Rams Find Novel Reasons to Win

All right, former fans of the quasi-professional football organization known as the Los Angeles Rams, how well have you been keeping up since the heist back east?

Take a few seconds now to test yourselves.

1. The Rams beat the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night, 21-19, because:

a) Isaac Bruce caught 10 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

b) Chris Miller completed 27 of 38 passes for 328 yards.

c) The Atlanta secondary couldn't cover a fire hydrant running a down-and-out pattern.

d) They moved to St. Louis.


2. The Rams are 5-1 after six games because:

a) They have beaten one team that has no offense (Chicago), one team that has no defense (Atlanta) and two teams that have no victories (New Orleans and Carolina).

b) They haven't played San Francisco yet.

c) Dallas, Oakland and Kansas City aren't on their schedule.

d) They moved to St. Louis.

3. The Rams are in first place in the NFC West because:

a) They played Thursday and the 49ers don't get to thrash Indianapolis until 10 a.m. today (PDT).

b) Their new offensive coordinator has discovered there are other plays to run on first-and-goal, second-and-goal and third-and-goal besides "Bettis up the middle."

c) Their new defensive coordinator has discovered it is perfectly legal to tackle the other team's quarterback behind the line of scrimmage while he attempts to throw a forward pass.

d) They moved to St. Louis.


If you answered any of the above questions with anything other than d), you are obviously an NFL barbarian, unequipped to grasp the subtle nuances of professional football in the post-modern age. You are a hopeless throwback, an unsophisticated cretin, an out-of-touch illiterate who doesn't even yet realize that Georgia Frontiere is the all-knowing High Priestess of Everything That Is Grand And Glorious In Our Nine-Planet Solar System.

Also, you don't live in St. Louis.

What's the name of that all-enclosed monstrosity they're attempting to erect in St. Louis? The Georgia Dome? The PSL Pavilion? Whatever, it isn't even finished, yet the Rams already seem to be subsisting in their own private Biosphere--hermetically sealed off from the outside world and reality because, hey, is this paradise or what?

Thus, we get this utter nonsense from St. Louis Ram Coach Rich (Babbling) Brooks, who claims the Rams could only be 5-1 in St. Louis, because the Anaheim environment isn't conducive to turning around a losing program.

And we get gag-me-with-a-manure-shovel malarkey from Ram cornerback Todd (M.C.) Lyght, who said after Thursday night's victory--and I quote--"Los Angeles is gone, man. They're making movies out there. We're putting in work here. We're not glitz, we're not glamour, we're just a bunch of solid people now, Midwestern-type people, getting the job done."

And Ram doctors are concerned with how Chris Miller is coping with post-concussion syndrome.

You remember Mr. Lyght. Last name sounds like "lite," as in "Pass Coverage Lite." In Anaheim, he often starred in many of these movies to which he refers, also known as "game films." Lyght was the one usually seen trailing Jerry Rice and Andre Rison into the end zone after long touchdown completions.

"Just a bunch of solid people now"?

Well, OK, give him that one. Darryl Henley hasn't been activated once this season.

"Midwestern-type people"?

Yes, they're that too. In between practices, Lyght apparently has been reading some geography-type books.

"Getting the job done"?

Except for that Indianapolis game, which the Rams lost, 21-18.

To a team quarterbacked by Jim Harbaugh.

That kind of thing happened to the Anaheim Rams all the time. In St. Louis, the Colt defeat was written off as a momentary lapse back into old bad habits, which, as every solid person worth his Midwestern salt knows, are brought on by too much exposure to the sun, construction on Interstate 5, gourmet coffee stands in shopping malls and heavy traffic after Splash home games.

Of course, the Rams' problem all these years was playing in Anaheim. We were blind. We were oblivious.

Can you believe it--we thought the Rams' problem was hiring a 60-year-old coach who arrived in Anaheim with one eye on the belly dive and the other on the retirement home in Palm Springs; who drafted a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end out of Penn State and never threw him the ball; who replaced Ernie Zampese with an offensive coordinator who stunned opposing defenses in 1994 by opening 12 of 16 games with a handoff to Jerome Bettis; who ran Bettis into the ground midway through his second season; who ran Henry Ellard out of town, thinking he was "over the hill" a year-and-a-half and 100 receptions ago; who had one chance to draft Trent Dilfer, another to draft Bryant Young, another to draft Charles Johnson and somehow wound up with Wayne Gandy.

No, all this time it was Orange County holding the Rams back.

They should moved to St. Louis years ago. Today Georgia would have a Lombardi Trophy dangling from each ear, with the other four being fashioned into a handsome charm bracelet. Deion Sanders would be ringing up John Shaw, offering to take a pay cut, begging, pleading, "Listen! I got to play for America's Team!"

Maybe the Angels should move to St. Louis, too. In St. Louis, they'd have never blown that 13-game lead to the Mariners. How could they, going 141-3?

Maybe we should all move to St. Louis. Then we could all be a bunch of solid Midwestern-type people, getting the job done. Isn't that all any of us wants out of life?

Just make sure the final destination is St. Louis. Don't make the same mistake Jim Everett did. He left Anaheim a full 12 months before the Rams--the right idea; a man clearly ahead of his time--but turned right when he should have veered left and wound up in New Orleans.

You know what happened to him.

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