NFL power rankings, Week 3: Rams creating skeptics

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

An error-plagued loss to the Falcons left more than a few pundits wondering about the Rams' ability to compete.

It's that time of the week. Over-reaction Monday bled into power rankings Tuesday. For the St. Louis Rams, it's clear that a loss to the Falcons, a loss that was never as close as the final score says, created some questions among the people who make the rankings.

The Rams fell from 18 to 20 at SB Nation this week.

St. Louis has the league's youngest team, and it showed in a mistake-filled loss to the Falcons last week. The coaching decisions didn't help. It's going to be another up and down season for the Rams. At least St. Louis is on pace to repeat as the NFL's most penalized team.

They fell two spots at NFL.com too, from 16 to 18.

If only football games were 41 minutes long. The first 18-plus minutes of Rams-Falcons went horribly wrong for Jeff Fisher's crew. First, there was the opening scoring march by Matt Ryan and Co., then the bomb tossed by Ryan to Julio Jones, then Osi Umenyiora -- how old is he, 60? -- taking a pick to the house.

So what changed as the game went on? The strength of this St. Louis Rams team -- the pass rush -- got going. Meanwhile, quarterback Sam Bradford spread it around, hitting four different receivers on the Rams' first touchdown drive and three receivers on the second -- he even called his own number on scrambles. If Bradford can lift his play without the urgency imposed by a 24-3 deficit, working in tandem with a defense that promises to punish the other guys' quarterbacks, we won't be typing such long blurbs after losses.

ESPN put the Rams at 17, down from 15, and had this to say about the offense:

Sam Bradford completed 19 of his career-high 35 passes (54 percent) 5 yards downfield or fewer Sunday. The worst team last year completed 58 percent of those throws (Jets).

Take it for what it's worth. To me, power rankings are a weekly reflection of conventional wisdom. They are not the standings or even playoff picks, just a read on how teams stack up. When a team with increased expectations goes on the road and coughs up what could have been a win, it tends not to reflect well. The Rams have a chance to quiet the critics this week in Dallas.

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