The St Louis Rams lead by 3rd string QB Keith Null dropped another one today. The Texans came out gunning; opening the game with a long pass to Walter. The Texans were unable to get past the Ram’s 35 yard line and on 4th and 1 they went for it. But the Rams hold and gain possession on downs. Half way through the game the Rams actually appeared interested in winning. In fact, for maybe the first time this season lady luck even showed us her favor.
The Rams had just completed a short TD pass to Danny Amendola and the clock was clicking down toward the half. A pass to Andre Johnson takes the Texans to the Rams 35 yards line again. This time Chris Brown attempts the field goal and it miraculously hits the uprights and bounces out. The Rams go into halftime up 10-6.
The Texans had pretty much moved the ball at ease in the first half. Time after time Matt Schaub faked the hand off to Ryan and rolled out looking for his favorite receiver Andre Johnson. Time and time again the Rams were fooled by this deception and when Schaub wasn’t busy looking for Johnson he might instead mix it up a little and throw to #83 Kevin Walter.
The Rams knew going into this game that the running game would be an insignificant threat, but time after time they bit. However, the one thing I think Coach Spagnuolo can be proud of is the Ram’s continuing tough defensive play in the Red Zone. In the first half the Rams held the Texans to a mere 2 field goals.
Coming back form halftime the Rams have the first possession. They go 3 and out, but on the very next drive the Texans fumble the ball. The Rams are on the Texan’s 40 yard line and Steven Jackson runs for 8 and then for another five. This is a very key point of the game. The Rams inside the 30 yard line have a very real opportunity to solidify their lead.
Null fades back to pass and is nearly sacked. In desperation he throws the ball down field. The ball is picked by #34 Dominque Barber. Null played a pretty good game, but this would be the closest the Rams would get to the end zone for the remainder of the day.
Starting from their own 17, once again the Texans begin the work of dismantling the Rams secondary. A 20 yards pass to Andre Davis, a 10 yard pass to Joel Dreessen, and another 10 yard pass to Joel Dreessen. Next Schaub sets his sites on the end zone, but Rams Ron Bartell breaks it up. The next pass goes back to Joel Dreessen. Dreessen is initially met by Rams CB Danny Gorrer who misses the tackle and allows him to get down to the Rams 3 yard line.
The Texans line up strong to the left. Walter slips off to the right for a 3 yard touch down reception. Just when a painful but familiar disappointment begins to settle in the pit of my stomach, the Rams come back with a 52 yard field goal. We go into the 4th quarter all tied at 13-13.
The Texans go 3 and out and the Rams, after a nearly muffed punt reception, take over on our own 23. Jackson runs for 12 and then Avery has a catch for 8. The Rams look good. Focused. Kenneth Darby picks up a first down and we are near mid-field. Next Null hits Gibson for 9. Again Darby picks up the first down on a short yardage running play. Then it happened, #98 Barwin comes flying in and creams Null for a big sack. The Rams are forced to punt. Another faked run and a Rams penalty and the Texans take the lead with a 28 yard field goal.
This is it. There is 4:36 left on the clock and we are only down by 3 points. We get the ball on our own 23 and immediately call a screen pass to Steven Jackson who goes for 25. The Rams are hit by an untimely sack and we’re back to the 38. It is 4th and 10, 2:39 left on the clock, and both teams have 2 time outs. It doesn’t look good, but we have to go for it. But what does Spagnuolo do? He decides to punt the ball. What? I shake my head and watch the Rams kick the ball away. The Texans receive and of course call a running play. The Rams use their first time out. Another running play and Rams call their final time out. A quick first down and the game is over. What? I could see this outcome. Coach Spag and company couldn’t? Unbelievable.
Ok, many issues or events could be blamed for this loss. The defensive line’s inability to protect Null is a candidate. Or Nulls critical interception at the worst possible moment is definitely another. Perhaps the Ram’s gullible defensive secondary? But no matter the recipe for failure, it cannot be topped off with the rank smell of giving up. Spagnuolo threw in the towel which is inexcusable. The Rams have again lost a game they had an opportunity to win. We sink to an even more dismal and unfathomable 1-13.