Elation. Euphoria. Excitement.
Words used to describe NFL powerhouses like the Packers but words that were rarely uttered anywhere near St. Louis until today.
The lowly Rams hosted the supercharged Saints and took every punch New Orleans threw, emerging from the dust with a 31-21 victory.
The Rams seemed to finally put it all together, playing to their strengths and relying on grit and guts to harass Drew Brees and put a stranglehold on a game no one expected them to win.
The game ball goes to Steven Jackson, who has endured more than any man should with these Rams teams and today cemented his place as a St. Louis legend.
He amassed 159 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, bursting through huge lanes paved by the right side of an inspired Rams offensive line.
Most importantly, he showed fire and leadership, holding the offense and Rodger Saffold particularly accountable for getting this win.
James Laurinaitis and Chris Long finally stepped up, responding to the challenge and emerging into the leaders they have been expected to be all season.
Laurinaitis: 10 tackles and a sack, Long: three sacks and three tackles for loss along with three quarterback hits.
The younger guys on defense played well too, with a sack and constant pressure from Robert Quinn and game sealing interceptions from Darian Stewart and Josh Gordy.
The team wasn’t particularly flashy but showed the necessary traits of an organization that might be putting it all together.
Solid run blocking, converting red zone chances and taking shots in the passing game show the Rams may be figuring out how to play to their strengths instead of succumbing to their weaknesses.
It is only one win and some perspective is needed but there is finally a refreshing sense of hope that has been absent for the entire season.
If they can build on this win, maybe the next few words to associate with these Rams will start with “E” too.
Emergence. Expectations. Excellence.