Five thoughts on the sports week that was in St. Louis
(KTVI)- Here are some quick takes on the sports week that was as the calendar turns to November.
RAMS ON THE FIELD-For the second straight week, a dominant defensive effort propelled the St. Louis Rams to victory over a struggling opponent. The 27-6 win against San Francisco gives the Rams wins against each of their NFC West opponents, including division- leading Arizona, which still has to come to the Edward Jones Dome in early December. While the team is above .500 this late in the season for the first time in years, the defense and running back Todd Gurley are masking continuing problems in the passing game and in converting on third down. How the Rams address those issues between now and the December 6 clash with the Cardinals figures to determine if this will be the year that the playoff drought ends.
RAMS OFF THE FIELD– We’ll admit that it’s impossible to know how the continuing L.A. Story will end, but at the very least it was a good week for St. Louis’ efforts to remain an NFL market. Turnout and passion at the St. Louis public hearing on relocation Tuesday was evident, even if so too was the personal anger at Rams owner Stan Kroenke. NFL executives conceded that the relocation guidelines were not an objective set of points to be checked off a list. But they also saw and praised the passion of the fanbase here. The tenor in San Diego was also anti-ownership, but also took a few shots at St. Louis as really “a baseball town” and that Los Angeles didn’t want the Chargers, it wants the Rams back. Oakland’s hearing Thursday had sparse turnout but was the only one of three meetings where a team owner showed up.
The plans to actually fund and build a new NFL stadium took a small step forward this week in St. Louis, with the introduction of a funding bill in the Board of Aldermen Friday. It has yet to be assigned to a committee.
MIZZOU FOOTBALL– The Tigers didn’t play thanks to a bye week, but still made news for who they lost. The program announced Sunday that former starting quarterback Maty Mauk will be suspended for the remainder of the season for violating team rules. His status will then be re-evaluated. Mauk was suspended for another undisclosed team rule violation following the Tigers loss at Kentucky and was replaced by true Freshman Drew Lock. The Tigers are 1-3 since, and have had their own struggles in the passing and running attack. Can a championship-caliber defense propel Mizzou to at least two more wins in the final four of the season to become bowl-eligible? The work begins in a rare Tiger Thursday night home game against Mississippi State.
HOT STOVE WHEELS ABOUT TO TURN: The end of the World Series officially starts the clock on getting ready for Spring Training. Free Agency starts in five days. That puts us a little closer to finding out what it will cost the Cardinals to retain Jason Heyward or if teams like the Yankees, Angels or even the Cubs might swoop in with a dollar amount that makes it prohibitive. The apparent decision this week to pick up Jaime Garcia’s 2016 option for $11 million could mean St. Louis won’t be in the running for retaining John Lackey or chasing David Price unless the team finds a suitor for Lance Lynn.
BLUES FIGHT INJURY BUG- We still have a LOT of hockey to play, but when Spring comes and we’re counting points, Saturday’s effort by the St. Louis Blues should get plenty of “note”. They put a 3-2 OT win in the books without the services of Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz and Paul Stastny. Tarasenko’s absence is believed to be short-term while the others are anywhere between 4-11 weeks away. David Backes was at the head of the St. Louis charge, with 2 goals against Minnesota.