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Article Credit: Vincent Bonsignore (OC Register)
With a chance to move to 4-1, strengthen their hold on first place in the NFC West and hit the road for games in Detroit and against the Giants in London swirling in positive vibes, the Rams shot themselves in the foot Sunday in a 30-19 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
In the process, it exposed a couple predictable albeit frustrating truths.
• The Rams’ margin of error is nil. They don’t necessarily need a perfect performance to win, but close to it.
• And they certainly aren’t equipped to deal with a slew of injuries, critical turnovers and curious coaching decisions. All of which they dealt with Sunday.
Here are some observations:
FISHER GOT A LITTLE TOO CUTE
It was bad enough Rams coach Jeff Fisher opted against trying to tie the game with his team facing fourth-and-goal at the Bills’ 4-yard-line with just under six minutes to play. But trailing, 23-16, he opted for the sure three points.
In retrospect, why not go for it and try to knot the score? Worst-case scenario you’ve pinned the Bills inside their 5 with plenty of time to get the ball back.
That decision was bad enough.
But then to call a fake punt at the Rams’ 23-yard-line down four points with just under four minutes left – with all three timeouts and the two-minute warning available to stop the clock – was just egregious.
The botched call cost the Rams dearly. The Bills easily snuffed it out, setting themselves up 24 yards from the end zone, and then quickly delivered the knockout punch to put the Rams away.
Not smart. At all.
“I wouldn’t have called it if I didn’t think it was going to work,” Fisher said. “That’s how those things are. We practiced it all week, we had the look, and it didn’t work. I’ll take that. They executed it in practice, but they didn’t execute it there. I thought if that thing works it’s good stuff, really good stuff – but it didn’t. They don’t always work, but that type of approach in special teams has taken us a long ways.”
Still a bad call.
KEENUM HAD A BAD DAY
No one is expecting Case Keenum to single-handedly win games for the Rams. He simply isn’t equipped to take games over in that manner.
But his job is to steer the Rams clear of negative consequences – in other words, don’t lose the game – and on Sunday he didn’t do that.
Keenum threw two interceptions – against zero touchdowns – and the second was an absolute back-breaker as it went for a touchdown that ultimately won the game for the Bills.
The Rams aren’t nearly talented enough to overcome those types of mistakes.
“I have to watch the film and I have to see what exactly happened. But, I can’t do that, I can’t do that – especially in this league, across the board there’s guys who will make that play,” Keenum said. “I can’t put my team in that situation, obviously. But, the game came down to one or two plays, and that was one play that I want back.”