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After Loss, Rams Are Looking Forward : Interconference: Chance for winning season lies in San Francisco and San Diego.

November 14, 1994|MIKE REILLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ram linebacker Shane Conlan finished with a game-high 11 tackles and his goal-line piledriver on a leaping Harvey Williams stopped the Raider tailback on a key fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line early in the third quarter.

A big hit, but the Rams still suffered a big loss, 20-17, on Sunday at Anaheim Stadium. And after the game, Conlan was far from a celebratory mood.

Not after the Rams gave up 303 yards total offense and watched their playoff hopes slip away.

"I would be elated (about the hit on Williams) if we had won the game," Conlan said. "But if we don't win the game, it doesn't mean. . . . If we would have come back and won, it might have meant something."

Instead, the Rams are 4-6 overall and 0-2 so far against the three other California teams.

With road games at San Francisco (8-2) and San Diego (8-2) in the next two weeks, will the Rams go 0-for-California, then load the moving van headed for St. Louis?

"We have to bounce back at San Francisco and smack them in the face and take our frustrations out on them," said Ram strong safety Marquez Pope, who finished second on the team in tackles with eight, seven solo.

"We couldn't do it in L.A. Our L.A. pass is revoked for right now, so we have to go up to San Francisco. After this, we're going to go take care of the Bay Area, then go take care of San Diego.

"It's not over with."

It's not over with is a theme Ram defensive tackle Sean Gilbert echoed when he called a players-only huddle on the sidelines early in the second quarter.

The Rams had given up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Hostetler to Rocket Ismail that put the Raiders ahead, 14-7. The Raiders had rolled up 164 yards total offense in more than a quarter, which left Gilbert in an inspirational mood.

"I told them we still had a lot of football to play, that's all," Gilbert said. "It wasn't anything I said, it was just everyone going out and asserting themselves and doing what they had to do."

Some got the message. Some didn't.

Later in the second quarter, cornerback Daryl Henley intercepted a Hostetler pass at the Ram 45 and returned it 23 yards.

Conlan delivered in the third quarter with the big hit on Williams, grabbing the leaping tailback by the waist and pile-driving him into the ground. Defensive end Gerald Robinson plowed into Hostetler early in the fourth quarter, knocking him out of the game with a toe injury.

But then there were typical Ram gaffes down the stretch, invoking not-too-distant memories of losses to Atlanta and Green Bay.

Tim Brown beat Robert Bailey for a 12-yard reception on a crucial third-and-five, keeping alive an early fourth-quarter drive that led to Jeff Jaeger's 44-yard field goal that gave the Raiders a 17-7 lead.

Remember Green Bay, where the Rams blew a 17-3 halftime lead? Remember the Rams shutting out Atlanta for three quarters, only to give up the game-winning touchdown to backup Bobby Hebert in the fourth quarter?

Defensive end Fred Stokes does. Stokes said that in both games, the Rams had a chance to turn their season around with victories, as they could have against the Raiders.

A victory over Atlanta would have give them a 3-2 record. Beating Green Bay would have made them 3-3.

"It's like a broken record," Stokes said. "It's like, 'Here we go again, the Rams have a chance to go to .500 and, nope, we don't do it.' "

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