Steve Savards Field Notes

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Ugly Counts

by Steve Savard

KMOV.com

Posted on November 19, 2007 at 4:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 3:26 PM

How ugly was the Rams win at San Fran? Let me count the ways. Actually, all you need to know are the third quarter stats. In 15 minutes of play, the Rams and Niners COMBINED for 24 yards of total offense and one first down. The Niners ran 11 plays and managed nine yards. Please don't make me do the math on that one.

But, ugly as it was, it still represents progress. An ugly win is better than a pretty loss. The Rams would have killed for a couple of ugly wins in the first half. They'd actually be in the NFC West hunt if they squeezed out two wins in the first eight games.

Offensively, the Rams are going to have days like that as long as the o-line consists of not only back ups but street free agents. It will be one step forward(New Orleans) and one step back(San Fran). Maybe Todd Steussie's return and Brett Romberg getting healthy can help. But, right now, four opening day starters are out and three are done for the season.

The defense continues to improve. Holding nemesis Frank Gore to 35 yards was big. Through nine games, the Rams have improved by 34 yards per game against the run. That's significant. And they're almost a yard stingier per rushing attempt than a year ago. That's even more significant. Will Witherspoon is out of his mind good right now. He's making plays all over the field and he's stopping ball carriers in their tracks. He's blossomed into a "downhill" linebacker--what you need in the middle. O.J. Atogwe had a strong game and made the pick at the end but with all due respect, Will was the player of the game for the Rams--again. And he's getting help, not only from his defensive line which is jamming up the middle but also from Pisa Tinoisomoa who I think has just played his best month of football in the NFL.

By the way, our latest visit to the Bay Area confirms what I've said all along--that Monster Park is the biggest dump in the NFL. BAR NONE. Oakland's Mcafee Coliseum is bad but not that bad. What an embarrassment for the 49ers organization.

No one would have been happier about the Rams picking up franchise win number 500 at San Francisco than my late partner Jack Snow. He was no fan after spending his adult life in the Rams organization. Wish he could have been there.

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