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St. Louis Rams 18, Minnesota Vikings 21: Conservative Offense Dooms Rams Over Second Half, Overtime

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It's hard to win games in the NFL when you can't pass the football.

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

A late series in the fourth quarter defined this game as the St. Louis Rams lost to the Minnesota Vikings today, 18-21.

Having failed to score for the entire second half, the Rams marched the ball from their own 35 to a 1st and 10 at the Minnesota 33 just ahead of the two-minute warning.  With Todd Gurley exhausted having been used on the previous three plays to pick up 33 of his 89 yards, he asked to take a breather. The Rams then, instead of using their starting passing options, decided to plow Tre Mason, all 5'8", 207 lbs. of him, into the offensive line for no yards.

Two minute warning.

With all three timeouts remaining, the Rams were in position to run whatever they wanted.

They wanted Fisherball.

Having failed to execute a successful screen all day against a disciplined defense, the Rams tried yet again with Tavon Austin, the only other offensive weapon the Rams have not named Todd Gurley. The play would gain them less than 0 yards. Faced with a 3rd and 10 from the Minnesota 34-yard line, the Rams handed the ball off to Gurley to set up a game-tying 48-yard field goal.

That's your 2015 St. Louis Rams.

Todd Gurley is a hell of a young talent, and the Rams are lucky to have him. Tavon Austin has explosive speed; when he's in position to exploit space, he can do it as well as anyone in the sport. The Rams' defense is playoff caliber.

But they simply can't pass the ball. At all. And it's not just personnel. It starts from the top. There's a philosophical aversion to avoid the pass and when forced to do so, to avoid any risk that it might incur. Passing the ball is explosive and unreliable and volatile.

Fisherball eschews all of those qualities for the meticulous, physically destructive force of a 4-yard run setting up a field goal to tie a game.

It doesn't matter if the field goal is good.

It doesn't matter if you win or lose.

All that matters is that you plod. That you continue to plod. That you commit to the physicality of the plod over and over and over.

If the results don't come, it doesn't matter.

You've got seven days to get ready for another 1st and 10, and the field will be clean.

Your life is the next plod.