isn't ST a part of the game of football?  Last time I checked it was, and let's not forget the Seahawks have one of the best ST units in the entire NFL.  The Rams ST unit made the Seahawks look very foolish, which is no small task.  Give tons of credit to John Fassel (ST coach) and Jeff Fisher for studying gamefilm and capitalizing on this advantage.  I will repeat, the Rams and their fans can't expect to get this level of production from the ST every week, but it doesn't mean they can't help fuel more wins in the future.

The third thing you hear, more so from non-Rams fans, is the Rams just "got lucky".  If you are reading this and you honestly believe luck will win you an NFL football game I feel sorry for you.  Yes the Rams managed to play virtually mistake free football, and some of that could be attributed to good fortune.  However, no amount of luck can produce a victory against an NFL team unless you position yourself to capitalize on that luck.  The Rams were very fortunate to retain possession following Tre Mason's fumble late in the game, but the officials really had no other call to make in the situation.  Bottom line is, the Rams did enough things right to capitalize on that stroke of luck and secure a victory.

Let me say that I don't believe this victory over the Seahawks is a sign the Rams have turned the corner this season.  This is NOT the 2013 Seattle Seahawks we are talking about here, but they are still a good playoff caliber football team.  I will take wins over quality opponents any way I can get them.  The Rams still have plenty to work on following this victory, but there are plenty of positives to take away as well.  Let's look at the areas that could still use some improvement.  The Rams defense finally generated pressure on the QB, but in doing so they also failed to contain Wilson's running ability.  The linebackers, especially Alec Ogletree, need to do a better job with this in the future.  Greg Zeurlein just seems a tad off since early in his rookie season, when 50+ yard field goals felt automatic.  He has struggled from 50+ lately, although he is still almost automatic from inside 50.  The secondary has improved, but once Janoris Jenkinswas limited by injury they weren't able to offer much resistance to the Seahawks.  More experience for solid rookies EJ Gaines and Lamarcus Joyner should help in that regard, but the return of Trumaine Johnson would also go a long way.

Let's take a look at some of the positives.  First of all I just want to say this, Aaron Donaldis a man ladies and gentlemen, a grown ass man who is playing like one of the best DTs in the NFL.  Not just the best rookie DT, but one of the top DTs in the entire league.  Roll the tape on his sack and if you don't at least silently mouth the words "holy sh*t", I will mail you a quarter.  Speaking of first round selections, Greg Robinson has been impressive in his first two starts.  First against Justin Smith and then again against Brandon Mebane, two of the better interior defensive lineman in the NFL, he managed to hold  his own and even flash the physical dominance he showcased in college.  Last but not least, the Rams coaches really stepped up their game to secure this victory.  Yes the fact the team blew a 21-3 lead and had to hold on late is disappointing, but give some credit to the Seahawks for that as well.  If it weren't for the excellent coaching the Rams wouldn't have had a 21-3 lead to begin with.  Everything I harped on last week regarding the coaching shortfalls was seemingly addressed.  The Rams finally managed to get some sacks and generate consistent pressure with the defensive line.  The team decided not to put the entire offensive gameplan in the hands of Austin Davis, instead choosing to rely on the running game and pick their spots on when to unleash Davis.  The most important thing though, the team eliminated the type of silly mistakes that have plagued them throughout the Jeff Fisher era (and for the last decade for that matter).  If Jeff Fisher and Co. are going to get back into the good graces of their fans, this is the type of coaching we need to see on a regular basis.  Thanks for reading and as always, Go Rams!!!!