Rams' offensive line has new look, hard day

2011-11-28T00:30:00Z 2011-11-28T12:45:15Z Rams' offensive line has new look, hard dayBY JIM THOMAS stltoday.com
November 28, 2011 12:30 am  • 

The Rams' reshuffled offensive line featured new starters at right tackle, left tackle and right guard Sunday against Arizona.

• Right guard Harvey Dahl moved to right tackle.

• Right tackle Adam Goldberg moved to left tackle.

• Jason Brown came off the bench to start at right guard.

The results were mixed, and that's probably putting it mildly. Goldberg gave up two sacks to Cardinals outside linebacker Sam Acho, and both were costly. The first resulted in a lost fumble by quarterback Sam Bradford, ending a scoring opportunity midway through the first quarter. Rod Hood's interception had given the Rams possession at the Arizona 31; they had advanced to the 16 when Bradford was sacked.

The second Acho sack came on first and goal at the Arizona 8 in the final minute of the second quarter. The Rams ended up settling for a field goal after coach Steve Spagnuolo's decision to let the clock run down on second down.

Goldberg had started the previous four games at right tackle in place of the injured Jason Smith and had played some of the best football of his career. In the past, Goldberg has said right tackle is his preferred position but because of the injury situation, there was no other option at left tackle against Arizona.

"That's where the team needs me," Goldberg said. "Obviously, we're in a situation with the offensive line where we just have to adapt to what we got and roll as best we can. The expectations never change no matter who's playing; no matter where they're playing. You gotta be able to run the ball. You gotta be able to protect Sam. Period. And we weren't able to do those two things as well as we'd like — not well enough to win."

Brown had some rough moments Sunday in his first start at guard as a Ram. He was penalized once for holding, twice for false starts, and had trouble at times handling Arizona Pro Bowl defensive tackle Darnell Dockett.

The overall run-blocking wasn't great. After gaining 130 yards against Arizona three weeks ago, Steven Jackson got less than half that amount Sunday with 64 yards on 17 carries.


Signed on Thanksgiving, Nick Miller made his Rams debut a memorable one. He returned the first Arizona punt of the day 88 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. It was the Rams' first punt return for a TD since Dante Hall in 2007, and just the second for the Rams since 2002.

"It was just set up real well," said Miller, who is from Phoenix and trained with Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and others during the lockout. "We had great blocking. … Once I went around that corner I saw nothing but blue jerseys and freedom."


Brandon Lloyd's 16-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter was his 30th reception as a Ram, meaning the Rams must send Denver a fifth-round draft pick (instead of a sixth) in the October trade that brought him to St. Louis. … Rams inactives were: RB Cadillac Williams (calf), LB Josh Hull (hamstring), LB Ben Leber, OG Bryan Mattison, OT Mark LeVoir (pectoral), WR Danario Alexander (hamstring) and DT Justin Bannan (shoulder). … Patrick Peterson's 80-yard punt return for a TD for Arizona was his fourth of the season, tying an NFL single-season record.

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