NFL Nation: Rams-Seahawks

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Brian Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, having already called for a Rams coaching change, says the team lost hope against Seattle. Burwell blames management for plunging players and coaches into a situation neither deserves to face. 

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have become a national punch line. Tight end Randy McMichael said he was struggling to hold back tears of frustration.

Also from Thomas: Seattle fans booed Josh Brown mercilessly.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the Rams had no answer for the Seahawks' two-man ground game. Rookie defensive end Chris Long expressed his frustration.

Also from Coats: Running back Steven Jackson said he had a "pretty nice day" after averaging 2.9 yards per carry with a long run of 8 yards against Seattle. Jackson did have a 50-yard gain on a short pass, but if this was a "nice day" in the ground game, the Rams are worse off than any of us could have expected.

More from Coats: Seattle's ground game pounded the Rams into submission during a 15-play, 86-yard touchdown drive spanning nearly 9 minutes.

And this: A report card showing a D-minus for the secondary, the lowest grade of the day.

Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com expects Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom to follow through on promised changes. Gordon on Linehan: "It's over for Scott. As it turns out, nice guys really do finish last."

Greg Johns of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the pressure is mounting on the Rams. Steven Jackson says the team hasn't been able to fix mistakes.

Todd Milles of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Rams never foresaw what awaited them this season. Receiver Dane Looker had lots of family and friends watching at Qwest Field, but he wasn't looking forward to speaking with them after another Rams blowout defeat.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Rams' coaches had no towels in the locker room, forcing them to drip dry following their showers. That was about right. Scott Linehan might be a good guy with Northwest roots, but he's sunk as Rams coach.

Steve Korte of Ramblings offers his postgame Rams report card. The offensive line and special teams received "B" grades. Korte gave D-minuses to the defensive line, linebackers and coaches.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune singles out Matt Hasselbeck's downfield block as a signature play in the Seahawks' blowout victory over the Rams in Week 3.

Percy Allen of the Seattle Times said the Seattle defensive backs rediscovered their swagger against the Rams after giving up big plays in previous weeks.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks' victory excludes them from discussions about hapless teams around the league.

More from O'Neil: Linebacker Leroy Hill was one of the Seahawks' players of the game, finishing with 11 tackles.

And this: Seattle telegraphed a running play by having Sean Locklear line up as the third tight end, but the Rams were still helpless to stop the play.

O'Neil and Jose Romero check in with Seattle receiver Michael Bumpus, who scored a touchdown and plans to give the ball to his mother.

Also from Romero: Mike Holmgren was happy with the victory because all aspects of the team contributed.

Art Thiel of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the Seahawks finally figured out how to use T.J. Duckett. If only they could play the Rams every week.

Also from Thiel: Hasselbeck and the offense draw inspiration from "smashmouth" plays.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says Seattle safety Deon Grant was "extra fired up" against the Rams because he was seeking redemption.

Greg Johns of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says Seattle fans threw peanut shells at Rams kicker Josh Brown, who wasn't surprised by the reaction.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks' offensive line loves the commitment to the ground game. Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack said he would run on every play if the coaches would let him.

Williams and Frank Hughes assess the Seahawks' improvement on defense. The Rams had only 240 total yards.

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune was too busy watching Bumpus and Billy McMullen shred the Rams' defense to miss Deion Branch, Bobby Engram or Nate Burleson.

Shakeup could be looming for Rams

September, 21, 2008
9/21/08
10:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

 
 Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
 The job of St. Louis Head Coach Scott Linehan could be on the line after a dispiriting 37-13 loss to Seattle Sunday.

SEATTLE -- Impervious to coach Scott Linehan's angry pleas following two dispiriting defeats, the St. Louis Rams shrugged off an ominous directive from ownership in Week 3.

"Things will get better," owner Chip Rosenbloom had said, "and if they don't, changes will be made."

Not much improved for St. Louis during a 37-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field Sunday. With a couple of exceptions, the Rams played as though nothing were at stake. They played as though Rosenbloom had guaranteed their contracts and offered raises for every rushing yard allowed -- all 245 of them.

Given what Rosenbloom said and how the Rams responded, it's tough in envision Linehan making it past the bye in Week 5. At this rate, it's tough to imagine any coach wanting to stick around.

The Rams are a mess.

"Any questions?" Linehan asked at his postgame news conference.

Well, yes. About that 27-6 deficit in the first half, coach. How did it get out of hand so quick?

"Well, you were probably at the same game I was at," Linehan said. "They were able to pretty much do what they wanted to do in the first half, really."

A public-relations staffer cut off the news conference after three minutes, about as long as the Seahawks needed to score their first points.

A coaching change in September or October isn't going to fix the Rams right away. The question now is whether Rosenbloom can sit back and watch his team suffer from the same problems week after week.

