For more than three long and brutish hours, the St. Louis Rams stomped around the Edward Jones Dome with the attitudes of down-and-dirty football tough guys. For all the football world to see under the bright nationally televised lights of “Monday Night Football,” these surprising Rams were pushing the Seahawks all around the field with a new-and-improved character that should have fueled them to an upset victory over one of the NFL’s top teams.
But with four seconds to go and victory only one precious yard away, they got cute.
Cute. Cute? Cute!!!!
You cannot be serious.
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All night long, the Rams were pounding through the Seahawks defense with a smash-mouth offensive style that was meant to cover up Kellen Clemens’ indelicate passing touch and emphasize the force of a nasty offensive line and two young running backs named Zac Stacy (a career-high 134 yards rushing on 26 carries) and Daryl Richardson (30 yards on the final drive of the game).
Bam. Bam. Bam. All night long, the Rams kept slamming into the thick of the Seahawks defense. Bam. Bam. Bam. All night long, it didn’t matter who was carrying the ball. And now, with four seconds left, down 14-9 and 1 yard from sure victory, Stacy came back into the game, the Rams shifted to an empty backfield and this is what came out of the offensive playbook of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, with chain-of-command approval from head coach Jeff Fisher:
A touch pass from an inaccurate quarterback to a wide receiver (Brian Quick) who didn’t seem to know what the play was.
And so guess how this one finished?
With the inaccurate Clemens overthrowing the confused receiver on a fade route that never seemed to have the slightest chance of working.
What an amazingly frustrating night for anyone who saw all the good things that should have been gleaned from this surprising night when the Rams seemed to discover their collective character on both sides of the ball.
On a night when it seemed like the Rams discovered a tough-as-nails character that should insulate them from the hazards of going into the fray with a seriously flawed backup quarterback, they walked away empty-handed and it just doesn’t seem right.
The stat sheet didn’t lie. The Rams outgained the Seahawks, 339-135.
The Rams defense pushed Seattle around all night, sacking Russell Wilson seven times (with Chris Long and Robert Quinn getting three each), stuffed Marshawn Lynch for only 23 yards on eight carries and showed themselves to be a unit that has finally decided to play up to the unlimited potential of all these high draft picks who are littered throughout the lineup.
On the final drive of the game with 5:42 remaining, the Rams moved the ball almost exclusively with a stunning running game.
And then they got cute.
Seriously, will somebody please remind these folks that this is big-boy football.
Cute had no business in this football game.