The St. Louis Rams are 3-2, and, right or wrong, they feel nearly unstoppable thanks to a killer defense and an offense that has been good enough when it has to be. This week, the Rams face a much different challenge, one more hurdle they need to cross on the path toward respectability: winning on the road.
Yes, both losses came on the road, in Detroit to start the season and in Week 3 at Chicago. The Miami Dolphins look like a much more favorable matchup than either of those two NFC North opponents, but the Rams have another issue to overcome on the road and that's keeping Sam Bradford safe and secure.
The Rams have allowed 15 sacks this season. Only two teams have allowed their quarterback to be sacked more than than St. Louis. Oddly enough, those troubles are magnified on the road.
Miami can get to the quarterback. They have 15 sacks themselves this season, the same number as the Rams defense. Like the Rams, a game against the Cardinals padded their sack totals; they had eight in Week 4.
There is no easy answer as the Rams road woes in the sack department. The first week, against the Lions, injuries hit the unit pretty hard. Rodger Saffold left the game, and so did Scott Wells, which forced starting left guard Robert Turner over to center.
In Week 3, the Rams also had a new look to their offensive line, with Wayne Hunter making his first start in place of Saffold, who was hurt again in Week 2. Chicago's defensive line has been a powerful unit, their whole front seven, and the Rams really struggled against that group.
In the two games since then, the Rams have done a better job protecting the quarterback. Last week, Bradford was sacked just once. Even more impressive, the Seahawks sacked him just twice. The game plan has featured extra tight ends working as blockers to beef up protection. Quick passes and a dedication to the run have also helped.
The Rams lost Danny Amendola last week, for a month or more, and this will be their first game without him. As 3k noted in this post, it changes the game plan ... and raises big questions.
This will be the third week in a row for the present configuration of the offensive line, the longest stretch the Rams have had all season with the same starting five, preseason included. If they can maintain the progress shown so far, it gives the Rams a good chance to keep Bradford on his feet and a shot at the first road win of the season.