Well, that was unexpected.
Following a long week of dispirited recuperation and low expectations, the St. Louis Rams took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in the midst of another losing streak. Meanwhile, the hometown Indianapolis Colts, fresh off two decisive victories and donning a 6-2 overall record, seemed all but ready for a confidence-building blowout.
As it turns out, they were.
The Rams dominated in all facets of the game and stole the show. The defense returned to form, shutting down Colts' running back Trent Richardson, while Kellen Clemens played nearly perfect by game-manager/backup standards.
Like always, the Rams made mistakes early. A maddening fumble deep in scoring territory once again gave their opposition the ball before they could run up the score and the team continues to be a magnet for yellow flags.
Still, regardless of any nitpicking criticism, this contest was essentially over by halftime. The players fought hard, the coaches were prepared, the play calling was admirable and the game plan was flawless. Against one of the toughest and most prolific opponents on their schedule, the Rams were the ones doing all the bullying and intimidating.
Richie Incognito proud of the way Rams are treating the Colts.— Play 60 Kid (@NatePlay60) November 10, 2013
The Rams can now take some rare momentum and pride into a long-overdue bye week before the Chicago Bears come to down. What better timing to revel in the moment of victory? It's going to be at least two weeks before St. Louis puts another mark in the win column, so start preparing with some satisfying links.
Post-game report card - To put it simply, it would have been nearly impossible -- and maybe just a little selfish -- for the Rams to have performed any better. Save for a couple small blemishes, St. Louis received almost perfect grades from the Post-Dispatch.
Zac Stacy had a below average day, but his numbers were largely skewed by intentionally short and generic runs to grind the clock. Kellen Clemens and the receivers clicked in limited use; however, Jared Cook was Jared Cook. Pass blocking was an obvious issue. The entire defense was a forced throughout the afternoon, while the special teams unit finally had a day of which fans could be proud.
Jeff Fisher may not have beaten his former team last week, but his new squad manhandled his old No. 1 rival.
Tavon Austin runs wild - You wanted him and you got him. Tavon Austin has emphatically silenced all prior "bust" talk to the tune of three touchdowns and 314 all-purpose yards. Before yesterday Austin was averaging 6.7 yards per catch on the season. After adding only two more receptions, he is now averaging 10.5.
Andrew Luck has miserable outing - Running for life and repeatedly getting hit are not traits of a winning quarterback in the NFL. Neither is turning the ball, which Andrew Luck did four times. I can't help but wonder if the Rams dialed up the pressure a little bit more than Indy's scout defense?
Nick Wagoner's reaction - Even with Daryl Richardson inactive, Isaiah Pead never saw the ball. Even though he never saw the ball, he still managed to screw up. Pead made his lone impact after the opening kickoff, when he was flagged for taunting.
More from Wagoner - And more on Andrew Luck fleeing the pocket. Lost among Tavon's amazing performance and the Rams breaking the scoreboard is that Robert Quinn had yet another stellar outing. Why after so many poor outcomes did the Colts returners insist on bringing the ball out of the end zone?
NFL.com Game Center - Highlights and lots of 'em! All the recap from yesterday's game that one could need.
Seahawks trounce Falcons - Once thought to be a potential NFC Championship match up, this game featured two teams who are now going in vastly different directions. Seattle had their way with Atlanta for nearly the entire afternoon. In quite possibly his final career game against the Seahawks, Steven Jackson rushed for 11 yards on nine carries.
49ers fall to Panthers - In a baseball-score "snoozefest," the Carolina Panthers did just enough to outlast the San Francisco 49ers in a 10-9 game. Have the resurgent Panthers done enough to assert themselves into the Super Bowl conversation?