Bright spot for Rams: Hey, they get a high draft pick

Staff writerDecember 29, 2013 

— From an afternoon of emotional and bruising football, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher plucked a nugget of solace out of a game in which they weren’t involved.

The Washington Redskins lost again Sunday, meaning Fisher and the Rams will get the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft this spring — which they received in trade from Washington for the rights to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III before last season.

“Obviously, we’re excited about that,” Fisher said. “We have a lot of exciting things ahead of us in the offseason ... there’s a lot ahead for this football team right now.”

But Sunday afternoon, what Fisher saw ahead of his football team was a flurry of penalty flags and a rabid Seahawks defense.

Able to muster a scant 13 rushing yards on 18 carries, the Rams (7-9) absorbed a 27-9 defeat that gave the Seahawks the NFC West Division title.

St. Louis quarterback Kellen Clemens said the Seahawks stacked the defense to stop the rush. But the famed contributions of Seattle’s 12th Man also played a role.

“They had about nine guys down there in the box, and you only have seven or eight to block (them),” Clemens said. “It’s also a little tougher in the run when you’re dealing with the (crowd) noise like that.”

He explained that, like the defense, the offense also has to move on the snap of the ball, not on his count.

“Everybody is going at the same time because they are watching the ball,” Clemens said. “So we weren’t able to use the snap count to our advantage like we did at home when facing them nine weeks ago.”

Tight end Jared Cook noted that the Seahawks showed a defense they weren’t expecting.

“They were just slashing a lot, and it kind of caught us off guard,” he said. “The D-line was slashing toward the tight end, and it wasn’t what they had been playing lately.”

The Rams lamented their mistakes, which included 12 penalties for 87 yards.

Many used the word “chippiness” to describe the combativeness on the field.

“It’s just a division game; that always happens,” Cook said. “I think every division game we played this year has had a lot of chippiness. That’s what happens when you play a division opponent and things get heated.”

But the penalties were only part of the St. Louis problem.

“We need to rein in (the passion) at times,” defensive end Chris Long said. “Basically, we made a lot of mistakes even without the stupid penalties. When you make that many mistakes, and the stupid penalties compound that, your chances of losing go up tenfold. It was really hard for us; we made it hard on ourselves.”

Dave Boling: 253-597-8440; dave.boling@thenewstribune.com; @DaveBoling

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