Another week, another loss for the St. Louis Rams. So what did this week's loss, their sixth, have that the previous losses did not? Nothing really. Unlike some, the Rams went into the locker room at half time with a little something positive. As usual, a few solid possessions proved to be ephemeral and fleeting as the Rams went on to play another terrible game.
The Rams were plagued problems all over, but nothing more egregious than their run defense. Dallas rookie running back DeMarco Murray broke a single-game rushing record set by Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith in 1993. Murray finished the game with 253 rushing yards and a touchdown from a breakaway 91-yard run. Outside runs were a particular problem for the Rams. Missed tackles were another big problem.
Wait, didn't the Rams make a move to upgrade their run defense at outside linebacker? Yes, they did. One of those answers, Ben Leber, sat on the bench for the second week in a row after a terrible start to the season.
This was the second time this season that the Rams have allowed an opponent more than 200 rushing yards in a game. The Eagles topped 200 yards in week 1, and Washington got to 196 in week 4. Looking for answers as to why the Rams run defense has gotten worse than the bunch that used to regular get gashed in the old Linehan days? Don't ask head coach Steve Spagnuolo, he doesn't know either.
On offense, the Rams were their usual selves, backup A.J. Feeley performed about as well as starter Sam Bradford has this season with an inconsistent cast around him. They failed to convert a late game red zone trip, and finished the game tying their second lowest scoring output of the season.
Spagnuolo took some heat for taking his team to watch the World Series last night. Bill Cowher noted that it looked odd for a team struggling and starting a backup QB to be at a baseball game instead of preparing. At first, I was included to think that it was a non-issue, but I've changed my mind. Spagnuolo's trip to World Series, to me, speaks to the lack of urgency this team has shown this season. It's like nobody told them that 0-6 is unacceptable or that they're playing far, far worse than they should be.
Oddly enough, the defense was fairly effective against the pass until the bitter end.
Working the NFL beat for SB Nation today, I covered the Miami-Denver game. I have to say that the St. Louis Rams are the worst team in the NFL right now. A generous assessment might be that they're equally as incompetent as the Dolphins. Miami's head coach is likely to be fired this week.
A few random bullet points to throw your way:
- Brandon Lloyd is easily the best receiver on the field for the Rams, though he had a few Ram-esuqe moments. Lloyd caught six passes for 74 yards, leading all Rams receivers. I'm anxious to see what he can do with Sam Bradford.
- The offensive line had a better day. Feeley had time in the pocket to make throws. We're all hoping Jason Smith is okay. That said, the Rams didn't lose a thing with Adam Goldberg replacing Smith on the right side. Another penalty for Rodger Saffold, really?
- James Laurinaitis isn't exactly taking a big leap forward. He's the quarterback of a defense, of a group of linebackers, that seems unable to line up correctly. His development isn't headed in the right direction, like most of the other talent on this team. People are pissed off about the talent evaluation and acquisition, and I understand. But the coaches have a responsibility for developing players. When guys like Laurinaitis are regressing in their third season, it's not the scouting department's problem.
- I did like the way the Rams responded after losing Jason Smith. Why could they not sustain that?
- Thank God for Steven Jackson.
- That last bullet point aside, this team needs some speed at running back.
- Might there be some division among the coaching ranks? Last year's conservative Rams playcalling was all Spagnuolo. The Rams have gotten even more conservative as they've struggled. Why are they running the ball on third-and-nine?