Monday Sep 19, 2011
Danario Alexander skies for a catch, then gets up and runs for more yardage. Photo by Tim Farrell/THE STAR-LEDGER.
The St Louis Rams waited a long time to take the field on Monday night, and as they waited to re-present themselves on the national stage, three competing narratives swirled about the national media. "Josh McDaniels is going to transform this offense" vs "Steve Spagnuolo is putting his aggressive stamp on the Rams defense" vs "The Rams? Dude, they totally blow!"
Most frustrating for Rams fans? All three were true.
The Rams appeared to grossly outplay the Giants in the first half, with only a fluke play and a bad call by the referees enabling a 7-6 New York lead. The crowd was mostly indifferent as the Rams flew down the field against a defenseless Giants secondary toward a go-ahead score. The path to a dominating Rams victory seemed assured.
Until Josh McDaniels sent in a fatefully bad play-call: a halfback option to Cadillac Williams on a third and eight on the Giants' 25 yard line. It was a play that, once witnessed, Rams fans will never be able to unsee.
Bradford's pass was not a good one. Cadillac's hands, so good in the passing game, were made of stone. His field awareness, something that is supposed to be as mature as a thirty-year-old scotch by this point in his NFL career, was lacking as the ball skipped away, an obvious fumble.
The Giants' Michael Boley scooped up the ball and ran. That was all he had to do to seize the moment, and rob the Rams of every shred of positive momentum they had built up in this game, this offseason, this attempt at a nation-wide renewal of face.