Fisher, Rams dealing with 5-game winless stretch
ST. LOUIS (AP)
A five-game winless stretch has the rebuilding St. Louis Rams stuck on three wins.
Coach Jeff Fisher reminded one of the NFL's youngest rosters on Monday that with more consistency, and perhaps a turnover or two, the tide will turn.
Also, how easily momentum can swing in a game.
''They didn't like it, don't like it, but they saw where their opportunities were and they understand how this thing slipped away,'' Fisher said. ''And they're determined not to let it happen again.''
Fisher was critical of some officiating calls in Sunday's 27-13 loss to the New York Jets, notably a holding penalty that nullified rookie Chris Givens' 98-yard kickoff return near the end of the half that would have given the Rams a 14-13 lead.
He added that rookie Rodney McLeod, whose technique was fine except for a prolonged tug of the jersey, could have given officials no reason to target him.
''You know, there's three holdings on their first kickoff that aren't called and all of them were more egregious than the one that was called,'' Fisher said. ''I'll just leave it at that.''
Fisher said the Jets' Chaz Schilens did a good job of acting on the play.
''When the arms go up, sometimes that's all it takes,'' the coach said. ''But we're not good enough to even put ourselves in position to where they think it's a hold.''
Fisher said he probably should have given the ball more to Steven Jackson, who averaged 6.2 yards on 13 carries for St. Louis (3-6-1).
He didn't think quarterback Sam Bradford wasn't guilty of hanging onto the ball too long while perhaps intimidated a bit by an early interception.
''They did a good job affecting coverage and taking away checkdowns. He was just trying to make plays,'' Fisher said. ''There was a couple times where he probably could have pulled it down and run a little bit and got the first down.
''He knows someone's chasing him, he doesn't know who.''
Bradford was 6 for 8 for 60 yards on the Rams' opening 13-play, 86-yard drive capped by Brandon Gibson's 1-yard scoring catch. He was 8 for 10 for 79 yards before getting picked off by Eric Smith on a short sideline pattern, and 15 for 34 for 91 yards the rest of the way.
''It was just a late throw,'' Bradford said. ''I know better than that. You can't come across the field. I tried to force it.''
Jackson shared time with backup Daryl Richardson much of the first half of the season, part of the time while recovering from a groin injury.
Fisher has said this time of the season is when they'll lean on the 235-pound bruiser who's seeking his eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season, so it was puzzling to see Richardson in the game for more than a play or two at a time.
''I think in retrospect, we probably should have fed `Jack' a little more,'' Fisher said. ''I talked to him today about it. He ran over some people, some good players.
''We're going to have to commit to that.''
A few turnovers, or just one, would help the Rams dictate terms. According to STATS LLC, they're just the second team since 1950 to go five games without a takeaway.
''You get a bounce here and there, but right now they're not bouncing our way,'' safety Quintin Mikell said. ''It's crazy, because that could be the difference in the game.''
The Rams had appeared to be poised for a surge after outplaying powerful San Francisco the previous week. Because of crucial mistakes, they settled for a tie.
''I don't believe in the whole `step forward, step back' stuff,'' middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. ''We definitely viewed this as a game that we thought we could get, and it's disappointing to lose one at home.
''I'm not going to lie about it. We have to figure out how to win games like these.''
The second half was all Jets. They put up 27 unanswered points before the Rams got a late score on Gibson's second TD grab, and not counting a kneel-down on the final play their last 21 snaps were all in St. Louis territory.
The Rams had six snaps in Jets territory the first possession and two more in the second quarter, but none in the third.
''Field position was tough, especially in the third quarter,'' Fisher said. ''Field position played a big part in the game.''
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