Rams injuries and personnel decisions play a big role in a close game

The loss of both Rams' nickel corners in the fourth quarter helped Steve Breaston and the Cardinals seal the win.

The St. Louis Rams may have lost their season opener, but they did achieve on small victory during kickoff weekend: injuries seem to be minimal. The Rams have been so decimated by the injury bug in recent years that a game without major injury gets its own post. 

Special teams ace Chris Chamberlain seems to have suffered the most significant injury, according to the Rams official site. It's a foot injury and he'll be evaluated today. 

TE Michael Hoomanawanui left the game with a sprained ankle. While that's not the most serious injury, it's worth keep an eye on since it's also one of those injuries that can keep a player out for longer than you might expect. The Rams could have used him in the red zone. The best example of that came late on the Rams' second drive of the second quarter. Inside the red zone on 2nd-and-8, TE Billy Bajema fumbles a 4-yard pass that QB Sam Bradford eventually recovers. You can't help but wonder how that play might have turned out with Uh Oh catching the ball with hands that have been more than advertised, not mention his YAC potential. That was the first of five attempts to Bajema. 

Both nickel corners, Justin King and Kevin Dockery, missed the fourth quarter, forcing the Rams to use a safety, James Butler, in the nickel package. Their loss was felt as the scoring drive that put the Cardinals on top, culminating with a 21-yard TD to Larry Fizgerald. On that drive, Anderson found Breaston for 27-yards in a gap between the Rams linebackers and safety James Butler that might have turned out differently with a better coverage guy in there. It actually looked a like missed assignment in the replay, but the loss of those cornerbacks was felt throughout that fateful scoring drive. 

Dockery and King both left with hamstring injuries. It doesn't sound serious, but it's worth keeping an eye on. CB Jerome Murphy was inactive for this contest. 

Another personnel decision that had an impact in the final outcome was the decision to leave Brandon Gibson and Dominique Curry inactive. I understand that you can't dress all 53 players, but Gibson was a curious omission who could have helped a team that opted to pass 55 times. If Chamberlain is out next week, Curry will most likely be active on special teams. 

The Rams already look like a much better team this year, but the fact remains that they have a razor thin margin with their personnel. Every injury and roster decision matters, this game was a reminder of that. 

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