Charting Rams’ QB Kellen Clemens vs. Tennessee Titans

Dilip Vishwanat

Kellen Clemens was the St. Louis Rams starting quarterback for the second consecutive week. Statistically, the Rams’ signal-caller showed improvement, but this development didn't necessarily lead to desired results.

There was little question Kellen Clemens would be the Rams’ starter going into Sunday’s home match up vs. the Tennessee Titans. Despite a two-interception performance on Monday Night Football, the Rams quickly made it evident a QB change was not in their plans for Week 9.

Clemens was far from perfect, but did finish his day without completing a pass to the opposition. The "INT" category wasn’t the only statistic in which he showed improvement though. Here’s a closer look at Clemens’ day broken down by quarter:


Comp
Att
Yards
Pct
1st Quarter
5
5
52
1.00
2nd Quarter
2
8
28
.250
3rd Quarter
6
9
60
.667
4th Quarter
7
13
70
.538


As you can see, it was a bit of a roller coaster performance for Clemens. He did display great accuracy at the start of the game, going 5-for-5 in the first quarter of play, and easing the minds of the restless masses. Truth be told, Clemens started his day going 8-for-8 for 85 yards, but an offsides penalty negated a five yard gain on the Rams’ first offensive drive of the 2nd quarter. Do the math. With the aforementioned penalty, Clemens started his day completing his first seven passes. He’d then go on to throw incompletions for the remainder of the first half [6 attempts], which accounted for 11+ minutes of play.

Hopping back on the roller coaster that most fans would enjoy, Clemens again showed poise coming out of halftime. The Rams - who received the ball first - successfully found pay-dirt after Clemens maneuvered the team down field for a 78-yard TD scoring drive; one in which he went 4-for-4 for 53 yards.

But when he’s off, he’s off…and not being able to execute when needed most couldn’t have come at worse times on Sunday.

In a tie [7-7] game, with 44 seconds left prior to halftime, the Clemens-lead offense found themselves in striking distance with a 1st and 10 on the Titans' 26 yard line. Three consecutive incompletions to Zac Stacy, Chris Givens, and Jared Cook; before Greg Zuerlein was trotting onto the field to put his warm up kicks to good use. To quickly summarize those plays [in case you wanted to re-live them], the screen to Stacy was dropped. He would have, however, been blown up by a pursuing corner back for minimal/no gain. The pass to Givens was thrown on the run, out of bounds, and stood no chance of advancing the ball. Lastly, and simply put, the pass to Cook was forced. The defender was draped over his back. The entire drive lasted 10 seconds.

It wouldn’t be the only drive of the game where the Rams found themselves in a position to change the momentum of the game, and secure a tie. Let’s set the mood…

With 2:54 left in the 4th quarter, the Rams found themselves down seven points. Clemens - whose fumble on the previous drive had lead to a Chris Johnson touchdown - was under center at the Rams own 20-yard line. It’s fair to say - at this point - that momentum had swung in the Titans’ favor. Now was the time for Clemens to show off his three-minute drill.

Incomplete pass to Austin Pettis [thrown behind]. Incomplete pass to Tavon Austin [thrown too late]. Incomplete pass to Jared Cook [again, flat-footed with defender on his back]. Punt.

Clemens has shown an innate ability to keep plays alive with his mobility, which is certainly a feather in his cap. What he does after having extended those plays, though, is questionable. In the aforementioned drive, more accurate/timely passes to Pettis and Austin would’ve each lead to first downs. Timing…rhythm…not there.

Clemens ultimately ended the day with a decent stat line. But no one cares about the stats of a backup QB unless they lead to a win. He’d finished Week 9 going 20 for 35 [57.1%], 210 yards, and one score. For a closer look at his day:


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