The St. Louis Rams beat the Indianapolis Colts 38-8 Sunday afternoon. The Colts were favored in Vegas by 9.5 points. If I had money down on this game, I would have lost it all. In our prediction post this week, I had the Colts over the Rams 42-24. Vegas and I couldn't have been more wrong.
The Rams showed a level of execution that hasn't been seen since Sam Bradford's rookie season. Being wrong feels awesome.
All three phases of the game were in sync today. The defense essentially shut down Andrew Luck, and made the Colt's offensive line look like a junior varsity unit. Chris Long's fumble recovery for a touchdown - caused by Robert Quinn's hit on Luck - set the tone for the game. Being wrong feels awesome.
The offense did enough on the ground with Zac Stacy to keep the Colts defense honest, which opened up coverage at opportune times; resulting in two nice touchdown passes from Kellen Clemens to Tavon Austin. Being wrong feels awesome.
The special teams unit had their fun too, with a 98 yard punt return for a touchdown by Tavon Austin. Being wrong feels awesome.
While buying into the Rams performing this well for the rest of the season may be a tall order, the game today gave the team a huge boost of confidence that could propel them to a winning record. The fans were gifted an unexpected win today; a win that gives the fans a spark of hope in a season darkened by the loss of Sam Bradford for the season. Let's look ahead to the remaining schedule.
Bye Week: The great thing about having the bye week this late into the schedule is the obvious rest and recuperation time it brings. Going into a bye week after a huge win can give the Rams time to meditate on the positives, work on the negatives, and come out a better team.
vs Chicago Bears: The Rams will be coming off of the bye week. Chicago will have played the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Baltimore Ravens before facing the rested Rams. The Bears lost a heart breaker against the Detroit Lions this Sunday at home. Jay Cutler isn't healthy, and the Bears defense ranks 25th overall, and allows an un-Bears like 129.4 rushing yards per game, ranking 31st. Can you say pound the rock? 24-14 Rams.
@ San Francisco 49ers: The Carolina Panthers just gave the rest of the league a blue print for beating this year's version of the 49ers. The Gold Diggers will be coming off of a loss at home and two consecutive tough road games in the Eastern U.S. The Rams are playing tough, but the 49ers are going to be playing tired and with a chip on their shoulder at home. 31-17 49ers. Being wrong feels awesome.
@ Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals just won against the now hapless Houston Texans. Bouncing across the country for games @ Jaguars, vs Colts, @ Eagles, before facing the Rams at University of Phoenix Stadium will have the Cardinals off kilter. They should be coming off of two consecutive losses before hosting the Rams who beat them in week one. A much tougher defense will get the win. 24-10 Rams.
vs New Orleans Saints: The Saints/Rams rivalry is a tough one. The Rams will be at home after two trips out West. Dome Field advantage is a push here, with the Ed probably not being full and many Saints fans making the drive up the Mississippi to take those spots. If the Rams are still healthy on defense at this point, they might be able to slow down Drew Brees and company. 35-21 Saints. Being wrong feels awesome.
vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are making the push for the #1 draft pick in 2014. I don't see the rudderless Pirates getting a win this season, and certainly not against the Rams at home. 31-21 Rams.
@ Seattle Seahawks: This isn't the same Rams team that lost 14-9 to the Sea Chickens in week eight. They are tougher. They are rallying around Kellen Clemens and Zac Stacy. Tavon Austin is coming out of his cloak of invisibility, and the defense went through puberty over the season. My bold prediction here is a Rams win, 21-17.
The Rams finish the 2013 season at 8-8, having proven that they can overcome the adversity of losing their franchise quarterback, and one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Go Rams!