When I closed the second chapter of the Rams 2009 season, I felt we were on the precipice of a significant shift in our fortunes as a team. Sadly, I was right.
Today was a sad, sad display on offense and special teams. Unfortunately, the defensive effort has to be overshadowed by the failures in other aspects. If you dare, feel free to revisit the pain of today's game after the fold.
What did the Bulger haters really expect? 300 yards and 4 TDs? The passing aspect of this offense is fighting to be the worst in the NFL. That can't be held entirely against any QB who happens to be stuck on this team.
This was a poor game for Steven Jackson. You can shoulder some of the blame off to the offensive line or the passing attack, but in the end, 23 carries for less than 80 yards (at an average of 3.4 yards per carry) is beyond substandard for Action Jackson. He avoids a worse grade for effort which was obvious to the end.
Explanation not needed. If you think it is, you did not watch this game.
O-line: ? C-?
I'm confused by this unit week to week. Richie Incognito has, since week 1, shed his post-whistle tomfoolery and developed into one of our more reliable blockers. Alex Barron, formerly and currently Senor Penalty, is officially in Coach Spagnuolo's doghouse. I acknowledge the pass blocking effort (despite the 5 sacks), but without Jason Smith and Alex Barron, this is a line that lacks identity. I'm willing to do without Barron, but like it or not, J-Smith is a viable part of the Rams' future. IMO, when he's not on the field, you can feel the lack of purpose.
Yes, I know the Niners' o-line is beat up, but so was the Packers'. Still, four sacks, semi-consistent pressure, great push in the running game all day - you couldn't ask for much more out of this unit. Scarily, James Hall finished with 6 solo tackles, tied for a team high.
Again, Laurinaitis led this unit. Witherspoon made plays and Larry Grant & Paris Lenon contributed. Still, the coverage issue vs. TEs is becoming a serious problem in the red zone. John Carlson, Chris Cooley and now Vernon Davis all punished us. This is not likely to go away with Visanthe Shiancoe, Dallas Clark and Brandon Pettigrew all on tap before the bye.
While I'm not high on San Francisco's receiving options, the Rams did a good job at shutting down their passing game. I can't grade them in the A range without an interception, but San Francisco's best WR today was Josh Morgan who caught two balls for 39 yards and a TD.
Josh Brown missed a field goal and Donnie Jones had to deal with the wind (which notably stifled him), but the real devil was in the details. A great opening kickoff return called back. The first score of the game off of Quincy Butlers' foot. Subsequent returns by Danny Amendola and Kenneth Darby. This is not a top tier special teams unit, but it shouldn't be this miserable.
And while I rarely grade coaching, I feel as if I should this week. I'll let the TST community hash it out over the coming days (which I know will happen), but in case it doesn't, I'll be the first to say on the front page that this was sloppy beyond acceptance. Get it together. We can't afford the kind of mistakes we saw today if we expect to stay in games. We don't have the talent combined with the experience to pull us back from deficits. We might one day soon, but not today. This was very, very ugly, and I don't see it getting a whole lot better any time soon.