Horrible. Awful. Disgraceful. All these words and more summarize the Rams game yesterday against the Cardinals. They were tied or had the lead over the Cardinals during the entire game, except for at the end. The Rams lost the game in OT, but honestly it shouldn't have ever went to overtime, or even to the Rams having to attempt a game winning FG. The Rams had a touchdown lead in the 4th quarter and were unable to sustain any offensive drive at all. A simple FG would of put the game out of reach, but the offense was so ineffective, they couldn't muster up one. It was one of the most disappointing losses in the Spagnuolo era and, after the jump, I will break down some stats I found important.
All Stats from NFL.com
- Steven Jackson: 29 carries for 130 yards. It there anything left to say about Steven. What a warrior. He is the only player who shows up consistently each week. He gives the Rams 200% effort each week, and he deserves better. What a warrior.
- Donnie Jones had a very nice day. He killed four punts in the twenty, which helped the Rams defense get two safeties. Also, on the Peterson punt return to win the game, it wasn't Donnie's fault. He put the ball up with great hang time within the five yard line. The Rams STs just couldn't tackle Peterson, but give him credit. That was a sick return.
- The Rams defense held their opponents to under 300 yards for the 3rd strait week. They also held the Cardinals to under 100 yards rushing at 70. Also consider that 38 of those came from the QB, John Skelton. The rush defense is really stepping it up lately. Blame the defense all you want for the 4th quarter, but those guys balled out.
- Sam Bradford 23/36 (63.9%), 236 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. Overall, coming off of his high ankle sprain, Sam played okay. His completion percentage was good, along with the yards, but again he threw no TDs and missed some open guys, particularly downfield. It's unfair to judge him on this game though, or even this season, but I'll get more into that with my quarterback review later this week. For now, Sam's in a sophomore slump that is caused by many factors.
- Brandon Lloyd had a decent statistical day with 5 catches for 80 yards. He even drew two penalties for pass interference, but, he disappeared in the 4th quarter. Patrick Peterson and Lloyd had a great battle and I'm looking forward to the next game and the next Lloyd v. Peterson.
- Rams: 3/14 (21%) on 3rd down. This is the main reason the Cardinals were able to complete their comeback. The Rams were unable to keep drives going during this game. Thus they weren't able to chew out the clock and finish off Arizona in the fourth. This needs to start improving and one area to start is the 3rd down calls themselves. Overall, the offense becomes too predictable on 3rd down in my opinion (e.g., handing off the ball to Brit Miller the second time in the game.)
- 9 penalties for 71 yards. This is embarrassing. The Rams have been unable to solve any of their problems in this area this year. Each week it seems the Rams get 7-9 penalties. The worst part is, it's not getting better. It's getting worse. There seems to be a lack of accountability as it relates to penalties. The lack of discipline is one of the most glaring problems with these Rams.
- The Rams only reached the red zone once and didn't score a TD. You can't blame the red zone offense, when the offense never gets there. Drives just kept stalling for the Rams Sunday. Not scoring a TD against a 1-6 team is an embarrassment. I'm really starting to think Josh McDaniels is way overrated. It's way easier to call plays with Tom Brady and the great Patriots offense isn't it Josh?
- 5 sacks. The Rams are the worst team at pass protection this year. They have given up 31 sacks this year after only giving up 34 all of 2010. Both Sam and the offensive line are to blame for this pass protection mess this season. Sam for showing bad pocket presence and holding onto the ball too long. Also, Sam is struggling with calling the line calls for the first time in his NFL career. So many times, there are free rushers, simply because the wrong line call was made by Sam. The offensive line also has been sub-par this year, especially the tackles. Saffold is struggling in his second season and Jason Smith seems to be lost in pass blocking and more suited to playing guard (though he didn't play yesterday.)
- Spags record 9-31. At some point results are needed. If Spags can't get some wins soon, he and Billy D might be shown the door before the season ends.