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It was a painful Sunday for Rams fans. The team not only managed to shoot itself in both feet, but also took collateral damage to the head, arms, torso and chest on their way to an embarrassing shoulda-coulda-woulda loss.
I'm not a big believer in moral victories. So, I'm never going to be roses after a loss, even more so considering how painful this one is. Simply put, the Rams had it. They had it. And then the blew it, again and again.
The offense moved the ball up and down the field against the top rated rushing defense in the league. It's amazing that a offensive line that had a field day in running situations is so terrible in passing situations. Barry Richardson had a good day while blocking for Darryl Richardson and Steven Jackson, but was turned into mincemeat by Cameron Wake again and again. Every single one of the Rams offensive lineman made a handful of great blocks along with a handful of piss-poor, absolutely terrible blocks yesterday. That type of inconsistency is baffling.
Sam Bradford had a good day, but I do have a few quibbles. It's really nitpicking, but he was about six inches off on a play that would have resulted in a touchdown (a pass to Brandon Gibson- he threw it high because of a defender underneath, but it was just out of Gibson's reach). He took a sack on the second to last play of the game, which would have sealed the Rams fate if Greg Zuerlein didn't have a rocket propelled leg. Other then that, he was good.
I'm not sure about you, but I think you are witnessing the replacing of Steven Jackson. It's sad to see, but Richardson has been earning everything he has gotten and looks to be an explosive back, given the Rams block for him.
It's also become painfully obvious that the Rams need a large, red-zone receiver. Brian Quick may be that guy in three years, but it's quite apparent why the coaching staff had him inactive. He just isn't ready for the big show. That's alright, because Austin Pettis, Brandon Gibson and Lance Kendricks all had good games. Gibson even more so, catching what has been by far the best catch of the season by any Rams player.
On defense, the Rams mostly shut down the Dolphins. They limited the run game and played well against the pass with most of Miami's yardage coming from check downs and screens, something that's always hard to defend against when Reggie Bush is given daylight. Janoris Jenkins' mental error cost the team six points when he tried to guess the route and failed miserably. JJ, don't try that when Craig Dahl is above you, for the sake of all of us.
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Finally, penalties killed this team. The Rams made a lot of mental mistakes against Miami. It could have been a lot worse considering the ref's handed them a few gimme's. This was a game the Rams should have won, and much like the game against Detroit, I'm left wondering why they didn't.
I'm sure it's excruciatingly obvious to Jeff Fisher that this team could easily be 5-1 sitting atop the much fought after NFC West. It should be, it isn't, and it annoys the hell out of me.
Hopefully, this will give the team motivation it needs for the next two weeks against Green Bay and New England.