A monster defeat. There are no other ways to describe the painful loss the St. Louis Rams saw against the New England Patriots. A 45-7 defeat raises eyebrows on the fans of St. Louis. At 3-4 heading into the game, the Rams were having a decent season and were actually not a total underdog against the Patriots like in years past.
But they are now at 3-5, heading into a bye week with their heads hung low. Not only that, but the team must be on the verge of second-guessing their entire game plan by now. The fact of the matter is this: The Rams have been better than they have been in a very long time.
Head coach Jeff Fisher has brought the franchise back to life and is drawing plenty of excitement, to say the least. He has also whipped the youngest average team in the league into shape. He has revitalized the defense, and the offense has been improving slowly.
Going into the week off, they must address their problems and reassess where they are as a team. At three wins, they have already won more games than they did last year (2-14 in 2012). Vastly improved, they have lost two of their games by a total of seven points. Plus they faced a challenging opposition in Green Bay in which St. Louis was defeated by only 10 points.
This. This is why the Rams have no reason to give up hope on the season. In the past several years, facing a team like the Packers would be an automatic loss by multiple touchdowns. No questions asked. But this year, it's different.
The offense comes in spurts but manages to get points on the board most of the time. The defensive unit is a force and is capable of causing turnovers against anyone they may face. Whether it is is from the front four, the scrappy linebacking corps or the secondary, who can play the pass as well as the run.
Week 9 is a special time for the team. It's a point that can make or break their season. Realizing their potential and what they have already accomplished must be recognized. A loss is a loss. Nobody is expecting a Super Bowl win. But facing three NFC West rivals in three of the next four games, starting with the 49ers in Week 10, will challenge their mental toughness.
Will the St. Louis Rams give up? Will they get blown out? With the gap widening in the NFC West race, the mounting injuries affecting the team must not be enough to let their season be destroyed. They've taken on top-caliber teams and struggled, but survived. They've got to bend but not break. Otherwise, they can be the same old Rams team with the same old depressing record (minus 7-9 in 2010, but you know what I mean).
In the Week 10 game on the road in San Francisco, we'll see if the Rams can overcome their downfalls and re-establish themselves as a truly upgraded team that is hungry for wins, especially against their divisional foes.