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Rams playing with attitude under new coach

Monday, September 17, 2012 | 11:36 p.m. CDT
St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher reacts after his team scored on a two-point conversion in fourth quarter Sunday against the Washington Redskins at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — A large part of Jeff Fisher's rebuilding job with the St. Louis Rams is getting players accustomed to failure to believe they can win.

So far, it's working.

The Rams are 1-1, already halfway to last season's win total, heading into this week's game at Chicago. They're playing with the same attitude their coach brings to the job, too, having fun and getting the job done.

"When you're here, you expect to win," Fisher said Monday, a day after the Rams' 31-28 win over Washington in the home opener.

"That's kind of the attitude that they have and that goes back to our first little scuffle in the first play of our OTA."

The Rams won their home opener for the first time since 2006.

They rallied from a 15-point deficit to win for the first time since beating the Texans in Houston on Nov. 27, 2005.

They've scored 23 or more points in consecutive games for the first time since 2006.

The offense was 7 for 12 on third down behind Sam Bradford's fourth career 300-yard passing game and Danny Amendola's 15 catches.

The defense held the Redskins, who scored 40 points in their opener, to one touchdown after halftime.

"It's a great feeling," defensive end Chris Long said. "But that's why we put in all the hard work, to see the product of Sunday.

"It just makes us more hungry to come out and prepare for next week."

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan played for Fisher in Tennessee and was the Rams' biggest free agent pickup in the offseason. Fisher loves Finnegan's feisty nature and counted on him leading by example.

The numerous scrums against the Redskins, well, a lot of that is coming from Finnegan channeling Fisher.

"We're going to credit 'Cort' with an awful lot from an attitude standpoint," Fisher said. "But these guys, they all had it deep down inside of them.

"We just had to bring it out of them."

Finnegan said Fisher's passion for the game, and for his players, rubs off on everyone.

"You know what, I think that's just the attitude of our head coach and everything that we're about," Finnegan said. "We want to be a physical defense, we don't want to back down or take anything from anybody."

Finnegan made an invaluable contribution late in the game when he gave Josh Morgan an extra little push after tackling him just shy of a first down at the Rams 29.

Morgan retaliated by throwing the ball at Finnegan and got whistled for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that left the Redskins, hoping to force overtime, with a last-gasp 62-yard field goal attempt by Billy Cundiff that was not close.

"I think going into it both defenses knew it was going to be physical," Finnegan said. "They like to run the football. So do we. Who was going to be the tougher defense?"

Then he paused just a beat before adding, "You just don't want to ever hurt your team with a personal foul or something like that."

Amendola caught passes on the Rams' first five plays and seven of the first eight. He tied an NFL record with 12 first-half catches.

"It's a great example for the team that things don't always go perfect. They play, too. They get coached and paid, too," Fisher said of the Redskins.

"So, you're going to win some downs and lose some downs but just bounce right back. Put it behind you."

Long was the second overall pick of the 2008 draft and has yet to play on a winning team. He enjoys this new style of playing with an edge.

"It was a lot of chippy stuff, but that's to be expected," Long said. "It's football and grown men out there playing, so that's how it's going to go."

 


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