"There's going to be a lot of speculation and we're not ready to play when we first come out, but we just get our butts kicked at first," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "Teams have been playing better than us in the first quarter, but I don't think it's a lack of effort. I think it's just execution because guys are pretty excited all three games and we just come out -- I wouldn't say flat -- but just not playing good football."

Rams players approached for interviews were accountable for their mistakes. Fullback Dan Kreider owned up to the missed block that let Seahawks linebacker Julian Peterson force a fumble on a sack. Cornerback Ron Bartell took the blame for an illegal-contact penalty that sustained a 15-play Seattle scoring drive in the second half.

The Rams' locker room has its share of diligent, hard-working professionals. But something is clearly missing. This team has no confidence, no fire, none of the urgency that should come naturally.

"These guys have it in them," said Kreider, who won a Super Bowl with the Steelers. "We've worked hard every week. Sometimes guys don't think you can do it, then you don't work hard during the week. You can't say that at all. Every guy has come out and worked hard every week."

The Rams seemed to be waiting for a veteran leader to do something, anything, to change the game and possibly change this hopeless season. Instead, they watched Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck show them how it's done.

Seahawks running back Julius Jones was 20-plus yards into his 29-yard touchdown run in the first quarter when a hustling Hasselbeck chopped down the safety Oshiomogho Atogwe and cornerback Fakhir Brown with a diving block. The play was as inspiring as anything a quarterback could do without the ball in his hands.

Some of the Rams' younger players, notably defensive linemen Adam Carriker and Chris Long, competed with obvious urgency. They deserve better than this.

The Rams are an aging team, but they have enough talent to compete. No team with Bulger, Torry Holt, Steven Jackson and Orlando Pace should run its first red-zone play of the season with 4:19 remaining in the second quarter of the third game.

Holt was the most skilled and accomplished receiver on the field Sunday, but Seattle stopgap Billy McMullen, signed less that two weeks ago, had more yards.

Jackson was the most talented runner at Qwest Field, but the Seahawks' short-yardage back, T.J. Duckett, had more yards in relief (79) than Jackson has enjoyed in a game this season. Jackson's longest run against Seattle covered 8 yards, 7 fewer than Hasselbeck's longest scramble.

Pace, though diminished by injuries in recent seasons, still ranks among the better offensive tackles. Bulger absorbed only one sack, but he had only 39 yards passing in the first half.

The Rams have used recent first-round draft choices for Carriker, Long and cornerback Tye Hill. They still have La'Roi Glover at defensive tackle. But the defense might be the worst in the league, allowing more than 500 yards in the opener at Philadelphia and 407 more yards against Seattle.

The Seahawks were without six injured receivers, starting running back Maurice Morris and both starters on the right side of their offensive line. Jones still rushed for 140 yards.

"Clearly, there is an attitude thing going on," Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said. "There is an attitude adjustment that is needed. You guys up on the pressbox can probably feel it, too. Some might call it confidence. I call it attitude. I think the attitude has to be there and right now, it isn't."

That's not what ownership was looking to hear less than a week after putting the head coach on notice.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

SEATTLE -- The Seahawks got what they needed heading into their bye week, a victory that appeared to feature no new injuries of significance.

The Seahawks still have problems, but nothing close to those ailing the 0-3 Rams. The Rams put up very little fight, particularly early, and the game quickly devolved into a blur of Seattle handoffs as the Seahawks rushed for 245 yards.

The bye week might allow the Seahawks to get reasonably healthy at receiver for the first time this season.

Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck calmly predicted another NFC West title for the Seahawks even before the team blew out St. Louis. Nothing about beating the Rams mattered much -- St. Louis is a horrible team at this point -- but the victory itself mattered a great deal.

Arizona's defeat closed the Cardinals' lead in the division to one game. The gap could close further if the Cardinals lose a road game to the Jets in Week 4.

For the Rams, coach Scott Linehan absorbed another blowout defeat only days after owner Chip Rosenbloom threatened changes if the team failed to improve. It's tough to see Linehan lasting past the bye in Week 5 unless the Rams somehow upset the Bills next week.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Teams are continually looking for ways to improve their travel experiences. Home teams have enjoyed only a 16-15 record through two weeks.

The Rams are leaving for Seattle on Friday afternoon, and coach Scott Linehan plans to let players sleep later than usual Saturday as their bodies recover from the long plane flight.

"It's a long flight and that's a problem," Linehan said. "It seems like we're always really dead when we get there on Saturdays because it's a four-hour flight."

The Cardinals plan to spend next week at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., between road games against the Redskins and Jets. Quarterback Kurt Warner said he would rather return home to be with his family between games.

"Not a huge fan of being away form the family for a week, but willing to do whatever it takes to give us the best opportunity to win," Warner said.

The Cardinals have an early kickoff Sunday. They begin practices at about the same time, Warner said, and most players he knows would rather wake up and go play. That's a little different interpretation than the Seahawks have voiced.

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