CINCINNATI -- It was all good just a month ago.
It seems like much longer, but just four weeks ago, the St. Louis Rams had beaten the San Francisco 49ers for their second consecutive victory to get to 4-3 on the season. Playoff dreams danced in many people's heads.
The Rams have now lost four games in a row, which is twice as long as any winning streak they've put together this season. At 4-7, this season is officially off the rails, and it's fair to wonder where this team's next win will come from. Looking at the schedule, the season finale against the San Francisco 49ers looks like the Rams' best shot for a win, but that's far from a lock. One could reasonably argue that even the Niners are playing better than the Rams right now.
Entering the season, Rams coach Jeff Fisher and his staff didn't figure to be on the hot seat unless this season turned into a train wreck. Well, the wreckage is piling up every week, and if the Rams have any interest in changing the losing culture of the past decade, the time has come once again for owner Stan Kroenke to start making wholesale regime changes.
Sunday's loss was just the sum total of another lost season. The Rams' offense was its usual feckless self. The defense, perhaps worn down by a season full of offensive ineptitude, was unable to slow Cincinnati's offense. And the special teams chipped in some costly penalties to bring it all together.
We could go through the gory details, but there's no need at this point. This team and franchise need sweeping changes.
What were they thinking? Although the Bengals' 17-point lead was already insurmountable for the Rams' offense in the third quarter, QB Nick Foles threw a hideous interception across his body into the waiting hands of cornerback Leon Hall. Hall returned it 19 yards for a touchdown to make the score 31-7 and drive the dagger in further.
One reason to panic: The reasons to panic are too plentiful to list here, but the offense's inability to improve even a bit as this season has worn on is inexcusable. The scary thing is that there doesn't seem to be a quick fix the team can make in the offseason. The offense needs help at nearly every position and on the coaching staff.
Fantasy watch: Teams continue to do all they can to take running back Todd Gurley out of the St. Louis offense, although the Rams again helped the cause by falling behind and then trying to throw to get back in the game. Gurley finished with just nine carries for 19 yards and didn't score a touchdown for the first time in six weeks.
Ouch: The Rams didn't seem to have any major injury issues in the game, but they had plenty coming into it. They played without kicker Greg Zuerlein (groin), defensive end Robert Quinn (back), quarterback Case Keenum (concussion) and cornerback Trumaine Johnson (thigh).
What's next: The Rams return home to play the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals at the Edward Jones Dome next Sunday.