I've got to hand it to Jeff Fisher. He's done wonders with a team that's been in the dumpster for nearly a decade. Of course, you know I hate the term moral victory (moral tie?). The Rams had oh-so-many chances to win the game. This team is on the upswing, but they aren't on the top yet. They accrue so many penalties that I can't help but think they aspire to be a mixture of the old Oakland Raiders and Portland Jailblazers.
Let's break it down.
Jo Jo Jo Jo Jo Jo-Lonn Dunbar Style
Hello! The Rams may have locked up James Laurinaitis and Chris Long, but they have to think about extending Jo-Lonn Dunbar's contract- right now. The more I watch him, the more I love him. Is he some freak of nature athletic player? No. But he's quick, he's smart, and he can cover the field. He's become one of the Rams most consistent and dare I say best players on the defense, let alone the team.
Oh, and kudo's to whoever came up with that title in the game thread. I can't remember who you are (nor do I feel like sifting through thousands of comments), but I love it. Keep up the good work.
Speaking of franchise QB's...Bradford's come under a lot of flack lately. I've been back and forth in my head a thousand times, but Bradford put on a hell of a game. It's clear that Danny Amendola has a huge impact on his game, and the Rams would be stupid not to pay Amendola to keep him around. Bradford had some spectacular throws against the 9ers.
Of course, some of the credit has to be given to Brian Schottenheimer. I know Jets fans hated him, but I love the guy. The Rams have been able to put up big yards against top defenses with little talent. It's going to be great to see Bradford get a second year in an offensive system for once.
No Gas Left in the Tank
I begged everyone not to wish Steven Jackson away during the trade deadline. There was no way this man was worth a second day pick, and I feel slightly vindicated after watching him play. He was unstoppable, which isn't something many people can say against such a strong 49ers defense. He is still, clearly, the leader of this team.
It's going to be interesting to see what happens this offseason. I'm not sure if Steven is going to want to leave, but I don't think the Rams will pay him 7 million either way. The best case scenario, and the one I'm currently hoping for, is one like Isaac Bruce- he is cut, only to be resigned at a lower cost.
Jeff Fisher has them. Seven, to be exact. To even have it as an option to go for it, with your punter in your own endzone no less, is madness. Yet, it worked. You've got to hand it to this team for going all out.
However, there is still room for playing smart football, as they lost the game (err, sorry, tied) due to penalties. The 80 yard bomb to Amendola and the 53 yard field goal (which was good) by Greg Zuerlein both would have wrapped up the game. Both were brought back by stupid, stupid penalties. The Rams shot themselves in the foot, knee, elbow, and finally head with those two plays, and many more.
With Chris Givens and Janoris Jenkins out, the Rams had opportunities for players that don't always see the field. Some excelled with the opportunities, like Bradley Fletcher, Trumaine Johnson and Lance Kendricks. Kendricks has been coming on strong lately and hopefully has finally shaken his stone hands.
Others were lukewarm. I went bananas like everyone else when Quick threw down his CB at the line only to race for a 30 yard touchdown. That's exactly the play you'd expect from the big wideout, but he didn't do much else. Austin Pettis was decent, coming it to make a few catches.
Finally, some were terrible. I don't know what it is that is causing Isaiah Pead's problems, but he simply doesn't have any clue what is going on out on the field. His awareness is near zilch, and if he continues to have problems holding onto the ball, he's never going to get ANY opportunities in the backfield. Also, Brandon Gibson continues to be a superstar on one play and an idiot on the next.
People talked about how great quarterbacks make players around them better. My question to you is, what if Sam Bradford is doing that? What if he's been pulling out every ounce of talent Brandon Gibson has? At this point, I think Gibson won't be on the team next year. He shows flashes every game, but he just makes too many mistakes.
Jeff Fisher must break his no offensive lineman draft rule so he can get Luke Joeckel and Chance Warmack back to back. I don't care if they trade down and pick them up, but if Sam Bradford is given time to throw, then I'll put money down that his numbers are going to be some of the best in the league.
The Rams didn't win, but I think you'll see some fire come out of this team next week against the Jets. Janoris Jenkins will smell the blood with Sanchez if he's allowed to play.