Around the NFC West: Blaming Spags

November, 28, 2011
A four-game stretch with games against Seattle, Cleveland and Arizona (twice) was supposed to provide a respite for the St. Louis Rams.

Did not happen.

The team lost three of those four games, including a 23-20 home defeat to Arizona in Week 12, and now must play four of its final five against teams with winning records.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says it's getting tougher to believe in coach Steve Spagnuolo because the team is getting worse as the season progresses. Burwell: "Spagnuolo committed the sort of glaring coaching errors that under the best of circumstances get owners looking at you sideways, and in the worst of circumstances -- such as a loss that sends your team falling deeper into the abyss of another lost season -- gets a giant target plastered on your chest. Add this to the growing list of games we've seen far too many times this season. This was a game against a bad foe that didn't deserve to win. But it was yet another game the Rams gave away, and they gave it away because of failed decisions by the coach." Noted: It seems like every decision Spagnuolo makes backfires in the worst way. His decision to punt on fourth-and-1 in the third quarter went from questionable to regrettable when Patrick Peterson returned the punt 80 yards for a touchdown.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' futility right before halftime was typical for this team. Thomas: "After a 26-yard reception by Brandon Lloyd to the Arizona 3, the Rams had a first down, 43 ticks left on the clock and a timeout in their pocket. They ended up kicking a 35-yard field goal just before halftime. How does that happen?" Read on.

Also from Thomas: a reshuffled offensive line struggled against Arizona. Noted: My impression watching the game was that the Rams' line was holding on for dear life. I'll re-watch the game to see whether Darnell Dockett was held as much as the Rams appeared to hold him.

Jeff Gordon of offers up a Rams report card with no grade higher than the "B" handed out to the secondary for its efforts against a struggling John Skelton.

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' run defense might have sewn up a No. 32 ranking for the season after allowing 228 yards to Beanie Wells. Rams cornerback Justin King: "It was two runs. It wasn't like he was chunking us for 15 yards a clip and pounding it down our throat. He capitalized on some different gaps we didn't cover. He didn't do anything out of the ordinary. He did what a great NFL back does. He makes you pay for your mistakes." Noted: Yes, Wells gained half his yardage on two runs. He still averaged roughly 5 yards per carry on his remaining runs. All defeats are not the same. Those featuring lots of rushing yardage for the other team are particularly demoralizing.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?