Monday, January 4, 2010

Rams Collapse On Cue, Collect First Overall Pick

With their come-from-ahead 28-6 loss, the Rams finished dead last in the NFL and earned the first overall draft pick.

If the Rams want dominant Nebraska defensive tackle Ndumakong Suh, he is all theirs. The franchise can lock in on their first pick and even negotiate with him before the draft.

The 1-15 Rams will get their chance to add a cornerstone player for their massive rebuilding program. In this draft, the first overall pick appears to have special value.

As for Sunday’s game itself, it was an utter disaster. “It was a hard way to finish,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “We were hoping to finish on a high note and weren’t able to do that.”

This loss will rank among the most incompetent offensive performances in Rams history. Look at the particulars:

  • The Rams gained just 109 total offensive yards against the 49ers. Their net passing yardage was 22.
  • They earned just six first downs and had a staggering 2-for-18 conversion rate on third down.
  • Quarterback Keith Null completed 7 of 17 passes for 57 yards . . . and got sacked five times for 32 yards in losses. He was suffering from concussion-like symptoms after taking that beating.
  • Replacement quarterback Kyle Boller was even worse. He completed 4 of 11 passes for 23 yards . . . and got sacked three times for 26 yards in losses.
  • Receiver Donnie Avery left the game with a concussion.
  • Frustrated running back Steven Jackson blew up at Boller and the offensive line after one especially inept play resulted in a 5-yard loss.
  • Punter Donnie Jones had to kick 11 times, not counting multiple kick-overs due to penalty.

With the Rams unable to score, the 49ers finally got their offense going with some big Alex Smith completions. That led to a full-scale Rams collapse in the last eight minutes.

Frustrated defensive end Chris Long was ejected for throwing a head butt during San Francisco’s final scoring drive. What a fitting conclusion to this most unfortunate season.

Now the rebuilding continues. The Rams will continue shedding useless veterans (like tight end Randy McMichael) to clear space for free agents and draft picks.

“I do feel good about some of things we established,” Spagnuolo said. “I feel good about the guys in the locker room.

“I think there is a lot of good that came from it.”

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