For awhile, there was no question that Danny Amendola would be the St. Louis Rams top receiver. He was averaging around 90 yards per game and catching anything thrown in his direction. Then he hurt his shoulder and later his foot. Unlike the Rams of old, other receivers stepped in to fill the void.
There is now a three-way race to lead the Rams in receiving yards, between Amendola, Chris Givens and Brandon Gibson. All three of those players are floating around 640 yards with one game to go. Gibson leads the team with 646 yards.
"None of them have come to me yet," Sam Bradford said when asked Wednesday if any of the three were looking for a few extra ball this week. "It's still early in the week. I think everyone may still have Christmas on the mind, but I'm sure that as the week goes on, that will probably be brought to my attention."
The last time the team had two players with more than 600 yards was 2010. This is the first time since the 2000 season that the Rams have had three receivers with more than 600 yards. It's a remarkable amount of balance for an offense that finally seems to be hitting its stride in recent weeks.
"I think it shows that we're not afraid to spread the ball out," Bradford explains. "The ball can go to any number of our receivers. We're not going to force it to one guy, and I think those numbers show that."
Part of it has been spreading the ball out. Part of it has been the emergence of players in the wake of injuries. When Amendola was on the shelf, Givens and Gibson saw more targets from Bradford. Tight end Lance Kendricks also stepped in to fill the void on occasion, like last week's 4-catch, 119-yard, one touchdown game in a win over the Buccaneers. He's fourth on the team with 486 receiving yards.
A committee approach has been a serviceable method this season, but the team is still seeking a go-to guy. Just look at the lack of 1,000-yard receivers. Torry Holt was the last St. Louis receiver to break that mark; that was in 2007.
Both Gibson and Amendola are due for free agency after this season. Signing Amendola appears to be a team priority. Gibson's status with the team could depend on whether or not the Rams find one of those potential 1,000-yard guys in free agency or waiting on the roster.