Not only did the Rams win in St. Louis for the first time in nearly two years (October 19, 2008 against Dallas, if your memory needs jogging) they did it largely without the help of their two best players -- OJ Atogwe and Steven Jackson both left the game with minor injuries early in the game.
They won despite getting a 21-yard field goal blocked (kicker Josh Brown recovered and made three in a row to ice the game in the second half) and -- believe it or not -- they won in rather convincing fashion. As Washington linebacker Brian Orakpotold reporters after the game, "They just flat-out whipped our butts."
Just take a second to let it sink in: the Rams won a football game and looked good doing it. This calls for a celebration.
Assorted highlights included...
-Sam Bradford looking every bit the quarterback of the future. Everyone figured Jackson and the ground game would be the strength of the offense but, thanks in large part to Mark Clayton (five catches for 85 yards) and Daniel "Touchdown Factory" Fells (three catches for 22 yards and a TD) it is the air attack that has the Rams looking like a real football team once again. Bradford completed 62 percent of his passes (23-37 with 1 TD and 1 INT) and showed leadership and (gulp) poise doing it. Can we get this kid a nickname? He's awesome but he looks like he should be finding a date to the homecoming dance. Doesn't Babyface Bradford have a nice ring to it?
-James Laurenitis establishing himself as the anchor of the defense. He tallied six tackles and a sack against the Redskins and seemed like he was in on just about every running play. If only we could say the same about Chris Long, who had just one tackle yesterday.
-With Jackson out, Kenneth Darby looked very solid, rushing for 49 yards and a TD. Who knew the Rams actually had a capable backup? And why haven't we seen him more before to spell Jackson and keep him fresh for the fourth quarter? The trouble is, the third-string back Keith Toston (an undrafted rookie out of Oklahoma State) also suffered an injury yesterday leaving the Rams precariously thin at running back.
Next week the Seattle Seahawks come to town for the latest "showdown" in the shameful NFC West. (Full disclosure: the 'Hawks are this writer's hometown team, be prepared for unabashed bias in the coming week.) Seattle and Arizona are tied for the division lead with St. Louis sitting one game back and San Francisco occupying the cellar at 0-3. A win this weekend and Rams might actually live down Bill Simmons' doormat joke and compete for the division title. And though it would kill the Sports Guy, it's doubtful that anyone from St. Louis would mind if the Rams made the playoffs with a losing record.
(Hat tip to Pat and Evan B for the incredible video find.)