Robinson's ending isn't a happy one Retiring Rams coach goes out with a loss

December 24, 1991|By Don Seeholzer | Don Seeholzer,Orange County Register

SEATTLE -- And so, it's over.

No happy ending. No fond farewell. No last hurrah.

The Rams wanted to send John Robinson out a winner Sunday night in his last game as coach, and for a half, it appeared they might.

The second half was a different story, however, as the Seattle Seahawks rode a 16-0 third quarter to a 23-9 triumph before 51,100 in the Kingdome, in the final game of the season for both teams.

The victory also could mark the last game in Seattle for Seahawks coach Chuck Knox, who is expected to resign or be fired in the next few weeks and is considered a leading candidate to end up with the Rams.

Sunday night definitely was the end for Robinson, who wound up his nine-year run as Rams coach with a 3-13 season and 10 consecutive losses but said he wasn't leaving with any sadness.

"I think it's the end of nine years of times that I've really enjoyed," he said.

"When you're in this business, you have ups and clearly we've had a lot of ups. You have downs and obviously, we've had some downs. You expect that, and you have to deal with that. Right now the thing that I'm focusing on is the Henry Ellards, the Jackie Slaters, the Kevin Greenes. Jim Everett. All those people who have been on this team and have tried their best. We shared a lot of great times together. Even the times that weren't so good, we shared them together."

When it was over, some of those same players had their final say on Robinson, who finished his Rams career with a 79-74 record and had announced his resignation Wednesday, effective at the end of the season.

* Greene: "I think the only things you want to remember out of this are the loss of a great man and that we're all human and we're all susceptible to being cut, being released, trying to find a job. And, I guess, you're going to have to remember the pain. Try to remember that and hope it doesn't happen again."

* Cornerback Jerry Gray: "I think Coach Robinson's probably the best thing that's happened for the Rams. A lot of people might not agree, but that's my opinion. I think he was always torn between players and management. . . . It can create a lot of problems when you go out looking and you think you're going to get something better than you have."

* Slater: "It's been a very emotional time for most of the guys in the locker room to know that officially, as of the end of this football game, the man that has led us the last nine years would no longer be coaching our football team. It was very emotional to know that was it."

* Special-teams coach Gil Haskell: "He's done a lot for this organization that people don't realize. He's held this thing together for nine seasons. He's done really a fine job for this organization. Whatever happens, happens, but I admire him very much for that."

Robinson kept his farewell remarks to a minimum.

Asked what his plans are, he said, "Fly home," declining to elaborate.

Asked what he said to his players, he said: "Well, that's between the players and me. It won't go down in any history books."

The players concurred.

"He was Coach Robinson," said Slater, who hasn't made any decision about his own future. "One thing he's never done is bad-mouth the players. . . . It's just a real testimony to the character of the guy and the type of leader that he really was."

Robinson said he would miss his players the most, and he got a memorable performance Sunday from Tony Zendejas, who connected on field goals of 44, 46 and 50 yards to become the first NFL kicker to go through a season without a miss (17 for 17).

That was enough to lift the Rams to a 9-7 halftime lead, but Seattle (7-9) took control in the third quarter, scoring 16 points in 6:20 of game time.

Rookie John Kasay kicked a 35-yard field goal to put the Seahawks on top to stay, and James Jones added scoring runs of 1 and 6 yards to put the game away.

That last touchdown was set up by a fumbled snap from center, the sixth of the season for Everett, who completed 12 of 27 passes for 118 yards before being replaced by Mike Pagel with 10:26 remaining.

Everett also threw two interceptions, giving him a career-high 20 for the season, and his 11 touchdowns and 3,338 yards passing made this the worst full season of his six in the NFL.

What was this season like for him personally?

"Not very damn good," he said.

"I can't wait for 1992 to start."

Playoff schedule

!

FIRST ROUND Dec. 28 LA Raiders at K.C., 12:30 p.m.

Atlanta at New Orleans, 4 p.m.

Dec. 29 Dallas at Chi. or Detroit, 12:30 p.m.

New York Jets at Houston, 4 p.m.

SECOND ROUND Jan. 4 or Jan. 5 9'

AFC home teams: Buffalo and Denver

NFC home teams: Washington and Chicago or Detroit

* Conference championships: Jan. 12.

& * Super Bowl: Jan. 26.

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