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Rams Lose in OT 23-20

Close.  But close only works with horseshoes or hand grenades.

Yet again the Rams figure out another way to lose.  I know its cliche to say that good teams “know how to win”, but the Rams are bad team and know how to lose…again and again.

The Rams started out great and had very fresh playcalling on their first drive and kept the Jaguars on their heels.  They went up 7-0 on a touchdown pass to Donnie Avery.  This touchdown pass was their first 1st quarter points of the season.  I’m going to let that sink in for a minute.  The Jaguars responded with a Maurice Jones-Drew TD after 2 big throws to Torry Holt.  However, they muffed the extra point and the Rams still had the lead.  They extended the lead to 10-6 at the half with a Josh Brown field goal.

But, all was not well for the Rams as their playcalling went from creative to bland.  Donnie Avery fell hard on his hip and left the game.  Without Avery, the Rams focused more on Steve Jackson.  And so did the Jacksonville defense and the Rams had little success on offense in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters.

The inability of the offense put more and more pressure on the defense and they had some success with the bend but don’t break strategy.  The Rams forced 2 turnovers in the red zone, one on a Jones-Drew fumble and the other on a David Garrard interception.  But, the Rams defense began to tire the longer they were on the field and things looked bleak with the Jaguars were driving up 13-10.  Leonard Little read a swing pass perfectly and beat the running back to the spot to make the interception and took the ball into the end zone with just over 4 minutes left in the game.  However, the Jaguars didn’t need the whole 4 minutes to beat the Rams tired defense for another touchdown.  The Rams defense was also beaten easily in overtime.  The Rams secondary also dropped 2 easy interceptions.

In the fourth quarter with less than two minutes and 1 timeout the Rams drove the length of the field down 3 points.  They had a first and goal with 15 seconds left in the game.  The Rams ran one play for the end zone and Marc Bulger was forced to throw the ball away which wasted 8 seconds.  With 7 seconds left, the Rams went for the field goal on 3rd down instead of challenging for the win.  Coach Spagnuolo had to know that the Rams defense was completely spent and could not stop the Jaguars in OT.  The Rams still held a timeout and could have run a few different quick plays to the end zone.  The Rams were without Donnie Avery, but still had Steven Jackson, Daniel Fells and Randy McMichael who could cause mismatches in the end zone.  Spagnuolo was banking on the 50% chance that the Rams were going to win the toss and move the ball down the field.  The Rams had only moved the ball down the field twice in the whole game and they were currently at the 9 yard line with 7 seconds left in the game.

The field goal call wasn’t the reason the Rams lost, neither was the offensive playcalling, neither was the injuries, but all of it put together doomed the Rams.  The Rams lead at half time, the Rams lead at the beginning of the 4th quarter.  The Rams lead by 4 points with just over 4 minutes to go.  The Rams had the ball at the 9 yard line with 7 seconds left down 3.  And yet the Rams lost.

The Rams competed, the Rams played hard, but once again they didn’t have enough to win against a vulnerable team.  Next week they have to face the fearsome Indianapolis Colts, who won’t give the Rams as many chances as the Jaguars did.

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