We Brits have always had a problem with St. Louis. Specifically the pronunciation; we desperately try to make it rhyme with gooey, an uncharacteristically French interpretation. And I feel bad ripping on a team that a) are perennially even worse than we are, b) are decimated by injuries and c) we just beat. That said, the “Dome” Stadium flat out freaks me out (brings to mind the space-ship holiday resort in Wall-E) and it is somehow difficult to be intimidated by a team named after sheep.
For all that, on Sunday the football gods were smiling as the Bengals held off a third-string quarterback (don’t worry, we have another “back-up on a hot streak” next week in the form of Arizona’s John Skelton), whilst the Jets were stomped on by the unfathomable Philadelphia Eagles and the Titans lost—against all the odds—to the Colts. The Bengals victory, then, kept them right in the play off hunt, though the earning was harder than it should have been.
The Rams, bless them, only had one starter that anybody outside (indeed, inside) of St. Louis has heard of in running back Steven Jackson. With a hard-working defensive line keeping him in check, and A.J. Green playing like the sports coach you had when you were 11 who thought he was a professional and just kept running past everybody and scoring against children (but less obnoxious), it was puzzling that we needed a botched Rams field goal to keep us only 6-3 down at half time.
Let me re-iterate: The Rams are rubbish. Just rubbish. Kellen Clemens, starting at quarterback, hadn’t thrown a touchdown since Conan was watchable. And we weren’t even playing that badly—had that last second defeat to the Texans really knocked that much wind out of our sails?
Perhaps not. As the Rams found increasingly creative ways to give up penalties (including, brilliantly, graphically swearing at a referee whose stadium-mike was still on, thus communicating the offensive diatribe to the whole arena, not to mention anybody watching on television. Even the 2008 Bengals didn’t think of that), we utilized our running game to build a solid 20-6 lead. Though nobody’s nerves were helped with the concession of a last minute touchdown pass, we did at least learn that—whatever physical talents they possess, and they are many—Adam Jones and Taylor Mays in coverage will struggle as long as the former is no bigger than your thumb and the latter tries to tackle with his back.
Still, business taken care of. Two to go. It might not be in our own hands, but hey, it sure is fun…
Bengals 20, Rams 13