Rams need to rid bad taste quickly

BY foxsports • September 24, 2013

Playing catch-up is nothing new for the St. Louis Rams, who have trailed by double digits in every game.

Week 3 was a step way down because they never got going, and now must rebound in a hurry.

Coach Jeff Fisher said because the schedule is compressed heading into Thursday night's game against San Francisco, the 31-7 loss at Dallas cannot linger. Mistakes would be pointed out, players would be told where they need to improve, and then it's on to the next game.

''They'll be fine,'' Fisher said. ''All you have to do is put on a series here or a series there of our matchup last year, either one of the two games against the 49ers, and we'll have their attention.''

Fisher thought the 49ers ''probably see themselves in the same situation'' after losing 27-7 at home to the Colts.

He turned a bit testy on the subject, noting he's been coaching a long time and knows how to make a quick transition. He said he wasn't worried about players recovering, either.

''We have a philosophy here in the building and we're going to follow that philosophy as far as how we go about correcting things on short weeks, on long weeks, on bye weeks and things like that,'' Fisher said.

''And that's our business. I've been doing this a long time and we're going to get it done, and we're going to have their focus on the 49ers.''

St. Louis overcame an 11-point deficit to beat Arizona in the opener and shaved a 21-point gap to one touchdown in a loss at Atlanta in the opener. The Cowboys led 24-0 in the third quarter Sunday.

It was far out of character for St. Louis in two seasons under Fisher, a mix of dropped passes, terrible protection, untimely penalties, botched trick plays and soft defense.

It was unrelentingly ugly, a blast from the sorry past.

''You'd like to think that this shouldn't happen,'' Sam Bradford said. ''It wouldn't happen. You know, maybe this is a good reality check for us.''

They have next to no time to reboot the system, but there's good news, too.

''We don't have to think about this one for too long,'' Bradford said.

The Rams had been the only team in the NFL not to have allowed a sack this season before Dallas racked up six sacks and several other hard hits on Bradford.

St. Louis mustered 18 total yards in the first half, with none of their seven possessions lasting longer than four plays, and was 0 for 10 on third down before a pass interference call in its favor in the fourth period. The Cowboys scored on their first three drives for a 17-0 cushion behind 175 yards rushing by DeMarco Murray, a player the Rams cannot stop.

Murray has just five career 100-yard games, also setting a franchise record with 253 yards against St. Louis in 2011.

''I just think it was coincidence that he had two really big games against us in the two times he's played us,'' said defensive end Chris Long, among the few holdovers from that game. ''We can only control right now, though.''

The Cowboys thought they got room to run because the Rams had gotten burned by Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones the previous week and didn't want a repeat from Dez Bryant.

''They started out the game trying to play some inverted type coverages and they had to get away from that,'' Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said. ''It's nice to just give them the ball and just let those guys go.''

The Rams were so thoroughly outplayed that they used a no-huddle offense only sparingly.

''When you've got a good pass rush on defense and you go hurry-up because you're behind and you're one-dimensional, it plays into the defense's hands,'' Fisher said.

The Rams are the youngest team in the NFL, but no one was spared.

Offensive tackle Jake Long got steamrolled at least twice and was replaced late by Max Starks, presumably just to check out the newcomer.

Linebacker Will Witherspoon was late getting to his spot and then drifted in coverage on a touchdown catch by rookie Gavin Escobar that made it 24-0.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org


Follow R.B. Fallstrom on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rbfallstromAP

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