Twelve quarters into the Jim Haslett experiment, the Rams are a completely different team. For two weeks, they did something the Scott Linehan-led team could not--win. Yesterday, they also did something that those old Rams couldn't do---lose without being emabarrassed.
I have to walk a fine line here and not insult Haslett's competitve nature by declaring Sunday's game a moral victory. There is no such thing in the NFL. The stakes are too high at that level. But, there isn't anything shameful about losing at Gillette Stadium where the Pats are 49-10 since it opened in 2002.
That said, the Rams missed their shot to take control in the third quarter. They could have easily opened a seven or ten or 13 point lead after recovering an onsides kick, intercepting two passes and stopping the Pats on fourth down and one. But, the Rams could not cash in. It's this simple: the Rams lost because they were sluggish offensively in the third quarter and because they settled for field goals twice on first and goal situations inisde the ten yard line.
It was a painful lesson for sure but far from the embarrassment those September losses produced. Sunday, The Rams lacked the killer instinct they showed against Dallas. And that's what killed them.