The St. Louis Rams Offense Finally Showing Signs of Life

Ron Clements@Ron_ClementsCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 11: Marc Bulger #10 of the St. Louis Rams passes against the Minnesota Vikings at the Edward Jones Dome on October 11, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Rams are 0-5, and averaging a meager seven points per game. But in the 38-10 loss to Minnesota on Sunday, the Rams offense finally gave fans a glimmer of hope.

St. Louis gained 400 yards of total offense, besting the Vikings by 23 yards, and had the ball inside the red zone three times.

The next step is actually getting the ball into the end zone.

Every time the Rams got close to the goal line, they turned it right back over to the Vikings.

St. Louis quarterback Kyle Boller and tailback Steven Jackson had a botched exchange at the one to negate a second-quarter scoring opportunity. Later in the quarter, tight end Daniel Fells coughed it up at the three. Boller was intercepted in the end zone on the second play of the fourth quarter by Minnesota safety Tyrell Johnson.

"You can’t do that, and expect to win the game," said St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo. "It’s hard enough getting down there. You look at the silver lining, and we moved it all the way down there. Our guys did something right to move it inside the 10."

Spagnuolo said he was encouraged with the offense’s progress, but realizes that simply moving the ball downfield doesn’t win ballgames. His team has to finish drives.

"We could go into the film room and pick out 30 plays, and say the Rams should’ve won that football game," Spagnuolo said. "But it’s not like that. You have to count all of them."

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Boller threw for 201 yards before being replaced by Marc Bulger following a head injury. Bulger was perfect in seven attempts for 88 yards, and a late 27-yard touchdown to Donnie Avery. The Rams also gained 122 rushing yards, led by Jackson’s 21 attempts for 84 yards.

Just don’t ask Spags what Avery was doing dancing in the end zone after the score with his team still trailing by three touchdowns.

Spagnuolo credited the offensive line, which held the Minnesota defense to just one sack. That came from Kevin Williams, who was penalized for a facemask on the play. Jared Allen, who had four-and-a-half sacks last week against Green Bay, was limited to just two tackles.

"When you look at what the offense was able to do as a group, you’re not able to do those things unless the offensive line plays well," Spagnuolo said. "The guys up front did a nice job for us."

Next up for the Rams is a trip to Jacksonville to take on former Ram Torry Holt, and a Jaguars team smarting from a 41-0 loss to Seattle. Holt had seven catches for 95 yards in the loss.

With the defeat, the Jaguars fell to 2-3. St. Louis’ loss was the 15th consecutive defeat, dating back to last season.

"This is extremely tough," said Rams guard Richie Incognito. "It wears on you, but to be a professional, you don’t let it show. You just keep preparing hard to go out and get a win."

The Rams have a decision to make at quarterback, with news released Monday that Boller suffered a mild concussion and is now questionable for Sunday’s game.
Rookie linebacker James Laurinaitis said despite being winless, the team’s morale is still high.

"We have a lot of guys out there with a lot of heart," said Laurinaitis, who notched his first career interception Sunday. "We have guys that really want to get things corrected. There’s going to be some corrections, and moving onto Jacksonville. We’ll get better. That’s the kind of character we have in this locker room."

This article can also be found in The Alton Telegraph

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