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Defense Battles On

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by -X-, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer
    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.stlouisrams.com/news-and-events/article-1/Defense-Battles-On/8f15c2a7-c27b-460f-92e4-9981499b9255" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.stlouisrams.com/news-and-eve ... 81499b9255</a>

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    For the fourth consecutive week, the Rams defense turned in a strong performance. Although it wasn’t enough to get the team a victory, it was enough to put the Rams in position to get one.

    “I thought the defensive guys were battling their butts off,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I really do. I’ve got to credit them that way. I felt it over on the sideline. They never stopped battling. It’s hard to play defense when you’re behind and it’s hard to win games when you only score seven points.”

    Despite the rash of injuries in the secondary, that group continues to compete and the Rams continue to get stout performances from their defensive line.

    In Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks, the Rams came up with tackles for loss, sacks and interceptions in another solid effort.

    All told, the Seahawks had just 289 yards of offense, as the Rams posted four sacks, a pair of interceptions and held Seattle to just 3.2 yards per carry on 39 rushing attempts.

    Always his own toughest critic, middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who had 13 tackles in unofficial pressbox statistics and was also unofficially all over the field, said that no matter how well the defense did, it wasn’t enough because the Rams didn’t get the win.

    “I’m never going to say that with a loss,” Laurinaitis said. “That’s not just being politically correct. I’ve been raised in a football mindset that if our offense gets three, the only thing we can give up is a safety. We have got to find a way. We didn’t find a way today. We got that 7, then we have got to find a way to hold them to a couple of field goals or something and go 7-6 or something. We have got to find a way.”

    Regardless of those protestations, the Rams did piece together another strong defensive effort.

    And it all started at the beginning after they were snookered by a trick play. On the game’s first offensive play, Seattle receiver Sidney Rice took a handoff and ran to the right before unleashing a long pass down the right sideline to wideout Mike Williams for a gain of 55 yards.

    That would be it for awhile though as the Rams followed with interceptions from linebacker Chris Chamberlain and safety Quintin Mikell.

    For Chamberlain, it was the first pick of his career and came only days after his first child was born. It was Mikell’s second interception of the season.

    “We were able to make some plays,” Laurinaitis said. “Chris Chamberlain made a great interception. The ball was thrown right to him and you’ve got to catch ‘em when they are thrown to you. He made a good break. It was something we had seen on film and Chris practices hard so it was a good play. Quintin Mikell made a huge play. So we were able to force turnovers. That helps with field position and helps with momentum.”

    The defensive line, meanwhile, was at its pass rushing best again, creating regular pressure on Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and getting to him four times.

    End Chris Long registered his ninth sack of the season, which set a career high tally for him. Rookie Robert Quinn notched another sack, his fourth of the season as did James Hall.

    Safety Darian Stewart also got into the act with his first sack of the season and second of his career.

    Despite all of that, the Rams remained unsatisfied, which might be a good thing considering that the longer the chip remains on their collective shoulder, the better they seem to play defensively.

    “We started off, got some turnovers and we were pretty stingy,” cornerback Justin King said. “But they made some plays and put points on the board so obviously it wasn’t good enough.”

    TACKLE CHANGES: The news that starting left tackle Rodger Saffold suffered a pectoral injury on Friday while lifting weights turned into devastating news when it was revealed later in the day he had torn it.

    On Saturday, the Rams made it official as they placed Saffold on injured reserve, ending his season. That left the starting job to Mark LeVoir, who filled in when Saffold suffered a concussion last week against Cleveland.

    LeVoir started Sunday against the Seahawks but didn’t finish as he suffered a right pectoral injury of his own in the first quarter.

    Kevin Hughes, the rookie called up from the practice squad to replace Saffold on the roster, went from practice squad to active roster to game n a matter of moments.

    Hughes said he wasn’t bothered by the whirlwind.

    “I was just ready, expecting anything,” Hughes said. “I was ready for anything. Coach had prepared me all week long.”

    It was a bit of a rude awakening for Hughes, who found himself matched up with Seattle end Chris Clemons most of the day. Clemons, Seattle’s top pass rusher, finished with three sacks on the day and harassed quarterback Sam Bradford for most of it.

    “It was fast,” Hughes said. “It was what I thought it was. I have a lot to work on. Pass sets, just get in there, look at the film, see what coach has to correct me on. The little things, the big things, we’ll go from there.”

    KING PLAYS: King suffered a sprained ankle during practice Thursday and did not practice Friday, leaving his status in doubt for the game against the Seahawks.

    But there King was on Sunday in his usual spot as the game got underway.

    “We tested it out earlier,” King said. “Everything checked out. I made it up and went out there and played.”

    Playing with the help of a pregame injection, King said he made it through the game OK and didn’t believe the injury affected his performance.

    “Throughout the course of the game, the meds started to wear off a little bit,” King said. “The ground and pound of the game starts to make it a little sore but it didn’t have to do with any aspect of my performance.”

    INJURY REPORT: On the injury front, the Rams were again banged up pretty good leaving Sunday’s game.

    Defensive end Chris Long suffered an ankle injury in the first half but was able to finish the game.

    In addition to LeVoir’s injury, linebacker Josh Hull aggravated his hamstring injury early in the proceedings and also did not return. Tight end Lance Kendricks took a hard hit late in the game and also did not return.

    Receiver Austin Pettis took a shot to the knee and was in and out for the rest of the game. Cornerback Marquis Johnson was hit in the ribs and defensive tackle Justin Bannan injured his shoulder.

    All of those injuries will be evaluated further on Monday morning to see the full extent.
     
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