Sometime in the second half of yesterday's impressive thumping of the Seattle Seahawks, Al Pacino
appeared on the Jumbotron at the Edward Jones Dome. It was the scene from Any Given Sunday
, in which Pacino plays an NFL head coach who channels his characters from Scarface
and Scent of a Woman
and gives a speech that gets his team fired up for the proverbial big game.
In essence, Pacino makes the point that inches and effort can decide the course of a game. "We claw with our fingernails for that inch," he says, "Because when we add up all those inches, that's going to make the fuckin' difference between winning and losing!"
It's a great scene from an otherwise mediocre movie, and it succeeded in getting the win-starved St. Louis fans on their feet to scream their lungs out while the Seahawks received a kickoff. But it also serves a convenient metaphor for how and why the Rams have put together their first winning streak since the invention of the forward pass -- and actually beat the Seahawks.
The Rams played like they were truly inspired. Led by James Laurenitis
' pile-driver tackles, the defense stymied the sloppy Seahawks and held them to a measly three points. Capitalizing on the seemingly unstoppable Sam Bradford
to Mark Clayton
connection, the offense methodically moved up and down the field and made few mistakes. Steven Jackson
shook off a groin injury and carried the ball 25 times,
milking the clock in the second half and eclipsing Marshall Faulk
franchise's second all-time leading rusher.
That certainly doesn't sound like the same old Rams, does it? At least these last two games the Rams have finally looked like a team that wants to win. They want those extra inches.
The question, though, is whether they can keep it up against more talented teams. Because if the Rams are Any Given Sunday
, the Seahawks are Weekend at Bernie's II
. Led by the walking corpse of Matt Hasselbeck
and lacking anything that resembles a running game, Seattle played the same miserable sort football that Rams followers became so well-acquainted with these last few years. (And that's to say nothing of Pete Carroll
and his foolish fake field goal attempt.)
Fortunately, the Rams play in the worst division in all of football -- a division that they now sit atop thanks to losses yesterday by both Arizona and San Francisco. And as long as they're matched against competition like that, those inches will continue to make the difference.