The St. Louis Rams spent Sunday battling the Seattle Seahawks pretty evenly through four quarters.
They fought hard before suffering a 20-13 defeat.
Around the NFC West: Dec. 31, 2012
The outcome marked the Rams' first loss in division play all season.
Rams fans should now root for the Seahawks as hard as they rooted against them Sunday. Or, at the very least, they should root hard against the Washington Redskins.
A victory by Seattle over Washington in the wild-card round would set up the Rams more favorably in the 2013 NFL draft. St. Louis holds the Redskins' first-round picks in 2013 and 2014.
The deeper Washington moves in the playoffs, the worse that 2013 pick becomes for St. Louis.
There are no guarantees the Rams' success in the division or ability to rally from 3-6-1 to 7-8-1 will carry over into the future. Arizona proved this season that finishing strong one season assures nothing positive for the future. I do think, however, that there were signs of an improved coaching staff almost across the board for the Rams under head coach Jeff Fisher this season. That will most likely carry over into the future.
The Rams allowed zero sacks over their final two games while playing on the road with a line featuring journeyman Barry Richardson at right tackle, waiver-wire addition Shelley Smith at right guard and backup Robert Turner at left guard. They went 4-1-1 in the division with a roster featuring not even one first or second alternate to the Pro Bowl, let alone a player deemed worthy enough to participate in the game outright.
Those types of things generally do not happen by accident.