The St. Louis Rams and the conversion to ‘Fisher ball’


December 2, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher looks on before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome. St. Louis defeated San Francisco 16-13 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It has been said that a team takes on the personality of their head coach. These Rams have shed off the repeated failures of past regimes and adopted a tenacious, brutal and a never yielding style of play.

Fisher ball.

No more echoing cries of woeful underachieving draft picks by Billy Devaney. No more wide-eyed first year head coaches who crumbled under the rigors of the NFL. No more bone-headed mistakes under the thumbs of Scott Linehan and Steve Spagnuolo. Those Rams went 15-65 and did everything they could to lose the game. They repeatedly shot themselves in foot with turnovers at pivotal points in the games, drive stalling penalties or the common recurrence of a dropped pass. There have been countless times that we have watched those Rams fight until the very end only to come up short time and time again.

But not these Rams.

These Rams have absorbed Fisher’s calm, unwavering and relentless demeanor. Fisher’s Rams keep the game close week in and week out. The defense refuses to back down from any challenge. (Excluding the debacle against the Patriots) If you have felt the pains of the Rams’ disastrous past seasons, I don’t see any other reasons why you shouldn’t be smiling right now. You may even let out a slight chuckle.

As the Rams marched into the frigid, drizzling and snowy Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo to capture their third victory in a row, you saw every paw that Fisher has placed on his Rams. Another come from behind victory was capped off by a 14 play 84 yard drive. Before that faithful drive, St. Louis was dreadful in the first half. Receivers who couldn’t fight their way open out of a paper bag suddenly became 7-Elevens in the deciding moments of the game. Rams fans who were baffled over the decision to keep Austin Pettis over Greg Salas has to have come to their senses after his game-saving, highlight reel catch.

By no means am I asking for a shower of praises and a parade across the Edward Jones Dome parking lot, these Rams still suffer from a magnitude of flaws. The offense still experiences horrific dry spells by making the endzone resemble caution tape. Receivers still have a difficult time separating from defenders causing Sam Bradford to double-clutch, hold the ball and scramble like his life depends on it. These Rams are not equipped to hang 30 plus on the board every week, but they have to find a way to take some of the pressure of the defense.

The Rams are 29th in the league in scoring, averaging 18.2 points a game, but that’s a heck of a lot better compared to last year’s 11.1 avearage.

Dead last.

St. Louis’ offense is a work-in-progress to say the least, but they have the tools to succeed in the future. If the offense remains inconsistent, then I will lead the pitchfork mob. The Rams are no where near becoming a perennial playoff team or a legitimate championship contender for that matter, but don’t tell that to them. They continue to defy the odds by fighting, scratching, clawing and forcing their will to win.

At the 6-6-1 mark with three games left to play, the Rams’ playoff hopes are still very much alive. Your guess is as good as mine as to what will happen towards the end of the season. All I know is that it is a welcoming feeling to talk about December football instead of shipping scouts off to dissect the top prospect in the draft or firing another ineffective head coach.

As the Rams prepare to face league’s leading rusher in Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings third-ranked rushing offense, I expect them to extend their three game winning streak. This team must continue to win by any means necessary with a hellacious, nasty, gritty and physical attitude.

That’s classic Jeff Fisher football.