ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long sat at his locker still in his uniform for a long time Sunday night after his team lost their second straight game, a 37-27 loss to the New York Giants, making it 11 straight losing seasons in the Gateway City.
The flat emotion in the locker room was palpable. Long and the Rams defense gave up more than 500 yards in offense for the first time since 2011.
"It's just frustrating because it was a good challenge today," Long said, "They're a good offense. If we would have come out and shut them down, it would have been big. But we didn't play well enough. We have to take responsibility for that."
The Rams allowed two touchdowns and 148 yards to Giants rookie Odell Beckham Jr. while Eli Manning threw three scores in 391 yards in the air. Remember, this is a defense that hadn't allowed a touchdown in three games, keeping the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins scoreless while holding the Arizona Cardinals to field goals. Defensive captain James Laurinaitis said he had no idea his team would perform like this.
"Very uncharacteristic of our football team," he replied, "That's the most disappointing thing to me, just that this is embarrassing to me."
Now St. Louis will head to Seattle to play the defending champions in their final game of the season. Then they'll pack their bags. The Rams haven't been to the playoffs since 2003, the last time they had a winning season.
And as fans at the Edward Jones Dome filed out of their seats, now knowing the Rams would stay at least one more season in St. Louis, Long wants to leave them with one remaining request - keep the faith.
"They deserve better, the ones that show up deserve better," Long continued, "and if they want to boo and walk out, that's totally understandable. I ask that they keep the faith in us. We're building something here. We have a lot of faith in what Coach is doing and what we're doing with this organization. We're going to keep moving forward. When we get back here next year, we're going to play some good football."