Rams KO Bears, Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The underdog Rams kept chugging along, knocking off yet another divisional leader.

It appears the Rams have finally come into their own. The team, who was supposed to wither and die without quarterback Sam Bradford, has found a spark and has continued to ride it en-route to two consecutive victories against teams sitting on top of their respective divisions.

Before that, they stayed tough against the Panthers, a team with a high probability of heading to the playoffs. They lost by a yard to the NFC first seed Seahawks and dropped a close game to the Titans - a team very much in the hunt.

The Rams aren't a team to be taken lightly anymore.

On offense, the much beleaguered Brian Schottenheimer has seemingly bottled up lightning, turning a ho-hum unit with a journeyman backup quarterback into a ground-pounding juggernaut. The Rams have scored 80 points in the last two games, due to the success of rookies Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham and Tavon Austin.

The offense line, a perennial question mark, has seemingly been galvanized by a right tackle cast off, a first round bust and a left tackle whose physical took so long #Waiting4Jake starting trending in St. Louis.

On defense, the team struggled against the Bears, but held fast on a marathon goal line stand, only to let the Bears score a touchdown on one of the worst penalties the NFL has seen this year. The defensive line and Robert Quinn in particular continued to impress. Quinn is easily one of the best - if not the best - 4-3 DE in the league. He's so fast, the only way to stop him at this point is holding.

The secondary struggled with Cortland Finnegan and Trumaine Johnson dealing with injuries (the latter of which left the game, being replaced by an outclassed Brandon McGee). The Rams clearly still need help here and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Rams court Jarius Byrd (free agency) or Haha Clinton-Dix (draft) in the offseason.

Still, they found ways to make up for it, with two forced fumbles. Five weeks ago, that wouldn't have resulted in anything, even at the goal line. Now? 14 points, done and done. It's a testament to how far this team has come. They aren't botching plays. They aren't embarrassing themselves at the goal line. They just play and the last two weeks, it's been more than enough.

The Cardinals grasp on the 6th seed, just like the Rams long list of problems, is slowly but surely fading away. With the 49ers, Cardinals, Seahawks and Saints still on deck, the team's destiny is largely in their own hands. The Rams will be looking to prove something when they visit San Francisco next week after dropping an egg at home in week four.

It's then that we'll learn whether the team has legitimately turned the corner.

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