Rams’ Hall got forearm on Browns’ missed field goal
Monday, November 14, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Maybe the St. Louis Rams made their own luck.
Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Monday that game tape showed defensive end James Hall getting a piece of Cleveland’s blown field goal near the end of their 13-12 victory over the Browns a day earlier. Spagnuolo said tackle Gary Gibson had good penetration on the line and the Browns’ timing was off, a combination that allowed Hall to deflect the ball with his right forearm.
“We know the timing of their kick was not perfect,” Spagnuolo said. “I’m not so sure with all the mishandling they had it might have still gone through. I’m not so sure it might knuckleball through there.”
Attention focused on the snap from Ryan Pontbriand that glanced off a lineman’s leg and then fluttered back to holder Brad Maynard. He still got the ball placed, but Phil Dawson’s kick hooked left.
“I’ve never been a part of a game that ended like that,” quarterback Sam Bradford said.
Last week, special teams cost the Rams on Patrick Peterson’s 99-yard punt return in overtime during a loss at Arizona. This time around, it went better for the struggling Rams.
Replays appeared to indicate Hall moved before the snap, but after there was movement on the Browns line. Whether the Browns center double-clutched on the snap, Spagnuolo did not care.
He’ll take it. So will players, who got a rare day off Monday after the Rams improved to 2-7 headed into Sunday’s home game against NFC West foe Seattle (3-6).
“You get what you earn in this league,” guard Harvey Dahl said after the game. “We aren’t happy with our record, but we come to work every day and try to get better.”
The Rams are 10-31 past the midpoint point of Spagnuolo’s third season, and they’ve been hammered by injuries this year with two more players lost for the season after Sunday’s game with cornerback Al Harris and tight end Mike Hoomanawanui both sidelined by torn knee ACLs.
“Guys keep going down and we have the young guys and new guys who weren’t on the depth chart at the beginning of the season come to fill the holes,” running back Steven Jackson said. “They have to come in and play right away.”
Harris, who hurt his right knee making a tackle in the first quarter on Sunday, is the ninth cornerback who’ll land on injured reserve. The 37-year-old Harris signed in free agency and stepped in after starting cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher were lost for the year.
“I’m crushed by that one,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s been a terrific addition in a lot of ways.”
Another tight end, rookie Lance Kendricks, missed the Cleveland game with a foot sprain, although he could be back this week.
The Rams finished with a pair of backups at offensive tackle after Rodger Saffold was hurt by a blow to the head. Saffold could be back this week after being judged symptom-free Monday, but Jason Smith is likely to miss his fourth straight game with a concussion after symptoms returned when he worked out Monday.
Wide receiver Mark Clayton was eased back into action and had no catches while getting nine or 10 snaps, Spagnuolo said.
Running back Cadillac Williams injured his calf trotting onto the field to spell Jackson, who had 128 yards on 27 carries for his third straight 100-yard game. It’s the fourth time he’s done that during his career.