Just one week after an emotional overtime victory over the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, the St. Louis Rams came back to earth with a disappointing 24-10 road loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 2.
Making matters worse, those same Redskins that shredded the Rams’ defense for 182 yards on 37 carries were nowhere to be found on Thursday. Redskins rookie Matt Jones, who ran for 123 yards against the Rams, was held to just 38 yards on 11 carries Thursday in a 32-21 loss to the New York Giants.
The Redskins finished with only 88 yards rushing on 20 carries.
In a wide-ranking interview this week, Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis talked about the Redskins game as well as the difficult challenges ahead with the Pittsburgh Steelers coming to the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday (questions are paraphrased for space purposes):
Q: Was the performance against the Redskins last week a little harder to forget than other losses?
A: I hate losing, I hate losing more than I enjoy winning if that makes sense. We’ve talked about it all week. If I’m the Steelers, quite frankly I’d ruin the same plays (Washington) ran until we prove that we can stop it. Every (loss) gets to me. I think the opportunity to be 2-0 was a special one, so it hurt.
Q: Are Laurinaitis and the Rams defense eager to show that last week was an aberration rather than a trend harkening back to past seasons?
A: “It hurts the whole defense’s pride when you give up that many on the ground. Absolutely. The good thing about it is we have a lot of guys in this locker room ... I’ve been on teams in years past, four or five years ago, that it would have been a blame game, whose fault was it? Everyone in this locker room’s just looking at themselves in the mirror. How can I play better? What did I do wrong to contribute to that? When you have that, you can fix it.
Every (loss) gets to me. I think the opportunity to be 2-0 was a special one, so it hurt.
Rams LB James Laurinaitis
Q: How good is Steelers running back Le’veon Bell? (Bell returns after sitting out a two-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy).
A: One of the most complete backs that I’ve seen on tape. A lot of the workhorse type backs are really good runners, but you don’t have to worry about them in the receiving game a whole lot. When this guy motions out of the backfield to a no-back set, he can run the whole route tree.
Laurinaitis also recalled a recent conversation with former Rams defensive lineman and radio color analyst D’Marco Farr, who was talking about Bell with former Rams star running back Marshall Faulk.
“He was saying that Marshall doesn’t give out very many compliments about too many running backs - and this is one of Marshall’s favorite guys. For Marshall to give that guy a compliment ... better watch out.”
Q: Why is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (who is 6-foot-5, 240 pounds) so hard to bring down?
A: He’s massive. He’s bigger than me. When you watch film you almost laugh because he literally will just stand there. He won’t even hop, he’ll just stand there in the pocket. What’s unique is he doesn’t feel edge pressure. A lot of quarterbacks can feel those guys climbing (at him); he’s so big he’s not afraid of guys coming around the corner and getting him.
Q: What’s the potential like for Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree? (Ogletree had 18 tackles, including 15 solo stops, last week against the Redskins and has 29 tackles in two games)
A: He came to camp this year in phenomenal shape. The year before, year II, he had a lot of cheeseburgers in the offseason. He came in as a rookie as a really thin guy, ran around really well ... a lot of times after that rookie year sometimes you’ve got a lot of time and there’s a lot of food you can eat. My man was a little heavy but really determined to come back at (the weight) e played at his rookie year. On Sunday what you saw was just him flying to the ball. The sky’s the limit for him and how good he wants to be. He’s getting smarter and smarter. When you combine your instincts with how well he knows the defense, then you’re really starting to see him blossom. He’s a stud.