Battleline: Rams Start to Make Good Impressions - The Missourian: Sports

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Battleline: Rams Start to Make Good Impressions

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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 7:00 am

I like a lot of what I’m seeing from the St. Louis Rams, especially from the younger players right now.

The Rams have rolled to two consecutive convincing victories in a row after holding off the Chicago Bears Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

The Rams have rallied since losing starting quarterback Sam Bradford to a season-ending injury, and it’s been for a lot of reasons.

The team has developed a running game around rookies Zac Stacy, Bennie Cunningham and Daryl Richardson, although only two can be expected to be healthy at any given moment.

It’s not because they are necessarily fragile. Stacy and Cunningham are inside-the-tackles style runners who run hard, take hits and come back for more.

I saw Cunningham get hit so hard Sunday that I think he lost some letters from his last name. But, he was right back and ready to go for the next play.

The development of a running game has eased the transition to Kellen Clemens, which has made him a more effective quarterback.

Clemens benefits because teams will buy the play-action fakes and that gives him some extra time to find receivers. The staff also has him roll out at times, which extends the plays.

Despite injuries, the offensive line has done an effective job in giving him the time to look.

Because Clemens doesn’t seem to have a favorite target, teams have to defend everyone. It seems that all receivers and ends have come up with big grabs at different times. That allows Clemens to find favorable matchups.

Because there is nobody to key on defensively, Tavon Austin is developing into a multiple threat running, catching and returning the ball.

Defense has played a huge role in the turnaround. Alec Ogletree seems to be the proper player to wear Mike Jones’ 52 because he has made a number of touchdown-saving tackles near the goal line.

Robert Quinn is becoming the star the team envisioned when it drafted him in the first round. Chris Long is a leader and Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford make a good defensive tackle pairing.

The return of Jo-Lonn Dunbar at outside linebacker has helped to solidify the tackling and James Laurinaitis remains a strong middle linebacker.

The Rams are forcing turnovers as well and two set the tone for Sunday’s win. The fumble forced by Trumaine Johnson and recovered by Laurinaitis gave the Rams a 14-0 lead early in the game. Quinn’s strip and recovery with a touchdown return in the fourth quarter sealed the game.

At times, Sunday’s game seemed to be a road contest. The Bears fans traveled very well and there was a lot of orange in the stands. I don’t know why that’s the case. Would St. Louis fans allow Cubs fans to inhabit a great number of seats in Busch Stadium without making sure to drown them out? Would the Blues allow Black Hawks fans to hold a majority at the Scottrade Center? Then rally behind the Rams and fill the seats.

The Rams have fought back to 5-6, but still stand last in the NFC West at this time in one of the league’s best divisions. If the Rams can continue their recent success, who knows what could happen?

The schedule doesn’t get any easier. The Rams are on the road at San Francisco and Arizona over the next two weeks before returning home for games against New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

The Rams close the season on the road at Seattle.

It’s not going to be an easy stretch by any imagination. The three division games in San Francisco, Arizona and Seattle are going to be extremely tough. The Tampa Bay game definitely is winnable and we all remember the last visit of the Saints, a gem of a game by the Rams.

If the Rams could win the two home games and take one of the road contests, that would give the team a .500 season, one win more than 2012.

Also consider that the team dropped very winnable home games against Seattle and Tennessee and you have the potential for a strong team in the future.

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Area Scoreboard

Area Sports Schedule

American Legion Baseball

Ninth District Senior Legion Tournament

Thursday, July 17

At Westhoff Park

G1 (1) West 11, (8) Pacific 1

G2 (4) St. Charles 17, (5) Elsberry 2

At St. Peters Rec-Plex

G3 (3) Washington 4, (6) Wentzville 0

G4 (2) Daniel Boone 8, (7) St. Peters 2

Friday, July 18

At St. Peters Rec-Plex

G5 Elsberry 8, Pacific 3

G6 St. Peters 9, Wentzville 1

At Westhoff Park

G7 St. Charles 4, West 1

G8 Daniel Boone 7, Washington 4

Saturday, July 19

At St. Peters Rec-Plex

G9 Washington 9, Elsberry 4

G10 West 9, St. Peters 6

G12 West 14, Washington 1

At Westhoff Park

G11 St. Charles def. Daniel Boone (fft)

Sunday, July 20

Rest at Westhoff Park

G13 Championship — West 2, St. Charles 1 (13 innings)

Monday, July 21

G14 If-Needed Game — St. Charles 13, West 11

Zone 1 Senior Legion Tournament

At Lindenwood University, St. Charles

Thursday, July 24

G1 West vs. Daniel Boone Post 262, 5 p.m.

G2 Jefferson City Post 5 vs. Hannibal Post 55, 8 p.m.

Friday, July 25

G3 St. Charles Post 312 vs. G1 winner, 5 p.m.

G4 G1 loser vs. G2 loser, 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 26

G5 G2 winner vs. G3 winner, 10 a.m.

G6 G3 loser vs. G4 winner, 4 p.m.

G7 G5 loser vs. G6 winner, 7 p.m.

Sunday, July 27

G8 Championship — G5 winner vs. G7 winner, 1 p.m.

G9 If-Needed Game — G8 winner vs. G8 loser, 4 p.m.

