Golly, are any puke fans actually worried about the Rams? This should be a very easy win for the pukes.
By Jim Thomas
Sunday, Sep. 30 2007
IRVING, TEXAS — Long before the injuries hit, the suspensions started and the offense sputtered, most observers looked at the Rams' 2007 schedule and put an"L" next to Sept. 30 at Dallas.
As in loss. And that was before anyone knew the Cowboys would start 3-0 for thefirst time since 1999. That their offense would be scoring points at a
"Greatest Show on Turf" pace. That their defense would play better than
Take into account all of that, and it's almost impossible to see the winless
Rams (0-3) coming out of Texas Stadium with a victory Sunday.
"As a defender, these are the kinds of games you play for," linebacker Pisa
Tinoisamoa said. "No one thinks we can win. It's kind of like one of those
movies where you're like: 'All right, nobody thinks we can win. What are we
going to do? Are we just going to buy into what everyone thinks? Or are we
going to go ahead and show them what we think? Which is the opposite.'"
Make no mistake, the oddsmakers definitely don't think the Rams will win. They have installed the Rams as 13-point underdogs. According to official Las Vegas point-spread records, the Rams haven't been that big of an underdog since before the 1999 Super Bowl championship season.
In the NFL this season, only New England in Week 3 — a 16½-point favorite over Buffalo — has been more heavily favored than the Cowboys over the Rams.
"We know that we're heavy underdogs, and we're using that for motivation to go in there and give a great effort," coach Scott Linehan said. "We expect to go down there and be successful."
Easier said than done. In Dallas, wide receiver Terrell Owens is happy.
Quarterback Tony Romo is hot. Running back Marion Barber has been a monster.And the offensive line is big and nasty. The Cowboys already have scored 116 points. Only the 2000 Rams (with 119 points) have scored more in their first three games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
"They have a very good offense, no question about it," said defensive tackle
La'Roi Glover, a former Cowboy. "The scheme is good, the players are good,
they're rolling right now. It'll be a heck of a challenge for us, if not the
biggest challenge (of the season)."
Believe it or not, the game pits the NFC's No. 1 offense (Dallas) against the
NFC's No. 1 defense (St. Louis). That's right. The Rams have the NFC's
top-rated team in total defense, which ranks teams according to yards allowed.
"Didn't know that," defensive end Leonard Little said. "Right now this team is
just worried about winning our first game."
And finishing games. That was the mantra all week long at Rams Park,
particularly among the defensive players.
"We've just got to finish," Little said. "I mean, it's a game of four quarters.
Not three. Not 3½. But four quarters. We've played well for three quarters in
our first three games of the year. In the fourth quarter, we seem to fall
The Rams have been outscored 51-9 in the second half this season, and 30-6 in the fourth quarter. The fourth-quarter woes were particularly evident against Carolina and Tampa Bay, with both teams pounding away at the Rams on the ground down the stretch. The Panthers gained 72 yards on 16 carries in the fourth quarter. In Tampa, the Buccaneers rushed for 101 yards on 15 carries in the fourth quarter.
Are there letdowns? Is the defense pressing to make something happen late in
"Who knows?" Glover said. "I don't know if there's one or two or three things
you can put your finger on. But from today forward, we're looking for
Solving Dallas won't be easy, because the Cowboys have been excellent
finishers. The Cowboys have scored 48 points in the fourth quarter alone, more than seven NFL teams — Rams included — have scored all season.
Against Miami, the Cowboys rushed for 96 yards on 14 carries in the fourth
quarter. Against Chicago, the Cowboys rushed for 92 yards on 13 carries in the final quarter.
With only two touchdowns all season, the Rams' offense must try to keep up with Dallas, despite missing three offensive line starters to injury, plus running
back Steven Jackson (groin).
In addition, the Rams will be facing a 3-4 defensive front similar to the one
they struggled with against San Francisco.
So there's no easy way out of their winless ways for the Rams.
"I've thought a lot the last Monday, Tuesday, what can we do better?"
quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We're losing these guys. We lost Steven now. But they're all excuses. And losers make excuses. Our head coach isn't a loser.
"All I can do as a player is control what I do. I can't worry about who's
playing. Who's practicing. Who's out. ... I can just control what I do. And I
think as long as everyone on the team does that, then we'll start winning