Monday, November 4, 2013
Morning Ram-blings: A hurtful loss
By Nick Wagoner
ST. LOUIS -- To the very last drop, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher insisted that Sunday's 28-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans was no more meaningful than any other game he's coached.
"You know what, honestly this is another week for me, OK," Fisher said. "I’ve got Indy this week. This was another opponent. We worked and we worked. We came back on a short week against a good opponent and didn’t get it done. So, we have a normal week this week and we’re getting ready for the Colts."
After spending a few years shy of two decades with the Oilers/Titans franchise, it's hard to imagine that Fisher didn't want to find a way to come out on top even a little bit more than usual. When the game was over and the Rams had come up just short for the second consecutive week, Fisher greeted Tennessee coach/Fisher protege Mike Munchak with a quick handshake.
"I just congratulated him," Fisher said. "He’s really excited and he has every right to be excited on the win. So I just congratulated him."
The loss had to be maddening for Fisher and the Rams on a number of levels, not least of which was a disappointing defensive performance combined with costly turnovers and penalties. To have it happen against the Titans certainly couldn't have helped things.
Even if Fisher chooses not to acknowledge that connection, it doesn't mean his players didn't. Titans-turned-Rams such as tight end Jared Cook, end William Hayes and cornerback Cortland Finnegan weren't afraid to say playing the Titans meant a little bit more.
“I think so," Finnegan said. "That’s the obvious answer. If you can get any closer to a Super Bowl without it being a Super Bowl, that’s what it was for me. It was staying up late and watching extra film and doing everything I could to prepare myself. In fact I normally do, but just doing a little more because this team is who they were.”
For the record, it wasn't a bad day for former Titans. Finnegan had five tackles and an interception, Hayes had a sack and two tackles and Cook had three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown.
A roundup of Sunday's Rams' stories on ESPN.com. … We started with word that running back Zac Stacy would indeed start and play through an ankle injury. … Next, it was this week's edition of Rapid Reaction and Locker Room Buzz. … From there, it was the Rams' reverting to poor run defense and how that greatly altered what they could do defensively against the Titans. … We also revisited three things with a look at how the Rams fared in three key areas of Sunday's game. … Finally, we chronicled another strong performance from Stacy and how he's emerged as the brightest spot in a season headed toward lost.
ESPN Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky breaks down the other side of the Rams' struggles defending the run: The Titans' success doing it.
Cary Chow and Tom Waddle review the Rams-Titans game.
Stltoday.com's Jeff Gordon provides his weekly grades.
Jim Thomas offers his running-game recap.
Need a laugh after the Rams' second consecutive narrow miss? Well, Turf Show Times delivers the good with an ode from some Rams to one of my favorite movies.