So different, yet so similar. The Rams still lost, but I'm hard pressed to recall the last Rams game where it came down the final drive.
- I think we all have a much better idea about just how important Steven Jackson is to this offense. The line opened holes for him today and that was important. However, Jackson's ability stretches many of those runs, squeezing a few extra yards out that another RB is less likely to get. He even blocked well on passing plays.
- Gotta hand it to the offensive line. They grinded it out today, making the running game matter again and giving Bulger enough protection to shoot himself in the foot. No sacks allowed. Romberg gave the Rams much better play at center than Leckey, and substituting Greco for Jacob Bell some helped keep the underweight free agent from getting tired and easily shoved aside.
- The Rams lost nothing with David Vobora playing in the middle. Now, let's not get irrationally exuberant, the Rams run defense was nothing special, but Vobora and the front seven played much better than in recent weeks. Still, we need more help at LB for next season. They made all that Wildcat talk look silly. When was the last time Tinoisamoa made a difference by being on the field?
- Chris Long played an outstanding game. The Rams have a real special player here, a guy that'll be the centerpiece of our defense in the years to come.
- Marc Bulger - Can't blame the o-line this around; they gave him the protection he needed for the most part. With Steven Jackson back in the lineup and clicking, the Rams had a ground threat to take the pressure off Bulger. He made bad throws; he couldn't find receivers... Holt was covered some nad the other receivers didn't always hit their routes well, but this is on Bulger. We're stuck with the guy, so I hope he gets better as the line play picks up and the ground game returns, but we have to bring in a legit replacement for him next season. This game was proof of that.
- Play calling - Seriously, throws to Klopfenstein, Becht? A draw play to Darby? And, please, the deep passes just don't seem to work anymore, not for lack of trying. Bulger just can't make them lately, so stop trying them. And one more thing on the play-calling, why didn't they go for it on 4th and 1 late in the 4th quarter. In case the coaches hadn't noticed, this team doesn't exactly have much to play for other than pride.
- The secondary - Jason Craft had a decent game (for the role he plays), but the secondary got beat with too much consistency to give the defense a completely passable report card. Chavous can't run or tackle well enough to play as much as he does. OJ Atogwe continues to prove his worth and is clearly an elite player, but he's having to do too much playing alongside Chavous and the rest of the weaker corners.
- Pass catching - I love our rookie wide receivers, and am anxious to see what they can do with a QB hitting his mark. However, Miami played tight and tough in coverage, after getting humiliated by New England the week before, and too often the Rams WRs were unable to get good separation. I can't help but wonder if we don't still need a big psychical WR, playing the role that Drew Bennett was supposed to play.