TSX: St. Louis Rams Come Up Short

Steven Jackson (Getty/Ezra Shaw)

For the second straight week, the Rams went down to the wire in hopes of registering a win. For the second straight week, they came up short.

After a 16-14 loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Rams have now lost their first two games by a combined total of six points. But, there are no moral victories in the NFL, and now the Rams host the Washington Redskins having lost their last 10 games.

"We didn't deserve to win that game," cornerback Ron Bartell said. "That's two weeks in a row we let one slip through our hands, so obviously we're still learning how to win. We need to hurry up and figure that out.

"This is a black-and-white business; there's no shades of gray. Either you win or you lose."

Running back Steven Jackson voiced the same sentiment, saying, "We have to figure out how to do all the little things so we can win."

The Rams will be facing their former defensive coordinator and head coach Jim Haslett, who is now Washington's defensive coordinator. He knows not a lot has changed with the Rams' offense, even with rookie quarterback Sam Bradford at the controls.

Until the Rams provide Bradford with more playmakers in the passing game, opponents will do what they can to stop Jackson. The Raiders weren't able to early.

After the first three possessions, when the Rams grabbed a 7-0 lead with 12:04 remaining in the second quarter, Jackson had 10 rushes for 60 yards and two receptions for 41. He appeared on the way to a huge game.

However, the going was rough for the remainder of the game as added just 15 yards on nine carries and nine yards on two receptions to his totals.

Asked what made it so difficult to move the ball in the second half when the Rams had a meager 17 yards in five possessions prior to their final touchdown drive, coach Steve Spagnuolo said, "We didn't run the ball as effectively and I think that changes everything. That's a pretty fast defense that they had and all of a sudden that speed gets turned on and makes it tough."

Said Jackson, "Oakland did a good job. The first half of the game we had some very favorable running formations. They went in and made some adjustments as a coaching staff and as a defense. They took away what we were doing, started pressuring Sam and that's how they were able to establish themselves in the second half."

Certainly, Washington will try to do more of the same.

BY THE NUMBERS: After running 81 plays from scrimmage against Arizona, the Rams had just 49 against Oakland. In their first three possessions against the Raiders, the Rams had 129 yards on 21 plays with nine first downs and time of possession of 12:13. In their next eight possessions, they had the ball for 10:58, gaining 42 yards on 24 plays with just three first downs.

LINEUP WATCH: Safety Craig Dahl played as the nickel linebacker because of the absence of Chris Chamberlain, who suffered a fractured toe in the season opener. Dahl left in the second half because of a concussion and was replaced by undrafted rookie safety Darian Stewart. Dahl had eight tackles plus two on special teams before being hurt.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

- OT Rodger Saffold left the game in the second half because of a back injury and was replaced by Renardo Foster. Saffold did return to the lineup.

- S Craig Dahl, who also comes up and plays as a linebacker in the nickel defense, left the game because of a concussion in the second half.

- TE Daniel Fells injured his knee on a 36-yard pass reception in the first quarter. He returned for some plays, but didn't have another reception for the rest of the game.

- TE Billy Bajema suffered a knee injury, the severity of which is unknown.

- CB Marquis Johnson was signed to the active roster from the practice squad Saturday because of injuries at cornerback. Both Kevin Dockery and Justin king (hamstrings) were inactive for the game.

- CB Justin King did some work in practice Friday, but coaches didn't want to take a chance Sunday and he was inactive against the Raiders because of a hamstring injury.

- DT Clifton Ryan did not make the trip to Oakland in the aftermath of his hospitalization Wednesday night because of migraines. Ryan did not practice Thursday or Friday, although he worked out on the side Friday. A report on NFL Network said Ryan was suffering from post-concussion symptoms, but the Rams have said nothing about a concussion.

- QB Thaddeus Lewis was waived Saturday and the Rams played the game against Oakland with just two quarterbacks on the roster. He is expected to be added back to the roster after clearing waivers Monday.

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