The Rams for once had something they so rarely had this season…a lead late in the game. And in Week 15, they let it slip through their fingers. The Seahawks won on a short field goal as time expired from Olindo Mare.
The offense could not control the clock in the fourth quarter (only running 6 plays in the fourth) when the Rams had the lead. The defense wore down and allowed the Seahawks to score their only offensive touchdown to tie the game and allowed the Seahawks to drive down for the game winning field goal. The defense dominated the Seahawks in the first half and held them to only field goals in the third quarter, but fell apart in the fourth. The Rams defense allowed less than 100 yards in the first half, but allowed 146 in the fourth quarter alone.
Not all the blame can be placed on the defense as the offense sputtered when it counted (as shown above). The offense was the polar opposite of the Seattle offense, as they ran up around 200 yards of offense in their first four possessions. However, they only had about 100 yards the rest of the way. If the offense had done their job in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter, the Rams would have won the game.
I know its hard to lay the blame on the offense when the defense gave up the game-tying and game-winning scores, but a little more production from the offense and those scores would not have happened. Case in point – The Rams took possession of the ball with 10 minutes left in the game and leading by seven points. This is the perfect time for the offense to control the ball and shorten the game. But two three yard runs by Steven Jackson, a Rams timeout and a false start led to a 7 yard pass to Anthony Becht of all people on 3rd and 9. Not only did the Rams go three and out, they only took two minutes off the clock.
The Seahawks scored the game tying touchdown with only 3 minutes to go. If the Rams had held the ball for longer, they would have forced Seattle into a more desperate offense, which would have played right into the hands of the tired defense. Offense can be used to make the defense better, and in this case, they did not help the cause.
Now on to the good news. Steven Jackson played better and showed why he is the Rams best offensive player when healthy. Marc Bulger played better, but still did not move the offense when it counted. With Cincinnati’s win, the Rams move into draft position number 2 if the season ended today and into striking position for Andre Smith of Alabama.
And another parting thought. With yet another collapse and this time against a familiar foe who is also struggling mightily, it has become obvious that there is no way Jim Haslett should be coaching this football team next year.