Bumbling Rams, beat-up Seahawks playing out string Print
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Friday, 12 December 2008 12:11
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 ST. LOUIS (AP) -The St. Louis Rams' season has gone so sour, even the kicker is catching heat. The Seattle Seahawks can relate, at least this season.
Booed during his Seattle homecoming in September, Josh Brown just might hear it from disgruntled home fans searching for ways to vent in Sunday's unattractive rematch of downtrodden 2-11 teams. The game, which fell a few thousand tickets shy of a sellout on Thursday, is the fifth in three seasons to be blacked out on local television.
Overlooking Steven Jackson's two lost fumbles, coach Jim Haslett said several times that Brown's shanked 42-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter of a 24-point loss at Arizona last week was the ``most disappointing play'' of the game.
reaction might seem a bit cavalier.
``It's an unfortunate thing and it sets the team back,'' Brown said. ``Does it win or lose the game? No, I don't think so. There's still 45 minutes left in the game.''
The best news for the Rams is there's only 180 minutes left in the season before the rebuilding begins. Perhaps it'll be under Haslett, who inherited an 0-4 mess from Scott Linehan and gave the franchise a jolt of adrenaline with victories over the Redskins and Cowboys in his first two games. Or perhaps not, given their return to lopsided losses in recent weeks.
The Rams have committed 21 turnovers in the last six losses, and Haslett knows ball security is the key if they're to have any success in the final three games.
``We're going to go out there and play hard and try to do the right things,'' Haslett said. ``But we can't commit turnovers, we can't put the ball on the ground and we can't miss field goals. That's kind of an ongoing thing.''
An avalanche of injuries has submerged the Seahawks as the 10-year Mike Holmgren era winds down. Six opening-day starters are on injured reserve, four of them offensive linemen, and he's churned through eight wide receivers while enduring only the third losing record in 17 seasons as a head coach.
think it's fair, but keep your chins up. This type of situation will never happen again.''
After taking next season off, Holmgren said it's a ``99 percent'' certainty that he'll return to football.
``I hope there will be opportunities after I take my sabbatical, but who knows?'' Holmgren said. ``I'm just going to kind of be open and try and enjoy the time, enjoy some of the months I've never really enjoyed before, at least in another way.
``Never say never is going to be my motto.''
Skipping 2009 would remove Holmgren from a pool of coaching candidates should the Rams decide to conduct a search.
``I know this: I think I need the time off now,'' Holmgren said. ``It's highly unlikely that I do anything after this year.''
Just like the Rams, the four-time defending NFC West champions are trending for a top five draft pick next April. They've lost six in a row, although not with anywhere near the hopelessness of most of the Rams' setbacks - as evidenced by a three-point loss to the Patriots last week.
Despite their myriad personnel issues, the Seahawks also lost by a combined 11 points to the Redskins, Cardinals and Dolphins during the current slump. They've won seven straight over the Rams and are using the tactics of excitable St. Louis guard Richie Incognito as a rallying point to make it eight in a row.
37-13 win in Seattle in September because Incognito was wrenching linebacker Leroy Hill's ankle at the end of a play.
``You just have to be smart when you play against a guy like that,'' defensive tackle Rocky Bernard said. ``You don't want to hurt your team by doing something stupid against a guy who takes a lot of cheap shots out there.''
With just a few exceptions, the Rams have been slapped around under both Linehan and Haslett. After losing by seven points at New England in Game 3 under Haslett, St. Louis has been competitive only in a four-point loss to the Dolphins two weeks ago.
Quarterback has been a problem position for both teams. The Seahawks' Matt Hasselbeck will miss his seventh game because of a bulging disk in his back that could require surgery. Backup Seneca Wallace matched a career best with three touchdown passes last week, though.
Offensive tackle Walter Jones, an eight-time Pro Bowler, had microfracture surgery on his left knee on Thursday and will miss only his second game because of injury since 1997, a span of 182 games.
``If Matt could not play for the rest of the season, and I'm not saying that's going to happen, but if that were to happen, I would hope Seneca could stay healthy and just finish the year really strong,'' Holmgren said.
nts. The Rams trail the NFL by a wide margin in trips inside the red zone (21) and touchdowns inside the 20 (6).
``You can't get down too much,'' Bulger said. ``We dug our own grave, and once you get eliminated you have to have fun. You have to include fun, because if you don't then the season would never end.''
There's plenty of disappointment to go around, many reasons to boo. If he weren't playing, Rams cornerback Ron Bartell wouldn't purchase a ticket to this dog.
``With the economy the way it is? No,'' Bartell said. ``We're in a tough spot, they're in a tough spot. They want to see a good product and we haven't been giving them a good product, so I can understand their frustration.''
 

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