ST. LOUIS, Mo. (FootballStL) -- Talk about a transformation, huh? A year ago you had a franchise that was directionless, leaderless and - well - pretty hopeless. Now you see a Rams team that just went into arguably the hardest road environment in the NFL and battled the hottest team in the league to the wire.
Folks, the Seahawks had scored 150 points in their last three games. They'd won four in a row, the last three by an average of 40 points. And the Rams just went into that city and nearly beat them. Not only that, they held them to just three points in the first half.
Chris Long led a defense that sacked Russell Wilson a season high six times and was absolutely relentless. Was it perfect? Heck no. They committed 14 penalties for 98 yards, lost the time of possession battle and were just 2-11 on third down.
But going on the road against a red hot team on the cusp of the postseason is probably the hardest thing you will have to do in the NFL. I seriously cannot think of anything harder than that. The New York Giants have proven (heck, you could throw in the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball too) that it isn't about how good you are. It's about how well you're playing at the right time. And this Seahawks team has the look of a squad ready to make a run.
And the Rams just went into THEIR house - a hostile environment - and nearly won.
What Jeff Fisher has done for this city and this organization cannot be stressed enough. It takes serious magic and leadership to go from a pure losing culture to what you saw on the football field today. We just witnessed a football team that expects to win. A team that does not accept losing and failure.
The best part of it all? It was all done with, by and large, pretty marginal talent.
Just think of the possibilities for the Rams in 2013 and beyond. Another draft class under Les Snead and Jeff Fisher. Another free agent class (which hasn't gotten enough publicity this year). Another year of maturity and leadership.
No one really knew what to expect from the Rams in 2012. Sure, Fisher was a proven coach. But how could anyone come in here and win games? It was a helpless bunch the last few years.
Well, he did it. Not too many people expected or predicted seven wins. And he's set up some mighty expectations next year. That will be another conversation for another day. Because we don't yet know what the roster will look like. Is Steven Jackson back? What does the offensive line consist of? Does Sam Bradford get some more weapons? Will they upgrade on defense anywhere?
All we know is, and Steven Jackson said it best, you've seen two different Rams teams now. A team that couldn't win on the road early and was young and growing. Now you've seen a team that's grown up and can win on the road. A monstrous step was taken.
But it was all done with little to no expectations.
That won't happen next year. Expectations will be high.
And whoever comprises that 53-man roster will have to live up to them.
But, hey, that's a good problem to have. Better than no expectations at all.