The Rams starting units on defense and offense were nothing less than solid. Several players certainly shined on offense and defense. So did anyone guess that Bradford could look this good after 2 disappointments against 2 defensive 2nd units? Against the 3rd ranked NFL defense last year. Prepare for the position by position breakdown below the jump. But first...
Game Ball: The game ball should definitely go to Sam the Ram and Pat Shurmur. What!? If Pat Shurmur continues to call regular season like tonight, I would get down on my knees and apologize for requesting that Mr. Kroenke fire him. His 3rd or 4th string QB conducted a winning drive on the Patriots #1 D. Impressive, no?
QBs - Sam Bradford surprised the hell out of all of us. As a rookie, he appeared calm, cool, and collected leading the Rams to paydirt on the opening drive. I never have seen Thaddeus live, but I like his moblity, his decision making, and his ability to find the open man. That INT was not his fault, more on that later. Null looked nervous and was bailed out on the contact to the helmet call. Null should be concerned about making the roster.
RBs - Steven Jackson he is a beast. I love his second effort and his lower frame. After the first contact, he just pushes the defender off their base. He makes it look so easy too. If any of the second RBs had his will and determnation to get the extra yardage, they would be great. Darby ran the ball poorly: he consistently made poor choices in cutting back rather than pushing forward for extra yards. Not all was bad. He was excellent in blitz pick-up and catching the ball in the backfield. These are good qualities in 3rd and long situations. Ogbo just didn't stand out. He had bigger holes carved out, he danced, but he just seemed to drop after first contact. He really needs to develop leg and core strength. I liked Toston's effort and his overall game. He has earned a spot on at least the practice squad with his efforts tonight. Good ability to find the holes, great speed, and impressive juke moves. Would be interesting to see how his game is with 1st and 2nd stringers.
WRs - Avery looked good, but then he got hurt. Laurent went through the motions tonight. Amendola was a stud as usual. Gilyard had a good showing in the return game and catching with DBs hanging on him. Truth is, I really wasn't impressed with Brandon Gibson's mental awareness tonight. Yes he made some good grabs. He didn't go out of bounds in the 2 minute drill at the end of the half though. He made another mental error on another catch too. Burton showed why the Rams should still be interested in maintaining his services. He played hard tonight.and dragged a DB over 5 yards to get past the marker.
TEs - After the recast of the game tonight, I heard an NFL analyst bad mouth Bajema, and warn him that he should be concerned about his roster spot. This idiot don't know what he is talking about. Bajema displayed excellent blocking and was tossing guys aside. Hoooo-man (pronounced Ohhhh Man!!) had the game of his life. I am still wondering how he caught that one-handed downfield pass. And oh yeah, he had 2 TDs, that's pretty okay too. I really didn't get a chance to evaluate his blocking, but these 2 appear to be the starters. I really didn't catch much of Fells if any, maybe he didn't play tonight. Despite the wide open catch that should have been a TD, I thought Ono was still young in the tooth. He got whistled for a false start and got manhandled in blitz pick-up that led to the interception. He may need to be stashed to the practice squad.
OL/FB - I have a hard time focusing on these guys, but they played well overall. Not hearing their name means that the OL is really gelling together. I was a little disappointed in the play of Fraley tho. He doesn't seem to have a mean streak and doesn't finish plays off.
D-Line - Gary Gibson can stop the run. I watched him get upfield, pivot and smother the NE running back for a minimal gain twice tonight. Robbins had good push too. Long does a great job of blowing up plays and continued to do so tonight. Robbins still has gas left in the tank too. There wasn't too much brewing out of the RDE, but we had a potential 2-3rd stringer starter. The 2nd unit looked inspired against the Patriots 1st string.
LBs - Passable overall, but I question putting Hull on special teams. 2 of the big returns featured him getting manhandled in one on one coverage. Consider experience over youth. I really didn't see much after him. The LBs really didn't need to play that well with the D-Line as active as they were. Diggs had a good game, and I'd actually argue that Animal Jr. was sub-par tonight. Someone said Chamberlain played well, I cannot agree with that. He appeared out of position and trailing plays.
CBs - Great coverage game in the 1st half. Fletcher and Bartell looked solid. Dockery had a good game too.
Safeties - The starters played well and closed out on plays. It seemed that our boy Kevin struggled at times, but hold your head up, there is still time to learn from your mistakes and give it the 100% effort.