The grass at Wembley Stadium did the St. Louis Rams no favors, said head coach Jeff Fisher.
Touchdowns weren't the only thing missing from the St. Louis Rams 45-7 loss last week in London. While not scoring points is a regular thing for the Rams, the team can usually count on getting pressure on the opposing quarterback. Not in Week 8.
The Rams didn't sack Tom Brady once. Defenders hit the fashion icon once and pressured him nine times, but it was too little to keep the Patriots from piling up more points than the Rams have scored in their last three games. Head coach Jeff Fisher said part of it had to do with the playing surface on the soccer field at Wembley Stadium, which features natural grass.
"When you've got footing issues, it's tough to get pressure and when you go ahead and manufacture pressure against a quarterback like that with so much time on the line of scrimmage it's going to hurt you," Fisher said.
Fisher, not one for excuses, pointed to other factors in the team's inability to generate much pressure, the Patriots' outstanding blocking, for instance, and Brady's ability to get the ball out rapidly.
The soccer field versus the turf in the Dome probably does play some role, but the Rams were having just as much trouble getting pressure the week before against the Packers inside the Ed Jones Dome. The defense did sack Aaron Rodgers twice, but he was his just three times and hurried another five. It's not a significant change from the week to week.
The Patriots, on the other hand, had little problems getting to Bradford.
One of the most notable occurrences for the Rams defense is Chris Long getting shut out in two straight games. Robert Quinn had two pressures, hurries, last week. The week before, he had a sack, three hits and two hurries. Pressure from elsewhere along the line has been similar. Shut down Quinn, shut down the Rams pass rush? It's starting to look like that.
Grass, turf, whatever, when Chris Long isn't getting pressure, the Rams defense is suffering.