During my Monday night drop-in on 920 AM's Fan Interference, we decided to touch on a few positives from the St. Louis Rams' devastating loss to the Carolina Panthers last week. It was tough, but we did it. And one thing that we discussed was the improved performance of the run defense.
Carolina ran the ball 38 times, including 10 rushes from Cam Newton, for a grand total of 102 yards, and a woeful 2.7 yards per carry.
"I thought we improved quite a bit against the scheme, a very difficult scheme to defend," Jeff Fisher said Monday.
Robert Quinn registered five stops, tying James Laurinaitis for the most in the game. Quinn had three tackles for a loss, leading the team which total eight tackles for a loss in this game. Unfortunately, they were not able to stop a one-yard touchdown run from Mike Tolbert, one of only two offensive scores the Panthers had this week. It was an incredibly well-executed play by the Panthers line that led to Tolbert's score.
Carolina managed to get eight of its 21 first downs via the run, versus nine by throwing the ball and four from penalties. So the numbers were better against the run, but the timing still needs some work.
The down side of a better run defense is that the pass defense was still miserable. Soft zones, missed tackles in the secondary and the usual list of problems the Rams are having against the pass were more than enough for the Panthers to exploit for the win.