The Rams' offensive game plan against the Washington Redskins Saturday night was so vanilla you could have scooped it into a waffle cone.
"We did nothing new," Coach John Robinson said.
So this is progress? No, rather, this was just a last exhibition game of the most ordinary kind, a game where two teams attempted to out-bland the other in an effort to escape with their health and their secrets in order.
Today, good shins mean more than good wins.
With that in mind, the generic Redskins defeated the generic Rams, 26-14, before a crowd of 51,133 at Anaheim Stadium.
In this one, both teams used chapters from last week's playbook. For the Rams, it looked a lot like last week's 24-20 loss to Denver.
"We just played with what we had," Robinson said. "And the Redskins did the same thing."
The real curtain goes up next weekend, when the Rams open the regular season in Houston. And Robinson isn't into sneak previews.
Ram starters had only one real moment of note Saturday night, when they drove 80 yards in 10 plays for a first-quarter touchdown and a 7-0 lead, the score coming on a one-yard run by Mike Guman.
Then, as Robinson said, "It was almost like we said 'I think that's it for the night.' "
The touchdown was quickly followed by a succession of blunders, which included one fumble by Eric Dickerson, two interceptions off quarterback Jim Everett (one wasn't his fault) and one fumble by a rusty Buford McGee.
McGee also gets a big assist on the second Everett interception in the third quarter because he bobbled a perfectly good pass right into the hands of Redskin linebacker Mel Kaufman.
There were five Ram turnovers in all, plenty enough to take them out of the game completely.
The Rams had faint hopes of victory in the third quarter when safety Vince Newsome intercepted a Doug Williams pass and returned it 26 yards to the Washington 21. Four plays later, Charles White scored on a three-yard run to give the Rams a 14-13 lead.
Everett was sacked twice on the Rams' next possession for a total of 16 yards, forcing a Dale Hatcher punt.
Hatcher, who just by chance is wearing Dieter Brock's old No. 5 jersey this season, wobbled a 31-yard punt to the Ram 37.
The Redskins, behind reserve quarterback Williams, quickly moved in for a touchdown, the score coming on a one-yard run by Timmy Smith with 25 seconds left in the third quarter.
It put the Redskins ahead, 20-14, but there was more to come.
McGee, acquired from the San Diego Chargers in an off-season trade for Barry Redden, was making his first appearance of the summer after suffering from a hamstring injury.
And while he was open several times, holding onto the ball seemed a problem.
Early in the fourth quarter, McGee fumbled after turning a Hugh Millen pass into a 23-yard gain.
Ravin Caldwell recovered for Washington at the Ram 49, and nine plays later, the Redskins scored one last time, on a five-yard pass from Williams to tight end McEwen with 8:33 remaining.
"I was glad to see Buford McGee play," Robinson said. "He did some things well, but those fundamentals can come up and bite you."
McGee was sufficiently bitten.
For the Rams and Robinson, winning this game wasn't of utmost importance. But it was the way the Rams lost that Robinson took exception to.
"I'm glad the preseason's over," Robinson said. "We learned a great lesson. If you just show up and think you're talented, you get the hell kicked out of you. We would have lost to any NFL team tonight."
The Rams did get out of the game without any serious injuries, something Robinson had prayed for.
But because of his team's own sloppiness, Ram starters were forced to play well into the third quarter, this because the offensive unit ran just four plays in the second quarter. The Redskins ran 24, and it's no wonder they outscored the Rams, 13-0, in the quarter.
The first two scores came on Jess Atkinson field goals of 37 and 30 yards, the second cutting the lead to 7-6 with 2:27 left in the first half.
On the next series, though, Dickerson fumbled after being hit by defensive end Charles Mann, linebacker Rich Milot recovering at the Ram 19.
A key 19-yard pass from Jay Schroeder to Glenn Dennison moved the ball to the Ram four, and Schroeder sneaked in for a touchdown to give the Redskins a 13-7 lead on the last play before halftime.
In a show of union strength, members of the Rams and Redskins exchanged handshakes at midfield before Saturday's game. . . . Defensive end Shawn Miller (foot) and cornerback LeRoy Irvin (groin, back) did not dress for the game. . . . Henry Ellard is returning punts again for the Rams. . . . The Rams placed wide receiver Craig Richardson on injured reserve with tendinitis in his Achilles' tendon. Richardson, an 11th-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, was acquired last week on waivers. . . . Eric Dickerson finished with 50 yards in 15 carries. Jim Everett, who played almost three full quarters, completed 7 of 16 passes for 107 yards. . . . Ram guard Tom Newberry and Redskin defensive tackle Darryl Grant were ejected in the third quarter for fighting.