On Oct. 19, 2008, the Rams defeated the Dallas Cowboys 34-14 to win their second consecutive game under interim coach Jim Haslett and move their record to 2-4. Hope was in the air. However, running back Steven Jackson was injured late in that victory and what followed was a 10-game losing streak.
Despite losing four of their last five games by a combined total of 12 points, Haslett wasn't hired and Steve Spagnuolo became the head coach. The results so far have been worse. The Rams' 38-10 loss to Minnesota was their 15th straight and they have been outscored 146-34 with a 35-point loss, two 28-point losses and a 19-point loss.
Against the Vikings, the offense showed signs of life with 400 yards of total offense. In fact, the Rams outgained Minnesota 400-377, had more first downs, 27-21, more time of possession, 32:39 to 27:21 and more plays, 70-53.
The difference was four crucial turnovers, one returned 52 yards for a touchdown by defensive end Jared Allen, and the other three in the red zone on plays that all began inside the 10-yard line.
Said guard Jacob Bell, "I don't know if I've ever seen that before."
Added center Jason Brown, "It just comes down to execution. When we get down there, we've got to focus and finish. I know it hurts more than anybody else to see our offense drive the ball the full length of the field and get right there. That's something we're going to correct, we have to correct."
Spagnuolo continues to insist the good things the team is doing will translate into a win. He also believes moving the ball the way the offense did against Minnesota, as well as holding running back Adrian Peterson to 69 yards on 15 carries, is a good sign.
"We didn't finish some things, and we shot ourselves in the foot and that's the reason for the score in the game and the loss," Spagnuolo said. "But (Minnesota) is a good team. It's a measuring stick for us. We have to get a good look at those guys across there because that's what we want to look like eventually. We're not there yet, but we'll put this one behind us and move on to Jacksonville."
"It's just amazing our luck now," defensive end Leonard Little said. "We don't seem to get any breaks. You're supposed to make your own breaks, but this is a hard-working team. We work hard every week in practice. And we're just not putting it together on Sunday."
LINEUP WATCH: Quarterback Kyle Boller was hit in the head in the fourth quarter and was replaced on the next series by Marc Bulger, who had suffered a bruised rotator cuff Sept. 27 against Green Bay. Bulger was recovered enough to be the No. 2 quarterback against Minnesota. He is likely to start Sunday against the Jaguars. Tackle Jason Smith was active and played on special teams after missing two games because of a knee injury. Smith could be back at right tackle Sunday.
TRENDING: Rookie middle linebacker James Laurinaitis has been a major bright spot, calling defenses and making plays. Laurinaitis had several key tackles against Minnesota, and also had his first career interception.