Rams trying to put lifeless loss behind them quickly

News-DemocratSeptember 23, 2013 

— With a short week of preparation for their Thursday might matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, the St. Louis Rams mercifcully don't have time to dwell on their ugly 31-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

"This is the National Football League, you can't dwell on it," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "You have to have a short-term memory, and if you don't, you won't bounce back. This team by and large despite the fact that it is young has a short-term memory and understands the next challenge. And, that's where we are going."

Fisher said he was confident that the Rams (1-2) would bounce back from their wretched effort against the Cowboys.

"They'll be fine," Fisher said. "I'm not concerned about them putting this one behind them and moving forward. All you have to do is put on a series here or a series there of our matchup in either one of the two games versus the 49ers, and we'll have their attention."

The Rams tied 24-24 and won 16-13 in overtime in their two meetings aginst the 49ers last season.

The defending NFC champion 49ers also enter the game with a 1-2 record, after falling 27-7 Sunday to the Indianapolis Colts at Candlestick Park.

"The 49ers probably in a lot of ways see themselves in the same situation that we are in," Fisher said. "They let one slip away and got beat at home. Now they have to deal with some injuries. They have an equal challenge to what we do."

The Rams held a practice late Monday afternoon, and Fisher said he would be looking ahead instead looking back at the loss to the Cowboys when he addressed the team prior to practice.

"I'm not going to discuss anything in front of them as far as the Cowboys are concerned," Fisher said. "I'm going to start talking about our challenges on Thursday night. You explain what we haven't done the last few weeks and what we need to do better. Here's what we can't do and what we have to do, and give them a list of things we need to improve."

The Rams have plenty of room for improvement after they were thoroughly dominated by the Cowboys in all three phases of the game.

Their offense produced only 18 yards and one first down in the first half, their defense gave up 175 rushing yards to DeMarco Murray and their special teams negated a touchdown by committing not one, but two penalties on an 84-yard punt return by Tavon Austin.

Fisher pointed to third down as the biggest factor in the loss. The Cowboys converted 45 percent (5 of 11) of their third downs, while the Rams converted only eight percent (1 of 13) of their third downs.

"Really the key is third down," Fisher said. "When you play a good offensive team like we did yesterday where our offense is struggling, the defense has to get turnovers or get the ball back, and we didn't do it. To me, that is really the difference in the game."

As for his team's porous rushing defense, Fisher said, "We did not get off blocks, we did not tackle well, we didn't set the edges."

Fisher said the Rams' offensive struggles could be attributed to the Cowboys and their pass rushers, who sacked quarterback Sam Bradford six times.

"It was their defense," Fisher said. "They were outstanding up front. They were getting penetration and they were matching up routes, and we just could not get things going."

Fisher said both the Rams and 49ers will be looking to crank up their rushing attack.

"I'm sure they will be determined to get the run game going as we will," Fisher said. "When Frank Gore has 11 carries in a loss, you can sense the frustration. The Colts ran 39 times against them yesterday. Time of possession -- when you are playing a quarterback like Colin Kaepernick, you have to keep him on the sideline. That was the Colts' philosophy, and they did a nice job of it."

Asked how the Rams could get a rushing game rolling that produced only 35 yards on 12 carries against the Cowboys, Fisher said, "We just have to hand it off more. We haven't had the opportunities. We've gotten behind. We have to get back to that early in the game."

The Rams have gotten off to slow starts in all three games this season. They've been outscored 24-0 in the first quarter and 51-13 in the first half.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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