ST. LOUIS — As it turned out, the Titans were more than just another opponent for the St. Louis Rams, at least for those Rams who once played for Tennessee.
Defensive end William Hayes was so upset after the 28-21 loss Sunday that he smashed a mirror in the locker room following the game, creating a gash that would require stitches to close.
“Basically, he expressed how everybody felt,” coach Jeff Fisher said Monday as his weekly presser. “It hit him hard. This game was big for him.”
While Fisher appreciated the passion of Hayes, a six-year veteran who spent his first four seasons with the Titans, the coach said, “You have to draw the line somewhere.”
“He played very well, he was just disappointed and you have to use better judgment,” Fisher said. “He got a cut on his arm. He’s fine.”
Hayes, who had one of the Rams’ four sacks of Titans quarterback Jake Locker, left the Edward Jones Dome Sunday before meeting with reporters. He isn’t expected to address media until after Wednesday’s practice. The Rams will take Tuesday off, as usual, before beginning preparations for Sunday’s game at Indianapolis.
Hayes wasn’t the only ex-Titan to get caught up playing his former team. After tight end Jared Cook, who came to St. Louis from Tennessee as a free agent last winter, caught a fourth-quarter touchdown that tied the game 21-21, he wheeled and fired the football about 20 yards.
In his third season with the Rams after six with the Titans, cornerback Cortland Finnegan didn’t bother trying to cover up the significance of losing to his former team. He played perhaps his best game of the season, intercepting his first pass since early in 2012.
“If you can get any closer to a Super Bowl without it being a Super Bowl, that’s what it was for me,” Finnegan said. “It was staying up late and watching extra film and doing everything I could to prepare myself. In fact I normally do, but just doing a little more because this team is who they were.”
Even Fisher, after spending last week downplaying the importance of playing the team he coached for 16-plus years, finally admitted there was more on the line than usual.
“At the end of the day, it’s probably going to last a little longer, hurt a little more because it was important to them,” Fisher said.
The Rams will enter their bye week after playing the Colts. St. Louis’ next home game is Nov. 24 against the Bears.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.