As I pointed out earlier today, the St. Louis Rams played a fairly close game in the first half last week. Of course, my earlier post was about the offense, but the defense managed to limit the damage done through two quarters of play. Then Michael Vick activated his super human rushing powers and the Rams defense was caught.
This is from Football Outsiders' Quick Reads article today, breaking down individual performances from the first week of NFL action. All about Vick:
An example of halftime adjustments: Vick had 27 first-half pass plays, tied with Philip Rivers for most of the league. Of course, he wasn't particularly good on those pass plays, and so he threw only seven passes in the second half (including one sack). He added three second-half runs for 49 yards. He had five ten-yard runs in the game, tied with Houston's Ben Tate for the most in the league.
Vick and running back LeSean McCoy formed a deadly combination for the Eagles in the second half, one the Rams could not stop. From the same FO piece that had McCoy graded out as the best running back of the week:
Through three quarters, McCoy hadn't done much on the ground, gaining only 27 yards on his 11 carries, with no 10-plus-yard runs. He actually had negative rushing DYAR at that point. Then came the fourth quarter, and while he carried only four times in the final period, he made those carries count: an 11-yard gain on second-and-10; a 17-yard gain on first-and-10; a 49-yard touchdown; and an 18-yard gain on first-and-10. McCoy benefited greatly from the Michael Vick factor, as Rams defenders in fear of bootleg passes chased down the Eagles quarterback even after McCoy had crossed the line of scrimmage with the ball. McCoy also got good value in limited touches in the passing game. His two receptions produced a touchdown from third-and-goal at the 7, and an 8-yard gain on second-and-9.
Emphasis is mine. Vick's passes, particularly to DeSean Jackson, were fairly effective, but the Rams might have been able to contain the damage, certainly if the offense had been able to muster some points. The Rams defense had no answer for Vick, either as a rusher or rolling out to find a receiver.