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Monday, October 11, 2010
History behind Rams' ill-fated onside kick

By Mike Sando

The St. Louis Rams' decision to try an onside kick to open their game against Detroit backfired when the Lions recovered and drove to a field goal.

The move seemed like an unnecessary risk against an 0-4 Lions team looking for a spark (easy for me to say with the benefit of hindsight).

Did the failed try affect the outcome? That's a tough sell after Detroit dominated so thoroughly during its 44-6 victory. Teams that failed to recover their own onside kicks had a 3-2 record over the last decade before Sunday.

In looking at every onside attempt to open a game since 2001, I can see where the Rams got the idea. Spanguolo was with the Philadelphia Eagles when Andy Reid opened games with onside kicks.

Philadelphia and Buffalo are the only teams in the last 10 seasons to recover their own onside kicks to open games. The Eagles drove to a field goal on their opening drive. The Bills lost a fumble on their second play.

The chart breaks down each of the eight onside tries to open games since 2001. Thanks to Keith Hawkins of ESPN Stats & Information for providing the information via Elias Sports Bureau.