The Rams' fans in Anaheim Stadium didn't have much to cheer about in the early going Sunday--unless one takes a perverse joy in watching his team miss tackles, drop passes and flop and flounder its way to a 17-0 deficit.
So the biggest cheer of the first half was directed at Greg Bell, one of the players obtained in the Eric Dickerson trade. The former Buffalo running back gained 12 yards after catching a short pass in his debut as a Ram late in the second quarter.
Bell finished his first game as a Ram with 28 yards rushing in 7 carries and 59 yards receiving on 5 catches, including a 32-yard touchdown pass from Jim Everett that cut the Saints' lead to three (17-14).
"He's been good for us all week in practice," Coach John Robinson said. "I think he'll be able to help us. He's an outstanding receiver and I'm impressed with his athletic ability. I think he'll be an important weapon for us."
Bell said he feels no pressure to replace Dickerson.
"I felt great today, very confident," he said. "Everybody on the field for us today felt pressure. We're 1-7 so we all feel it."
About midway through the second quarter, Ram owner Georgia Frontiere left her spot on the sidelines and exited the field through the third-base dugout. The crowd, which had been very quiet, erupted into a loud chorus of boos that continued until Frontiere disappeared from view.
Saint nose tackle Tony Elliott was removed from the game in the second quarter after being kicked in the head. He had regained his senses by the start of the second half, only to turn his ankle in the third quarter. He was back in the game again in the fourth quarter, though.
In the nose tackle profession, it was just another normal day at office.
The Rams' first score came late in the second quarter after Saint tailback Dalton Hilliard fumbled and Ram cornerback Mickey Sutton recovered on the New Orleans 23-yard line.
It appeared that Hilliard may have fumbled after his knee was down, but that's not the way replay official Norm Schachter saw it.
"On reviewing the play, his elbow did not touch the ground before the ball went out," Schachter said. "His right knee was resting on a teammates' arm. I could not see conclusively where his left knee was (at the time of the fumble)."