Today is Festivus. I don't know if the St. Louis Rams will honor the event for the rest of us at their practice today, but they need a Festivus miracle to find some offensive firepower that's gone missing since breaking out for 36 points almost a month ago against Denver.
One key culprit in the Rams' recent struggles has been poor play from the offensive line. Right tackle Jason Smith's best Alex Barron impression last week has been much discussed, but both of the team's offensive tackles struggled. From Pro Football Focus:
Right tackle Jason Smith (-7.4) was no match for Tamba Hali. He allowed four pressures and two hits, and had three penalties accepted (and one declined), all of which hurt the team.
Left tackle Rodger Saffold (-3.4) had been showing progress, but in the past two games has regressed.
The interior line was a little better than they had been blocking for Steven Jackson, but their pass protection was a little suspect itself.
This week, the Rams offensive line went on the record to hold themselves accountable for their recent play. C Jason Brown expressed just how seriously he takes his job, and just how upset he is in the OL's poor performance.
Like I've said before, whatever quarterback is back there - even if it's not Sam - I look at that person as if it's my wife, my mother...That is one of the most upsetting, gut-wrenching feelings you can possibly have. Because if Sam isn't protected cleanly - if he's ever on the ground - that's a direct reflection on my performance. So of course, not just myself but everybody else, we're going to step it up.
Yes, it would be pretty upsetting to see your mother or wife on the ground with Tamba Hali on top of her...upsetting for lots of reasons.
The Rams offensive line has improved dramatically this season, with the past two games being a notable exception, compared to the injury-riddled seasons past and even the Greatest Show days. This season should be the first one in a decade that the Rams have allowed fewer than 40 sacks. Sure, the run blocking hasn't been as solid, but good things have, mostly, happened over the 60 minutes stretches when Bradford has time to make a play.
So, gather 'round the Festivus Pole and wish for a sack-free Sunday. While you're at it, be sure to wish for receivers getting their routes and hanging on to footballs.