I can't decide if things are getting better or worse. The Rams racked up a season high 400 yards of total offense. Donnie Avery finally factored into the game. St. Louis passed for 278 yards. Steven Jackson averaged 4 yards per rush. James Laurinaitis racked up 6 tackles, 1 for a loss, a pass deflection and an interception. Oh yeah, the Rams also lost by 28 flonking points.
Image-influenced grades after the fold.
Boller played a early-90's-John Stamos-mullety kind of game. You didn't want to keep your eyes on it, but you had to. While he fumbled a ball inexpicably and threw the interception to open the 4th quarter, Boller exhibited the kind of passing game Rams fans had been dying for all year: an effective passing game that both spread the ball to different receivers and stretched the field between the longer passes and the short dump offs. What I would give to get those returns without two turnovers...
While Steven Jackson wasn't a Predator, he wasn't asked to be today. The Rams' offense relied on the pass, amazingly enough, without requiring SJax to bail them out. The botched handoff and the missing 20+run keep this in the C range.
Normalcy? Really?! I want to give a solid B for this game. Avery almost hit 100 yards and finally got into the end zone. Fells, McMichael, Burton and Amendola combined for 175 yards, amazingly. Still, drops and the lack of a 100 yard receiver make a B an impossibility. I have to say, given the first four games, I wouldn't mind repeat performances of this week from a receiving standpoint.
The pass protection, which allowed two sacks, was acceptable. The run blocking was not. Still, to deal with this D-line is a serious challenge for anyone. Jared Allen? No sacks. Keep that in mind.
How do I grade these guys when they're so different in two aspects? The run stuffing was great. It led to a final line for Adrian Peterson that any NFL team would be proud to own at the final whistle - 15 carries, 68 yards. Still, no sacks from the line (though we got one apiece form Dahl and Atogwe) and no forced fumbles made it relatively easy on Favre.
James Laurinaitis continues to get better and better. At this rate, he could well finish last in the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year balloting. Today, though, his 6 tackles coupled with an interception made an obvious impact. Will Witherspoon chipped in a quintuplet of tackles to push the Vikings away from the running game. That wasn't necessarily a good thing.
The only thing that saves this from an F is the play of Craig Dahl and Togs. That doesn't save the CBs from at least a D. Favre picked apart the secondary at a 75% clip, using Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice at will. Even Tarvaris Jackson came in for some mop-up PT, going 3 for 3 and gaining 68 yards. When Tarvaris Jackson completes 100% of his passes and averages 22 yards per throw, I don't care if it's pre-game warm ups. You have a problem.
The special teams did a good job of not being noticeable. Still, I would have liked to have seen a bit more out of Danny Amendola. Donnie Jones didn't have his best boot with him either, it should be noted.
Less than eight penalties with this team is, sadly, a success. And much to my, and what should be everyone's, surprise, Pat Shurmur opened up some pages of the playbook that had otherwise been... out of bounds. Hehehe. Seriously, though, where did some of these plays come from? What were we waiting for to start running some of these pass plays? We have to go back to some of these next week without abandoning Steven Jackson. And that's the reason this stays in the C range - we have to quit the Samkon Gado plays, the Mike Karney plays, the QB rush. What is the intent? If it's to give Steven Jackson a rest, then just run a normal pass play with an empty backfield, or with Gado as an extra blocker. What rationale exists to use Gado as a short yardage back? I'd love to hear someone with a good one. And no, the picture had nothing to do with this; I just think fat animals are funny.
Time to gear up for Jacksonville. If Seattle can destroy Jacksonville 41-0, then we can eke out a win, no?