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Rams holding out hope for late run

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Asked Tuesday afternoon what he hopes to get from his team in the final six weeks of the season, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher offered no surprises.

"My focus is on this coming Sunday against this next opponent -- period," Fisher said. "So, our focus is on doing everything we possibly can do to try to win the ballgame. That's our focus right now. The guys are determined to do everything we can to win the next game and we'll just take them one at a time."

Fisher's name could easily be replaced with any coach in the NFL in offering up that quote. Such is the standard for the "one game at a time" cliche that permeates the league.

As is often the case, however, players are a bit quicker to offer a true evaluation of what the team's goals are moving forward. There is nothing wrong with either approach, of course, but it's folly to think the Rams don't have hopes that go beyond a win Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Yes, they all want that but they also view that as a possible kick-start to making a playoff push. There's that word, a word that certainly seems like a long shot but one that Rams players aren't shying away from when discussing the possibilities held by the rest of the season.

"Just a run, I think that's what every team is looking for these last six games," defensive tackle Michael Brockers said. "The ultimate goal is to win out and get in. That's the only goal because crazy things happen in the playoffs. I think the only focus right now is trying to get in."

In this very space Tuesday afternoon, we laid out all the reasons why the Rams making a run at the postseason is asking a bit too much of the league's youngest team. As Brockers readily acknowledges, the Rams would likely need to win out to take their record from 4-6 to 10-6 and have a real chance to keep playing into the new year.

But Brockers and his teammates are also aware that while it's a tall order to be sure, it's also not impossible. Just last year, the Washington Redskins won seven in a row to close the season and ended up as NFC East Division champions hosting a playoff game.

"Just a prime example, you win out and make the playoffs, you can make a run and get hot at the right moment," Brockers said.

The idea of "going on a run" is simple to throw out but obviously far more difficult in execution. The Rams have been something of a quandary for most of this season, posting impressive wins one week and then going through spells of complete inconsistency.

That's part of the deal when you are as young as the Rams are but that also offers no excuse. To go on the type of streak Brockers is talking about, the Rams have to find a way to grow up in a hurry. That means showing up as the same aggressive, attacking defense and powerful, run-heavy offense from week to week.

To this point, that consistency has been absent but Brockers and his teammates believe they're getting closer after a resounding 38-8 win against Indianapolis before the bye.

"I think over the past three games or whatever, we are putting games together," Brockers said. "The first two we weren't really finishing but in Indy, I think everything came together the way we wanted. If we can keep that momentum going and keep games like that going, who knows where we can be at the end of this thing?"

The other side of the coin is what shapes up to be one of the two toughest remaining schedules of any team in the league to finish the season. The Rams face five teams who currently possess a winning record in the final six weeks.

Talk about growing up. Winning out against that slate would be the type of accomplishment people would talk about for a long time.

"Really, you just want to win," running back Zac Stacy said. "That's really the name of the big picture is just trying to win every game we can. With that comes great preparation throughout the week which is what we've been doing the past couple weeks. We want to keep that mentality and that process going."

Rattling off that many wins against so many teams is certainly a long shot but the Rams clearly believe in the possibility. It has to start somewhere.