Road Struggles Continue For The St. Louis Rams: OT Loss To The 49ers

In Simmons' FootstepsContributor INovember 15, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 14:  Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams is sacked by the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 14, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

November 1st, 2009—that was the date of the last Rams' win on the road. Ironically, it was also St. Louis' only win last season. 

Steve Spagnuolo's boys from St. Louis defeated the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Um, not exactly the best of road wins, but they would obviously take it.

The Rams were legitimately this close to a win at Candlestick Park in San Francisco yesterday. They had the 49ers on the ropes.

Well, at least that's what we thought. 

San Francisco, led by second string quarterback Troy Smith (filling in for injured starter Alex Smith), managed to convert a first down after having 3rd and 32 followed by 4th and 18 in the final four minutes of regulation. 

Both plays went to workhorse Frank Gore, one of the best receivers out of the backfield in the NFL.

The 49ers went on to score with a pass to wideout Michael Crabtree, putting them in the lead 20-17. The Rams would answer, however.

Rookie QB Sam Bradford, who has been solid all season, was successful on his first two minute drill in the NFL (maybe even his first two minute drill ever; OU rarely had to travel the length of the field for a score in a short amount of time).

Sam The Ram completed seven of nine passes for 70 yards, and should have completed another; tight end Daniel Fells dropped a 2nd down pass inside the 49ers' red zone that probably could have resulted in a touchdown.

Unfortunately, when the Rams won the toss in overtime, Bradford and his offense failed to produce. They settled, instead, for a measly three and out.

Bradford's emotions were mixed after the game:

"You can always take value out of things," he said.

"I'm really proud of the way we hung in there and fought. We had struggled in the fourth quarter. It would have been really easy for us as an offense to come out and take another three and out, but that's not what we did.

"We had confidence in ourselves. We knew that once we got the ball back, we were going to march it down the field and score. And that's what we did.

"You would have liked to have gotten a touchdown there to end it in regulation, but to get a field goal and send it to overtime, you can always look at that as a positive."

Bradford continued, "I felt great about our chances. We had put pressure on their defense.  They were probably a little tired after that two minute drill. I thought we had a great chance to come out and gash them right off the bat. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the first down.  It's tough."

It is tough, Sam. Having an NFL team's offense placed in your hands as a rookie is tough. 

Leading a 1-15 team to a 4-5 start is tough. Winning on the road is...tough. But if you want to be a playoff team, it has to be done. 

"A game is a game," O-linemen Adam Goldberg said after Sunday's loss. "I don't know about you (media) guys, but the players, we really don't care if we're at home or on the road.  Obviously it's nice when you are at home playing in front of your fans but it's not like we think playing on the road is a huge disadvantage. It's not something that we put much thought or concern into."

That's interesting, because, you see, the Rams are 4-1 at home and 0-4 on the road this season. Clearly, it's not simply "a game." 

This is the second game of the season that the Rams have legitimately given away. As I said earlier, the Rams' D had the 49ers with 3rd and long, followed by 4th and 18, which they converted, leading to a score. 

If they get a stop there, the game ends instead of heading to OT where San Fran kicked a field goal to win it. 

Earlier in the season, the Rams blew a 17-3 lead in Tampa Bay.

Really, the Rams record should look more like 6-3. 

Unfortunately, the NFL does not appoint a committee to choose teams for the playoffs based on potential and close games. No, you have to win games to move on. 

The Rams will simply have to win on the road in order to make the postseason.


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