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News » St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-10-14

St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-10-14

St. Louis Rams Inside Slant 2008-10-14
Ever since he was named head coach of the Rams after the firing of Scott Linehan, Jim Haslett has delivered one consistent message: Don't hang your heads after bad plays. Keep playing. Respond to adversity because there will be adversity.

And that's what happened in Sunday's 19-17 victory over the Washington Redskins. The adversity started early. The Rams had 12 players on the field on Washington's first third-down attempt. It gave the Redskins a first down.

The Rams stopped them, but Dante Hall wasn't able to field a short punt, and it was downed at the 3-yard line. On the second play, running back Steven Jackson fumbled, the Redskins recovered, and on the next play, Clinton Portis scored.

Haslett said Monday, "I was actually laughing at the time. I said to one of the coaches, 'I've been talking about dealing with adversity all week, and it's sure starting early.'"

But the Rams responded. They forced three turnovers in the first half, the first for the Redskins on offense this season. All three were in Rams territory. One, a fumble by guard Pete Kendall, who caught a deflected pass and tried to run, was returned 75 yards for a touchdown by safety Oshiomogho Atogwe with nine seconds left in the first half. The Rams led 10-7 instead of trailing 10-3 or 14-3.

By the time the game ended, the Rams had 168 fewer yards, 14 fewer first downs and 105 fewer rushing yards. But a 49-yard field goal by Josh Brown on the final play won the game, and even that was made more difficult because of a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on guard Richie Incognito.

Said Haslett, "I think they handled it pretty well today. I'd say there were some adverse situations today. But that's the National Football League, and that's how it is. You have to give my guys credit; they worked their butts off today. It's not easy coming in here and winning."

Said Atogwe: "The first quarter of the season is over and done with. We had to just get on with the rest of the season's ballgames and see what we can do with it. I think that everyone took that approach. We came in with new energy and a new resolve about how we wanted to handle the season."

Of course, the trip to Washington would have been a disappointing one had rookie receiver Donnie Avery not made the catch he did on third-and-13 and if Brown hadn't calmly drilled the 49-yard field goal that won the game.

The Rams had squandered a 16-7 fourth-quarter lead and were trailing 17-16 with 1:13 remaining and the ball on their own 41-yard line. Three plays earlier, quarterback Marc Bulger had connected with Avery on a 12-yard pass on third-and-2. On the next third down, Avery streaked down the right sideline and made an outstanding adjustment to the inside en route to a diving catch for a 43-yard gain.

It was left to Bulger to break things down to their bare essentials, noting the fine line that exists between winning and losing in the roller-coaster NFL.

"Coach Haslett did a good job," Bulger said. "He got us on point, and we knew exactly what is expected of us. There are no question marks. He is a fiery guy. We made plays when we had to, (but) if Donnie doesn't make that play, then there are a lot of question marks."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 14, 2008

Victor Adeyanju Name: Victor Adeyanju
Position: DE
Age: 25
Experience: 3 years
College: Indiana
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