It is hard to win in the NFL when you're playing sloppy football. This young Rams team is finding that out the hard way today.
Two key third down conversions on the Falcons' first drive saw Steven Jackson score his first TD as a Falcon...and opened the floodgates for a litany of injuries. On the Rams' side, Matt Daniels and Rodger Saffold (shocker) have taken to the locker room.
The Rams responded with a quick 3 and out leaning on the electric versatility of Daryl Richarson. I am armed with an inhuman amount of sarcasm, and I intend to use it.
Both teams traded failed offensive possessions before it came down to yet another 3rd down for the Falcons. 81 yards later on a confused approach to defending Julio Jones saw the Falcons up two touchdowns.
The Rams responded with their first offensive flashes of the day, but Daryl Richardson flubbed a blitz-avoiding checkdown that popped the ball up in the air for Osi Umenyiora to take back for a defensive TD. Things were getting out of control.
Sam would march the team down the field again, but had to settle for a FG; Atlanta's late kick would match those three points preserving a three-TD lead.
So here's the deal.
Penalties hurt. Deflecting throwaway passes for pick sixes hurts. Dropping easy passes, Tavon Austin, hurts. Misplaying your defensive handoffs, Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod (I think) hurts. Falling down after Sam has thrown the ball your way, Jared Cook, hurts.
So it's down to second half semi-miracles and adjustments again. Offensively, we saw the blueprint late. Those last three drives, the Rams started to move the ball. It's going to take more of that obviously, but there has to be some defensive switches too.
I think it's going to require the linebackers to tighten underneath since there's nothing deep. The D-line would help with some more batted passes as it's going to be really hard to affect Matt Ryan when he's getting the ball off that quickly. A fortunate bounce here or there would be timely right about now.
It's doable. Sam and the run D have looked bright, but the rest of those sides of the ball have to shore up. Take away the 81-yarder to Julio, and Matt Ryan's clipping at less than 9 yards per completion and less than 6.25 per attempt. That's not horrible, but it's just too easy. That's why Atlanta's passed the ball 26 times and run it just a half dozen...of course when you've only gained 1 yard in those six carries...yeah.
Come on Rams. Put a game together.