While the game meant nothing as far as playoff implications are concerned, there still was plenty of news regarding the St. Louis Rams’ 23-13 win over Tampa Bay Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
The Rams (7-8) finished the season with a winning record at home (5-3) for only the second time in the last nine seasons. They also were 5-3 in 2010.
St. Louis is 1-4 against NFC West foes with one more to play Sunday in Seattle, and 6-4 against non-NFC West teams.
“The guys were very excited to get back in the building again for two weeks in a row. It was important to them to have a winning record here at home, which is a tremendous feat considering the circumstances and the start,” said Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher. “So, I’m very happy for them. We’ve got one more to go. We’re going to enjoy the holiday and get ready to take the long trip up to Seattle and play a good football team.”
With three sacks, Robert Quinn became the Rams’ single-season leader in sacks with 18, surpassing Kevin Carter’s 17 during the 1999 season.
“He’s really good right now. I don’t make a habit of comparing him to other players, but he’s playing very, very good football right now,” Fisher said of Quinn.
“It’s a great honor. Kevin Carter was a great player. He had 17 sacks. It’s tough. To even top that is even tougher,” Quinn said. “I can’t do it by myself. Chris (Long) was like, ‘You’ve done a lot by yourself.’ But like I said, there’s no way you can get that many sacks by yourself throughout a year. A lot of credit goes to my d-line and defense that helped me get to that number.”
Rookie running back Zac Stacy continued to impress, finishing with 104 yards on 33 attempts and one touchdown, pushing his season total to 958 yards.
Stacy has scored a touchdown in six of the Rams last seven games, and has seven for the season.
“It all started up front like always. We did a good job because it was a good defense, so we did a good job of executing,” Stacy said. “They had the momentum going early in the run game as far as stopping us on a couple plays. We just settled down and got it going.”
Rookie receiver Stedman Bailey scored his first career touchdown on a 27-yard double reverse in the second quarter.
“We’ve been practicing it and I felt like we had a pretty good chance for it to be an explosive play. It actually was open for me to just walk into the end zone. It was a great call,” Bailey said. “We just got a turnover and the defense was probably on their heels. We have never run that before, and it worked out pretty good.”
Rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree has emerged as the Rams’ leader in tackles.
Needless to say, the future looks promising for the Rams with so many younger players providing major contributions.
“A lot of credit certainly goes to our scouting department for finding those guys. And a lot of it just goes to their work ethic. We’re fortunate in some regards because some of these rookies still don’t know what they don’t know,” said Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens. “We’re a football team that unfortunately is not going to the playoffs, but you would not know it by the way that we continue to come in, continue to work and continue to show up on Sundays. And a big part of that has been the contributions that we’ve gotten from some of these young players.”
One piece of bad news for the Rams is starting left tackle Jake Long suffered a torn ACL, which could affect his availability for the start of the 2014 season.
The Rams are now focusing on getting to the .500 mark against a Seattle team (12-3) that will secure home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win.
“I’ve never won up there, so it would mean a lot to this team. If we can finish the season strong against a really good team, it would mean a lot. We’ll try to go do it,” said Rams defensive end Chris Long. “I think we’re better than we were last year. The record says what it says. I think we’re better. The win total, as long as you’re not in the playoffs, doesn’t matter to me. It’s all about how we finish on the field. We dug a hole that we couldn’t get out of, but no one is packing it in. We’ll go try to win a game.”