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Monday, January 3, 2011
Around the NFC West: Rams disappear

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams weren't ready for prime time. Burwell: "There's no way they should have lost like this, scoring only six points against one of the worst defenses in football. There's no way it should have ended like this, with somebody named Charlie Whitehurst, a journeyman quarterback with no particular NFL pedigree, using his arm and legs to lead the staggering, stumbling, dead-men-walking Seahawks to this ugly victory." The Rams approached this game strategy-wise as though acutely aware of their limitations, particularly at wide receiver. They conceded the run when Seattle loaded up to stop it, resorting to gimmickry in the form of an end-around, an inside handoff to the fullback and a run from a four-receiver spread look. A more confident team would have lined up and run the ball more conventionally just to see if the Seahawks could have stopped it.

Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com says the Rams' defeat Sunday should lead them to make necessary upgrades. Gordon: "Consider it a cry for help, one heard by everybody unfortunate enough to witness their 16-6 loss Sunday night in Seattle. Everybody from owner Stan Kroenke on down saw the obvious: This franchise needs to surround blue-chip quarterback Sam Bradford with better talent and create an offense he can win with. Fans want to fire offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. From this corner of cyberspace, we suggest the Rams give Shurmur the weapons and freedom he needs to make the most of Bradford." Amen.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says how the Rams lost was worse than losing itself. Miklasz: "From the beginning, Seattle attacked. The Seahawks came out on the first drive, with the heretofore underwhelming backup Charlie Whitehurst in charge of their fate. And instead of backing away, and playing scared, the home team immediately went after the Rams' necks. On the game's second play, Whitehurst arched one 61 yards down the right sideline to former Rams WR Ruvell Martin to set up an easy TD. With that quick thunderbolt, the Seahawks sent an immediate message: WE ARE PLAYING THIS GAME TO WIN IT, DAMMIT. And that set the tone for the evening. That attitude gave Whitehurst confidence. Heck, it gave the entire team confidence. On the other side, the Rams were soft. And confused. And perhaps disoriented."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Sam Bradford in particular had a tough time dealing with the Rams' defeat. Bradford: "The fact that our defense played great tonight, and the fact that we let the team down and we couldn't get anything going, that's what really hurts."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Steven Jackson was an afterthought Sunday night. Thomas: "Making Jackson's light workload all the more puzzling was the fact that Seattle hasn't exactly been a juggernaut defending the run this season, ranking 22nd in the NFL in yards allowed on the ground entering Sunday's game. Fullback Mike Karney, who went four games without dressing, had twice as many carries in the first quarter as Jackson (two to one). And in two red zone possessions, Jackson touched the ball once."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says a penalty ruined the Rams' one good drive of the night. Wagoner: "Aside from that drive, though, it was tough sledding as the Rams had no other drives netting more than 29 yards of offense. Included in those missed opportunities were some golden chances to take advantage including missed conversions on third and short as well as some key drops such as two deep passes that receiver Danario Alexander was unable to grab."