Notes: Rams Can’t Respond

From the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

There was so much on the line Sunday for the Rams. They were tied for the NFC West lead and they were playing the Chiefs at home. It had the atmosphere of the playoffs.

But the Rams did not rise to the challenge. Other than dominating the first quarter, St. Louis was not able to mount a challenge and went down to their eighth loss of the season.

The question to Rams coach Steve Spanuolo was blunt and to the point: is it possible the Rams are not capable of winning a big game at this stage of their development?

“I’m not going to concede that right now because we’re going to have one (big game) this week,” said the head coach who is now 7-23 in his two seasons leading the Rams. “I fully believe in this football team. I know one thing, typically throughout this season and anytime when we’ve had our backs to the wall and we’re down a little bit, we bounce back. I fully expect these guys will do that.”

The Rams came out with a nice opening drive, but had to settle for a field goal. One of the reasons for that was taking back-to-back false start penalties.

“I thought we did a great job on the first drive getting the ball down there and once we got down there, penalties just killed us,” said QB Sam Bradford. “It really seems like after that drive, probably until the fourth quarter, it really seems like we struggled to find any kind of rhythm as an offense. We had way too many three and outs. We just have to do better as an offense.”

Defensively, MLB James Laurinaitis led the team with 11 tackles, but was disgusted that at the end of the game they gave up the big run to Jamaal Charles of 80 yards.

“It just leaves you disgusted and a sick feeling in your stomach,” Laurinaitis said. “Just the fact that when you’re on defense and you let a big play happen like that at a critical part of the game.”

At 6-8 the Rams remain tied for first place in the NFC West and both of their final games are within the division. They’ll host San Francisco the day after Christmas and then travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks on January 2. Two victories will put them in the playoffs.

“Our goal was to win the NFC West and that goal is still achievable,” said Spagnuolo. “But we’re in a situation now where basically you can’t give any games away. You have to win the next one. It’s now must win.”

ATMOSPHERE REVIEW

As the Northwest High School band was coming down the home stretch of the national anthem, the folks in the press box paid attention. It’s always interesting to hear how loud Chiefs fans will get when the anthem reaches the end with the “home of the Chiefs.”

There was no mistaking the Chiefs fans on this Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. They bellowed home of the Chiefs. “Man that was the best,” said DE Wallace Gilberry. “That got us all fired up. I mean, our fans got our back in St. Louis.”

The Rams reported 55,669 for paid attendance. Apparently, they sold enough to satisfy the NFL blackout rules, because the game was on local television. But it certainly wasn’t sold out; it was very much like one of those fake sellouts at Arrowhead that the Chiefs are always claiming.

There were empty seats in every section of the stadium, including on the lower level at the 50-yard line. In the upper deck, there were big areas of empty seats. The crowd was about 60-40, Rams to Chiefs fans. By the end of the game, it was nearly 100 percent Chiefs fans.

KICKING GAME REVIEW

KICKOFFS – Ryan Succop was strong all day, hitting his six kickoffs two yards deep in the end zone four times. He put another at the one-yard line and another at the two. None of those six kickoffs had the Rams starting their possession past the 28-yard line.

FIELD GOALS – Succop hit three field goals on the day, but only two counted. His 51-yarder split the uprights, but G Brian Waters was called for a false start. His 53-yarder matches his career best and he was good from 38 yards. On the season he’s now 17 of 22, 77.3 percent.

PUNTS – Dustin Colquitt punted six times, with a 47.5-yard average and a 36.2-yard net average. His long punt was 72 yards, tied for the third longest of his career. That was his only touchback of the day. He put three inside the 20-yard line.

RETURNS – On eight punt returns, the Chiefs averaged 9.3 yards. The longest return was 24 yards by Dexter McCluster. On kickoff returns, McCluster had four returns but averaged just 15.5 yards a return. His longest was 25 yards.

COVERAGE – Rams WR Danny Amendola handled the returns quite well. On three punt returns, he averaged 16 yards a return, including a 42-yarder. On six kickoff returns, his average was 24.8 yards, with a 30-yard long return.

TACKLES – WR Verran Tucker and SS Eric Berry each had two tackles in the kicking game. Also picking up tackles were CB Travis Daniels, LB Demorrio Williams, LB Corey Mays, LB Cory Greenwood and Succop.

ZEBRA REVIEW

Ron Winter and his crew definitely had their eye on the Rams, hitting them with nine flags. They got the Chiefs for eight, but three of those were declined. The attention was on the line of scrimmage where they called seven false start penalties overall, including five against the Rams. There were also a host of illegal formations and shifts.

Here’s where they penalized the Chiefs:

  1. Offense    Tony Moeaki    illegal formation        minus-5
  2. Offense    Branden Albert    false start        minus-5
  3. Offense    Matt Cassel    Intentional grounding    minus-10
  4. Field Goal    Brian Waters    false start        minus-5
  5. Defense    D. Williams    unnecessary roughness    minus-15

Todd Haley threw his red replay challenge flag twice in this game. The first was on the spotting of the ball after a third-down run by QB Matt Cassel. He lost that challenge. He won the second in the fourth quarter, when he challenged a 12-yard catch by Rams WR Danario Alexander. The review showed the catch was not made and the call was overturned.

But that replay challenge was the last that Haley held –coaches get two per game, and if the call is changed on the first two, they get a third challenge. On the Chiefs next offensive possession, Thomas Jones ran for 16 yards and lost the ball at the end of the play. Officials on the field first ruled it was a fumble.

“It was big at the time (the reversal of the Alexander catch), but not so good later when a fumble was ruled,” Haley said. “That was a big play, but the other one might have been bigger. I thought the officials did a great job of getting it right.”

Winter’s crew got together and changed the call on the field, ruling that Jones was down before he lost the ball. Replay showed that was the correct call.

INJURY REVIEW

RB Jamaal Charles and his problem with cramps was the only real point where the Chiefs had a problem with injuries. But that situation is something that should clear up pretty quickly.

The only other visibly injured player was DB Donald Washington. He was on the sideline most of the second half taking ice on his left ankle/foot area.

For the Rams, they lost FB Brit Miller to a knee injury, possible a torn ACL.

PERSONNEL REVIEW

No surprises on the list of inactive players for the Chiefs: CB Mike Richardson, S Ricky Price, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy Niswanger, DT Anthony Toribio and inactive third quarterback Tyler Palko.

The inactive players for the Rams were: S Michael Lewis, CB Justin King, RB Kenneth Darby, FB Mike Karney, LB David Nixon, G John Greco, WR Mardy Gilyard and TE Michael Hoomanawanui.

QB Brodie Croyle was the only active player for the Chiefs who did not play.

EXTRA STUFF

ILB Jovan Belcher was the sixth captain for this game and he called heads on the opening coin flip. It came up heads and the Chiefs deferred their choice to the second half … the victory gave the Chiefs a 4-0 record against the NFC West for the season. They’ve now won 10 games in a row against that division … Missouri Governor Jay Nixon presented the Governor’s Cup Trophy to Clark Hunt in the press conference room after the game … with 210 rushing yards, the Chiefs have topped the 200-yard mark six times this season.


4 Responses to “Notes: Rams Can’t Respond”

  • December 20, 2010  - Chiefs Hold First Place After Beating Rams | Chiefs Football at BobGretz.com says:

    [...] NOTES & QUOTES – Rams don’t respond. [...]


  • December 20, 2010  - bhive01 says:

    Charles needs to eat some bananas.


  • December 20, 2010  - MattMac44 says:

    …. and potato skins.


  • December 20, 2010  - Edward says:

    Chiefs nation really was in full effect at the game Sun.




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