A St. Louis Rams Moral Defeat

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Be relieved the Rams beat the Jaguars but don’t pat them on the back on a job well done.

Expect better, Rams fans.

Jaguars at Rams 20131006 (Courtesy STLouisRams.com)

Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Penalty Flag – Jaguars at Rams 20131006 (Courtesy STLouisRams.com)

Sunday, the Star-Telegram published a glimpse into the Dallas locker room after Sunday’s defeat. This was quite the interesting post-mortem quote from Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones who was apparently beaming “with pride”.

I know what’s going to happen to me when I say this, but that’s a good term. This is a moral victory. It’s not a loser talking here. We can build off this. I feel as good as you could possible feel at 2-3. We are going to win enough games to get where we want to be. And get knocking on the door to where we want to be. This was a moral victory to day for us.

Of course he was referring to how his team and more specifically how his quarterback Tony Romo played lights out. Romo passed for 25/36, 506 yards, and 4 TDs with two minutes left in the game.

Romo out-dueled the Broncos sheriff Peyton Manning until… Romo did what Romo does. He flounders once again with a game crushing interception that gives the Broncos the opportunity to win the game with a Matt Prater field goal. The Cowboys fall to the Broncos 51-48.

ESPN’s NFL LIVE doesn’t call it the “Romo-Coaster” for nothing.

So if Jerry Jones beams with optimism about their moral victory then should Rams fans consider last Sunday’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars a “moral defeat”?

I was watching the NFL Red Zone channel via the NFL Mobile App on my Motorola Droid MAXX and couldn’t believe what I was seeing from the Jaguars-Rams game. Jacksonville has arguably one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Yet the Rams allowed the Jaguars score 20 points. T-w-e-n-t-y points.

The Rams came out 60 minutes later with a win but over what? Here’s the breakdown of both teams’ major rankings heading into last Sunday.

Jaguars at Rams Week 5 Tale of the Tape (Courtesy STLouisRams.com)

Jaguars at Rams Week 5 Tale of the Tape (Courtesy STLouisRams.com)

Yes, the Rams covered the 11.5 point spread (per Yahoo!) but realistically the game should have been a much bigger blow out than 34-20.

This is a game they were expected to win. This was a game they had to win.

Why the glass half empty attitude? Because Rams fans should expect more from their team and coaching staff.

1) The Jaguars were playing with two back up tackles on the offensive line yet the Rams defense tallied only two sacks (Michael Brockers and Chris Long), five tackles for losses, and three QB hits. What happened to their dominant defensive?

Well keep in mind, they traded their starting left tackle and moved the right tackle to left tackle and he got hurt, so they had two backup tackles. – Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher on the Jaguars.

2) Jacksonville’s starting quarterback is Blaine Gabbert. No further explanation should be necessary.

3) You can help but notice the pink flag sticking out on the turf just like you can’t ignore the cancer that keeps eating at the Rams’ success on the field. What’s become the symbol of breast cancer awareness is also a frustrating reminder of the consistent mistakes in all three phases of their game. The worst coming on special teams with stupid penalties.

St. Louis Rams special teams penalty woes. (Courtesy @hbalzer721)

St. Louis Rams special teams penalty woes. (Courtesy @hbalzer721)

More from Balzer: Tavon Austin lost returns of 23, 49 yards due to penalties versus Jacksonville. Austin also had a 84-yard return negated in the Cowboys game.

For as much as people b*itch about how Brian Schottenheimer is not utilizing Austin creatively fans have to be losing their minds every time a big Austin return is called back because of penalties.

Hey Coach Bones (Rams Special Teams coach John Fassel), you’re not doing your job properly or your players are not executing your game plan. Something has to change.

With Greater Talent Come Greater Expectations

If this win came in the Steve Spagnuolo era I would have looked at it glass half full. But this is a Jeff Fisher team that carries the burden of much higher standards.

As a disciple of the school of tough love I won’t settle for this display of mediocrity and demand excellence from this Rams team every week.

You should too, Rams fans. You deserve as much.