Rams still have plenty to play for

Can finish with winning season

ST. LOUIS — Jeff Fisher recognizes his St. Louis Rams have plenty of goals to reach in their final game of the season.

They can finish with a winning record for the first time since 2003. They can finish without a loss in the NFC West.

Steven Jackson, who might be in his final season with the team, can finish with at least 1,000 yards rushing for the eighth consecutive year.

While all of that might be important, Fisher said Monday the season finale at Seattle cannot serve as the lone measuring stick to the success of the season.

Even if they lose to the Seahawks, the coach said there are plenty of successes this season. He also said if the Rams had been a bit better, it might have turned Sunday’s game into a warm-up for the playoffs.

“There’s been some good things, but we’re playing our final game this final weekend but that’s not what you set out to do,” Fisher said as he gets ready to close out his first season at St. Louis.

The Rams are 7-7-1 heading into Sunday’s game against Seattle and 4-0-1 in divisional play. They went 15-65 in the previous five years, including a two-win season last year.

The seven wins match the total from 2010 when St. Louis finished 7-9. But the 12-4 regular-season record in 2004 represents the Rams’ only winning season in the past 10.

Fisher appreciates what a win at Seattle would mean.

“It’s very important, but it’s not going to suggest this season was a loss if we weren’t successful in Week 17,” he said. “We can make a case, going back to several of those games and or that tie, that we played .500 ball this year regardless what happened this week. But from a statistical standpoint it’s something good to talk about.”

The Rams lost their season opener at Detroit after the Lions scored the game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds remaining. Greg Zuerlein missed 3-of-5 field-goal attempts in a 17-14 loss at Miami. A delay of game penalty at San Francisco turned a successful 53-yard field-goal attempt in overtime into a 58-yarder that Zuerlein missed.

Jackson has the option of getting out of his contract at the end of the season to explore free agency. But after rushing for 81 yards in the Rams’ 28-13 victory against Tampa Bay on Sunday, he didn’t sound like a player ready to find a new team after 10 years with St. Louis.

He needs 10 yards against Seattle to reach 1,000 for the year.

“We have a lot to play for, a winning season, undefeated in the division,” he said. “It’s something to build off of and go into the offseason feeling happy and strong and make it appealing to free agents as well.”

Fisher isn’t ready to put a bow on the season, yet. Nor did he suggest this season was a total success even if the Rams are coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history and playing with one of the youngest rosters in league history.

“We had a few in the past that we had a chance to win and didn’t. That takes the front page as far as we’re concerned,” he said. “But, we saw tremendous improvement from our rookie class. We got tremendous from the rookies and from the second-year players. I think we improved in a lot of areas.

“We still have a long way to go.”

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