Around the NFC West: Rams back to reality

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says first impressions were misleading at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams' early goal-line stand wasn't enough to send St. Louis on its way. In my view, that's because these aren't the same old Cardinals.

Also from Thomas: The halftime ceremony honoring Dick Vermeil stood as one of the few highlights for the Rams.

Brian Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes Rams quarterback Marc Bulger as saying he doesn't care about criticism from fans. Burwell defends Bulger from criticism he considers unfair. Bulger said he felt he had to take risks to score points, one reason he threw the game-turning interception to Antrel Rolle.

Bill Coats of Around the Horns nonetheless gives Bulger a "D" grade for his performance during the blowout defeat. The running backs received a D-minus. Steven Jackson probably should have rested his thigh injury another week.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says consecutive defeats have cut the Rams down to size following two improbable victories to start the Jim Haslett era. Miklasz outlines personnel deficiencies, calling out running back Antonio Pittman as not good enough for the backup role. Pittman's injury situation appears to be a factor there.

Also from Miklasz: A series of quick-hitting thoughts on the game, including a call for a lineup change at center. Miklasz also isn't seeing much from new left guard Jacob Bell.

Rod Kloeckner of the Belleville News-Democrat says Jackson took his poor performance personally and planned to use it as motivation for the rest of the season.

Also from Kloeckner: Derek Stanley's first career reception was a memorable one.

Steve Korte of Ramblings gives the running backs an "F" grade, citing injuries as a key reason for the poor performance.

Also from Korte: Vermeil spreads the credit for the Rams' one successful season under his watch.

More from Korte: No running game meant no chance for the Rams.

VanRam of Turf Show Times thinks the Rams' defense will be strong for years to come. He also ponders lineup changes on offense, from quarterback to the line.