Rams’ offense has another lousy day
At least for one week, the St. Louis Rams got the defense
straightened out. The offense is another story.
Coach Steve Spagnuolo spent most of his Monday news conference
answering questions about a feeble attack that was held without a
touchdown for the fourth time this season in a 17-9 loss at
Chicago. Six times they’ve been held to 10 or fewer points and
they’ve scored only 14 touchdowns, one-fourth the New Orleans
Saints’ league-leading total.
The game plan has been consistently conservative for the Rams
(1-11). Only a handful of plays attempted to stretch the field
against the Bears, and Spagnuolo has no plans on opening things up
the rest of the way.
“We’re going to go with five wideouts,” Spagnuolo said with a
touch of sarcasm. “Do we need more points? Yeah, there’s other
ways to do it, and we’ll do that.”
The Rams (1-11) have one dangerous skill player, running back
Steven Jackson, and everyone knows it. Jackson had 112 yards on 28
carries despite a sore back and the near certainty he’d be taking
the handoff on first down, with the Bears crowding the line.
“Eight-man fronts, you take the risk,” Spagnuolo said. “If
somebody pops one it goes for a long one. All it takes is a couple
Or a couple of nice passes. But Kyle Boller, who lost his 10th
straight start dating to 2007 with the Ravens, totaled 113 yards
passing with a long gain of 21 yards in his second straight start
in place of injured Marc Bulger.
The Rams have only one other healthy quarterback, rookie Keith
Null, and Spagnuolo reiterated he has no plans to get the
sixth-round pick on the field.
An exceptional day on special teams, with three of Donnie Jones’
punts downed inside the 5, contributed to frequently favorable
field position against the Bears. Seven of their 13 possessions
began at no worse than the St. Louis 41, and nine times they
All of which meant very little to the bottom line.
Spagnuolo didn’t seem to think it was necessary to throw the
occasional deep ball, if only to keep defenses honest.
“We all know Steven’s the featured guy here, so I don’t think
we’re going to drive anybody out of what they do stopping the
run,” the coach said. “But we’ll find other ways to move the ball
No matter how bad it’s looked on a weekly basis, Spagnuolo has
no problems with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The Rams have
been thin all season on offense, especially at wide receiver where
second-year man Donnie Avery is the designated veteran.
Spagnuolo also took responsibility for a run call on
third-and-11 from the Bears’ 32 early in the fourth quarter with
the Rams trailing 17-6. Jackson was stopped for no gain and the
Rams settled for Josh Brown’s third field goal, a 50-yarder.
Spagnuolo pointed out the Rams were 2 for 14 on third-down
conversions, and said he didn’t want to lose yardage. He also
defended a tendency to call pass plays shorter than the yardage
necessary for a first down, pointing out that players are allowed
to make yards after the catch.
“We all realize that, right?” he said. “It’s not a play to
say, ‘We’re just going to get 5 yards and punt the ball