Head coach Jeff Fisher and his St. Louis Rams are in London now, getting ready for a big game on the international stage against the New England Patriots. Before he left the country, Fisher and his staff did some reflecting on Sunday's 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Here's what he had to say.
The offensive line
"I thought they did a good job," Fisher said. "It was not just the line, it's the tight ends, it's the backs, it's everybody. We spent a great deal of time this week on protection, particularly because of the uniqueness of their defense. (Packers Defensive Coordinator) Dom's (Capers) always had defenses that are going to have free runners and free rushers. Rarely did that happen. We were beat on a couple of games inside there at the end, but I thought Sam had time, which was a good thing for us."
Bradford was sacked three times, but only hit twice and hurried twice. If you're wondering how that happened, look no further than the trusty old coverage sacks. Pro Football Focus credits Bradford for two of three sacks on the day. He has to get the ball out faster and be more aware of his hot routes and check down options. That's not all on him, but some of it very much is.
"I thought both (T) Joe (Barksdale) and (G) Shelley (Smith) did a really nice job in this game, considering this was Shelley's first start in a regular season game. We look there, we say, ‘Yeah, we improved up there on the offensive line.'"
The Rams scored 20 points last week, only the third time this season the offense has mustered 20 more more. Fisher notes that it's a work in progress when it comes to scoring, but there was something very positive happening this week.
"We're improving and we're trying to get things going and we're trying to get the ball in the end zone. I thought we did some good things. I thought we carried over things from practice into the game, and we had some success. Running the football in the plus territory is important, and we're going to have to continue to do that so we can get in the end zone."
The Rams ran the ball 22 times for 108 yards and a touchdown, Steven Jackson's first score of the season. The committee approach with Jackson and Richardson is working nicely thanks to their differing styles.
"I thought he was good. Nobody played good enough to win because we didn't win, but Sam made the throws. He bought time, he did a really good job on the line of scrimmage getting in and out of things. It might have been one of his best games."
That was the third time this season Bradford has thrown for more than 250 yards. His late touchdown throw to Austin Pettis was his seventh touchdown pass of the season and only his third since Week 2. He has five interceptions in that same span.
Ballsy move by Mike McCarthy, I thought, to do that in the first quarter. Green Bay recovered and got a field goal on the ensuing drive, making it 10-3. The Rams just weren't ready for it.
"It was just a surprise. We didn't leave early. It's not like we weren't anticipating it. We're coached to stay there and see the ball. Kick the ball. It was kicked up high, he made a great kick and they separated (CB Trumaine Johnson) ‘Tru' from the ball. We had chances at it on the ground, we just didn't get it."
No Huddle Scuffle
Fisher was upset with the refs over Aaron Rodgers pre-snap movement on the no-huddle. He felt it should have been a penalty. Here's how he described the situation with the refs on that:
"They're consistent. When the offense subs in the no huddle, the defense should be given the opportunity to match up. We didn't have any problems matching up. We didn't feel under any pressure subbing on our own, just keeping our d-line fresh. I also imagine he got away with the no huddle because he had a significant lead, too."
Much has been made about lapses in the secondary for the Rams in this game, and that group had more than a few mistakes. However, let's be honest here: Rodgers is just a good quarterback, and good quarterbacks will beat good cornerbacks the majority of the time.
"Aaron was really good. He threw with great accuracy yesterday and timing. He played really well. We gave him a lot of different looks. We had success early with our pressure. We lost the one sack on the illegal contact in the back of the end zone, but we were getting good pressure. Then, the ball started coming out a little quicker and quicker. They started chipping our ends. He just made the plays."
Had Chris Long not been handled so effectively at the line, things might have been different for Rodgers. The fact remains that he's a great QB, and the great QBs can create something out of nothing. That's exactly what happened with his late touchdown to Randall Cobb.