- a little world; especially : the human race or human nature seen as an epitome of the world or the universe
- a community or other unity that is an epitome of a larger unity
- the Rams’ season-ending game against the 49ers, as compared to the entire suckfest known as 2009
Okay, ask any Rams fan, what are the things that have driven you crazy this season? And did we see those same exact things in this game?
- Terrible quarterbacking. Check.
- Wide receivers that can’t get open downfield. Check.
- A defense that plays tough competitive football for three and a half quarters. Check.
- Too many penalties. Big Check.
- More terrible quarterbacking. Check
- A porous offensive line. Check.
- Rookie knee injuries, courtesy of the Jones Dome turf. Check.
- Rams’ opponents make second-half adjustments, Rams don’t. Check.
- Play-it-safe coaching when the game is on the line. More than anything else, Check.
- Head-butts. Check.
- And ultimately, a blowout at the hands of a divisional opponent. Check.
About the only thing we didn’t see was hair-brained Shurmur play-calling on offense, as I thought he did a better job of trying to mix things up. Our players just couldn’t execute.
And speaking of players not executing, pity poor Roger Allen III, a camp body and practice squad guy who really should not have been on the field. But because of injuries to Bell and Setterstrom and the release of Richie Incognito, Allen was shoved into the starting lineup. A local guy playing in his first (and possibly last) career NFL game, all his family was in attendance to see him get embarrassed throughout the first quarter by the amped-up Justin Smith. (It’s possible that Allen had never seen a 3-4 pass rush.) Then, just as he gets it together, and blocks two 49ers on the same play, his knee crumples and he is carried off the field.
It was just one of many miscues at the dome, the first of which was before the opening kickoff.
San Francisco seemed to want no part of an Isaac celebration, either. Bruce lined up for only one play — the game’s first — and with no chance for the stadium announcers to call attention to his appearance or departure, they yanked him off and he spent the rest of the game on the sideline, and the entire second half in his street clothes.
The Rams’ defense played spectacularly well in the first half, or perhaps Alex Smith and the Niners played spectacularly poorly. However, as in so many games in the past, the offense could pick up zero momentum from the defense’s stands. Null was hit countless times, and there were no holes for Jackson. In short, our offense got nada until Allen’s departure. We had a brief semblance of a pocket with Goldberg switching over to left guard and Trautwein at right tackle, which led to two short drives, two long field goal tries, and 3 points at the half.
The second half opened with a change of offensive tactics and a sudden burst of good blocking for the Niners, freeing Gore for a long run that set up a touchdown. The Rams ultimately adjusted and gave their offense chance after chance to counter, but only a long punt return by Danny Amendola (Check.) set them up with a scoring chance.
After 9 yards on three runs, though, the game’s turning point came on — stop me if you’ve heard this one — a botched 4th and 1 call in the fourth quarter. Down 7-3, Spagnuolo opened his book of “Chicken Soup for the Coach’s Soul,” a bland collection of play-it-safe homilies that somehow inspired him to send in the field goal unit. Because if there’s anything better than losing by four, it’s losing by one. Right, coach? Oh wait, would going for the win have been a good idea there instead? Maybe I should read that book of yours, so I can understand what the hell was going on there.
Demoralized, the Rams’ defense gave up touchdowns on three consecutive drives. And Chris Long, who had played a hell of a game, got himself ejected with a head-butt along the way. Game over. Season over. Go home Rams fans, nothing more to see here.
Oh, and if you did happen to stick around long enough, the cameras eventually caught Isaac Bruce on the sidelines and put him on the Jumbotron. So all of 5,000 fans could salute him on their way to the exit. Good work, Rams.
And so the horned ones finish this season the way they started, winless in the division, and winless at home. They were outscored by 124 points in the six NFC West games, almost three touchdowns per contest. And outscored by 131 in their eight home games. It looked, for a brief moment, as though the Rams might be ready to leave those curses behind them in 2009, and notch the first win of the calendar year 2010. But it was not to be.
If there’s a sentiment for this ill-fated season, that’s it in a nutshell. It was just not to be.