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Mistakes wiped out the St. Louis Rams chance for the first road win of the season.
The St. Louis Rams probably should have had a road win on Sunday against the Dolphins, the team's first road win of the season. A series of mistakes throughout the game by any number of players unwound whatever chance they had, making Jeff Fisher's team to try and scramble down the field for a late drive to win or tie the game.
Pick your poison when it comes to mistakes. Penalties, yep, the Rams had those on both sides of the ball. Poor decision making, plenty of that to be found. Hell, even the usually reliable Greg Zuerlein looked all too human, missing three field goals after starting the game a perfect 15-for-15 ... as a rookie.
The offense had no problem moving the ball, except when if got into the Dolphins zone. On the ground, the Rams had 152 rushing yards on 27 carries. Bradford made a few heads up scrambles, but the real hero was Daryl Richardson who picked up 76 yards on 11 carries, looking every bit like the Rams primary rusher these days. Jackson had it going too, using his considerable power to move the pile. It's clear that his explosiveness is not what it used to be, hence RIchardson's role, but Jackson did manage to move the ball.
A long layoff didn't appear to benefit the defense. Janoris Jenkins reminded us all that he is in fact still a rookie. Gaffs like blowing his coverage on Marlon Moore proved to be the difference for the defense, which allowed just 192 net yards to the Dolphins.
Compare that to the Rams. St. Louis had 492 total yards of offense, the most since 2006, but they came up short when it mattered most. Much of that had to do with, yep, the little things. They didn't make the catches, the blocks and throws they needed to make.
Bradford had a pretty good game, but I'll admit that I'm just not sure what to think about him at this point. Taking that sack - yes, I know his receivers were covered - on the final drive of the game pushed them way out of field goal range. He gutted it out on that last drive, coming up short with a bad sack. Through the rest of the game, he made plays, but he's done little to dispel the notion that he needs max protection from his line to make things happen.
As for who stepped up without Danny Amendola, the team did a nice job of it ... most of them. Brandon Gibson had one excruciating play, but he caught seven of nine passes, including this amazing one to keep the drive going at the end of the game.
Lance Kendricks did some nice work of his own, catching four-of-four passes. Chris Givens caught another big play pass, but didn't do much to shore up the overall question of whether or not he can be more than just a deep speed guy. That may take more than a rookie season to do.
Ultimately, this was the same Rams team we've come to expect. They win on the margins, and they lose on the margins too. They just don't have enough of a whole package to overcome mistakes. Next week, it's Green Bay and then off to London.