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Originally published December 12, 2011 at 11:21 PM | Page modified December 12, 2011 at 11:25 PM

St. Louis seems flustered in ragged loss to Seahawks

The Rams could be excused for experiencing immense frustration, having dropped four straight games to fall to 2-11.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Steven Jackson, the powerful running back for the not-so-powerful St. Louis Rams, insisted that it wasn't frustration he showed in the fourth quarter.

The Rams, who have the league's worst offense, were seemingly on their way to squandering another golden touchdown opportunity. And they were doing it, inexplicably, without involving Jackson on five straight plays from the 1, three of them passes.

It was at that point that Jackson gesticulated animatedly and seemed to shout toward the Rams sideline. The next play, the ball went to him, and he bulled his way into the end zone — much too little, and way too late to save the Rams.

"I think you guys are used to the intensity and emotion that I play with," Jackson said. "We were just at a point we couldn't get in the end zone. It wasn't frustration; more so, let's try to run this thing in."

The Rams could be excused for experiencing immense frustration, having dropped four straight games to fall to 2-11. They have been ravaged by injuries, and the future of both coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney are up in the air.

Quarterback Sam Bradford started despite the dreaded high ankle sprain that had left his status in question all week, but he has rarely resembled the fast-rising franchise quarterback of his rookie season. The Rams have scored 13 or fewer points in 10 of their games.

"It's just inconsistency," Bradford said. "I feel we've just lacked consistency all year. It's really hard to get a rhythm going when we don't establish the passing and run early in the game. It seems like we're always fighting to do that throughout the game instead of doing that early."

And as for their propensity to not use Jackson on the goal line, Bradford said, "I think it's basically all on what the defense gives you. It's easy to sit here and say we should give the ball to Jack every time and let him score. If we had scored on a couple of passes, I think everything would have been fine."

The Rams were playing catchup virtually from the beginning after a blocked punt led to a first-quarter Seattle touchdown. Spagnuolo blamed a missed blocking assignment caused by a change in personnel.

"They obviously planned to do that," the coach said. "We have to make that block there."

Spagnuolo felt the Rams were "swinging away" throughout the game but couldn't mount a rally.

"Our intent coming in here was to try and play basic, sound, fundamental football, get into the fourth quarter in a position to win the football game, and then try to win it," he said. "We didn't do that because it kind of got away from us."

Jackson didn't hesitate when asked for reasons to stay optimistic about the Rams' future.

"You have Sam Bradford, first of all," he said. "I think he's going to be a spectacular quarterback in this league. Any time you have a quarterback, you have a chance to win. We have a group of young guys growing in their career. If you can just keep them together, I think you have a foundation you can build off of."

Jackson disputed the term "regression" to describe the Rams' struggles.

"I don't think that's a fair assessment," he said. "We've had a lot of injuries. It's hard to win in this league when you're constantly shuffling offensive linemen. You don't have any chemistry there. When you have to go back to week one stuff, coaching that up, it stalls you from trying to move forward."

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @StoneLarry

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