St. Louis Rams Must Overcome Physical and Mental Pain of Monday Night’s Close-Call
After a day to soak in the pseudo glory of being a moral victor, the St. Louis Rams must get back to the grind with a big-time opponent waiting on the schedule this coming Sunday. On the short-week the now even more beaten up Rams prepare for the task of facing the Tennessee Titans who will make the short trek westward to the Edward Jones Dome. Injuries could certainly play a big role in the upcoming matchup, but just how much will the previous near miss wear on the team during the weekly preparation leading up to the contest?
Beginning on the injury front, the biggest offensive positive from the Monday night affair in running back Zac Stacy was not even available for the hotly debated late-game goal line failure due to an ankle sprain he suffered in the series prior. The team got optimistic news that he will be able to battle through the injury and be prepare to continue manning the starting spot in the backfield as the sprain has been revealed as the low variety and not the nagging high type of injury. Stacy’s bowling ball style of bouncing off of tacklers and essentially bulldozing anything in his way will allow him to make the injury a distant memory by the time the game rolls around on Sunday.
Another key piece to the running game, guard Harvey Dahl, was also injured during the contest with an MCL issue. The Rams are still awaiting word on the severity of his ailment, but guard Shelley Smith filled in adequately in Dahl’s absence to make the issue less pressing. Still, the majority of Stacy’s running success came with Dahl on the field, and there’s no doubt the Rams could use his veteran presence in a bounce-back game this weekend.
As for the task of forgetting the previous failure and moving on, that will be a bit more troublesome. Quarterback Kellen Clemens can’t play much worse than he did in first game under center, and the Rams have to keep him out of situations where turnovers could occur. Clemens gave the ball away on three occasions Monday night (two interceptions, one fumble) which could have been the difference between a win and a loss in a game so tight. Head coach Jeff Fisher also said that Clemens was feeling the pain of the beating physically as the St. Louis offensive line was a sieve trying to protect the backup QB. He may be limited in practice, but film study may do Clemens more good than anything heading into a meeting with yet another stingy defense in the Titans.
Getting beyond the physical pain will be much easier than moving on from the mental anguish of Monday night’s loss, but the Rams need to focus on getting back in the win column in their second home game of a back-to-back. Hopefully their defense can continue to be on lockdown against an offensively limited Titans team with Jake Locker still trying to find his way under center. It may be another physical war of attrition, but that is the style of game the Rams are going to have to start winning from here on out.