Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sloppy Finale but a Victory for Rams

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sloppy Finale but a Victory for Rams

Article excerpt

Pity the poor fans that paid for their tickets in the half-empty Edward Jones Dome on Thursday night. It wasn't as much a preseason game as it was a slop-fest for the Rams against Baltimore.

With most of the Rams' starters and all of the Ravens' frontline players resting, the best that can be said about the proceedings is that it's over. The preseason, that is. Next stop for St. Louis is the season opener Sept. 8 against visiting Arizona. Judging by what happened Thursday, the Rams have plenty to work on between now and then.

By the time the game ended in a 24-21 victory for St. Louis, there were good runs by Benny Cunningham and Zac Stacy, not to mention a game-winning touchdown catch and run by Chase Reynolds with 2 minutes 40 seconds left to play.

There was some exciting work on punt returns by bubble player Justin Veltung. And there was quarterback play by Kellen Clemens that even Bernie Kosar would've had trouble criticizing. On defense, safety Matt Daniels, and defensive linemen Gerald Rivers and Mason Brodine may have helped their final 53 hopes.

But overall, there wasn't much for the fans to get worked up about in the first half. However, Fisher apparently was a little worked up at halftime after seeing the Rams commit three turnovers in the opening minutes and get flagged an astounding 11 times for 96 yards in the first half.

"Yes, we had a nice little candid discussion at halftime," Fisher said. "Unfortunately, you've got guys that are trying hard, busting their butts, but the reality was most of the flags that were thrown were directed at players that unfortunately are not going to be on the field for us."

By that he meant when the 53-man roster limit is reached on Saturday.

"We've been talking about penalties all week," Fisher said. "I shared it with you guys (reporters). ... So we'll get those things fixed."

The Rams and Ravens approached this game with all the import of an early August scrimmage. The Rams weren't playing the defending Super Bowl champions as much as they were playing a bunch of guys wearing the jerseys of the defending Super Bowl champions.

Not one of the 22 players listed as starters on the Baltimore depth chart started on offense and defense. Flacco? Heck no. It was Caleb Hanne starting at quarterback for the Ravens rather than Joe Flacco.

For the Rams, Fisher said earlier in the week that there would be slight adjustments to his normal practice of playing his starters half of the fourth exhibition game. On Thursday, "slight" turned out to be nearly two-thirds of the usual starters.

"This is a little different for us," Fisher said. "We felt like this was the best thing for this team as far as starting the regular season. The guys got great work against each other all week, even including yesterday. I informed them about 5 o'clock (Thursday that they weren't playing). …

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