Ninth District Junior Legion Tournament

Tuesday, July 8

At Union High School

G1 (1) Elsberry 3, (8) New Haven 0

At Ronsick Field

G4 (3) Washington 7, (6) Wentzville 1

G4 (2) Union 8, (7) Hannibal 1

At St. Peters Rec-Plex

G2 (5) St. Peters 8, (4) St. Charles 6

Wednesday, July 9

At New Haven

G5 Wentzville 4, New Haven 0

G6 St. Charles 8, Hannibal 7 (9 innings)

At Ronsick Field

G7 St. Peters 5, Elsberry 2

G8 Washington 2, Union 1

Remainder at Ronsick Field

Thursday, July 10

G9 Union 7, Wentzville 1

G10 Elsberry 3, St. Charles 2

Friday, July 11

G11 Washington 12, St. Peters 11 (10 innings)

G12 Elsberry 6, Union 3

Saturday, July 12

G13 Elsberry 4, St. Peters 3

G14 Championship — Washington 3, Elsberry 1

Washington wins district, to host Zone 1 Tournament at Borgia. Schedule below.

Junior Legion Zone 1 Tournament

At Borgia

Thursday, June 17

G1 Elsberry Post 226 10, Chillicothe Post 25 2

Friday, June 18

G2 Washington Post 218 5, Elsberry 1

G3 Chillicothe 5, Elsberry 4

Saturday, June 19

G4 Championship — Washington 16, Chillicothe 0 (5 innings)

Washington advances to State Tournament in Jackson.

Junior Legion State Tournament

At Jackson

Thursday, July 24

G1 Springfield Glendale vs. Jackson, 3 p.m.

G2 Sedalia vs. Eureka, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, June 25

G3 Washington vs. G1 winner, noon

G4 G1 loser vs. G2 loser, 2:30 p.m.

G5 G2 winner vs. G3 winner, 5 p.m.

G6 G3 loser vs. G4 winner, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 26

G7 G5 loser vs. G6 winner, 1 p.m.

G8 Championship — G5 winner vs. G7 winner, 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 27

G9 If-Needed Game — G8 winner vs. G8 loser, 1 p.m.

Freshman Legion Ninth District Tournament

Tuesday, July 8

At Elsberry Legion Field

G1 (1) St. Charles 7, (8) St. Peters 0

G2 (4) Elsberry-Winfield 4, (5) Wentzville 3

At Elsberry Khoury League Field

G3 (3) Hannibal 3, (6) Warrenton 2

G4 (2) Washington 10, (7) West 1

Wednesday, July 9

At Elsberry Khoury League Field

G5 St. Peters 17, Warrenton 6

G6 Wentzville 5, West 4

At Elsberry Legion Field

G7 St. Charles 10, Elsberry-Winfield 2

G8 Washington 3, Hannibal 0

Remainder at Elsberry Legion Field

Thursday, July 10

G9 St. Peters 11, Hannibal 9

G10 Elsberry-Winfield 13, Wentzville 4

Friday, July 11

G12 Elsberry-Winfield 8, St. Peters 3

G11 Washington 6, St. Charles 0, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 12

G13 St. Charles 10, Elsberry-Winfield 1

G14 Championship — St. Charles 5, Washington 2

Sunday, July 13

G15 If-Needed Game — St. Charles 2, Washington 0

Missouri Freshman

Legion State Tournament

At Rotary Recreational

Complex - Ronsick Field

Wednesday, July 16

G1 Creve Coeur Post 397 16, St. Robert Post 331 2

G2 Ste. Genevieve Post 150 4, St. Charles Post 312 0

G3 Jackson Post 158 1, vs. Springfield Glendale Merchants 0

G4 Washington Post 218 9, Eureka Post 177 4

Thursday, July 17

G5 Springfield Glendale 11, St. Robert 1 (St. Robert eliminated)

G6 St. Charles 10, Eureka 2 (Eureka eliminated)

G7 Ste. Genevieve 4, Creve Coeur 2

G8 Washington 12, Jackson 10

Friday, July 18

G9 Jackson 12, Springfield Glendale 0 (Springfield Glendale eliminated)

G10 Creve Coeur 8, St. Charles 3 (St. Charles eliminated)

G11 Ste. Genevieve 3, Washington 2

G12 Creve Coeur 11, Jackson 7 (Jackson eliminated)

Saturday, July 19

G13 Washington 8, Creve Coeur 3 (Creve Coeur eliminated)

G14 Championship—Washington 5, Ste. Genevieve 2

Sunday, July 20

G15 Championship Game 2—Washington 3, Ste. Genevieve 0

Great Midwest Football League

July 19

Missouri Cyclones 34, Illinois Justice 0

Swim Team Schedules

Washington Swim Team

Date    Opponent    Time/Result

6-9    at Oaks Landing    Washington 192-100

6-16    Westglen    Washington 259-206

6-23    at Fox Creek    Washington 311-225

6-30    at Chadwick    Chadwick 264-258

7-7    Cherry Hills    Washington 291-140

7-11 at Division Meet, Westminster Christian First

Pacific Swim Team

Date    Opponent    Time/Result

6-9    Lake of the Woods    LOtW 176-130

6-16    at Union    Union 289-220

6-23    Bridle Creek    Pacific 371-124

6-30    at Arbor Oaks    Pacific 282-241

7-7    at Indian Hills    Cancelled, weather

7-12    Division Meet    First

Union Swim Team

Date    Opponent    Time/Result

6-9    at Arbor Oaks    Union 180-120

6-16    Pacific    Union 289-220

6-23    at Lake of the Woods    LoTW 312-201

6-30    Indian Hills    Union 322-275

7-7    Bridle Creek    PPD

7-12    at Division Meet, Pacific    Third

Pacific Diving Team

Date    Opponent    Time

6-14    at MAC West    MAC West 40-30

6-21    at Lindgate    Lindgate

6-28    at Cool Dell    9 a.m.

7-13    at Championships    8 a.m.

*Indicates League Games

Racing News