The Rams’ defense gave up eight plays of 25+ yards in the first half of the 2013 season. That wouldn’t improve in the back half. In fact, the number of pass plays of 25 or more yards increased, from eight in Week 1-8, to twelve in Weeks 9-17. Let’s have a closer look...
And for those playing catch-up, the aforementioned passing plays allowed in the first half of the season can be viewed here [enter at your own risk].
To Recap Weeks 1-8, the Rams allowed:
* A 44-yd completion to Michael Floyd in Week 1
* An 81-yd TD catch to Julio Jones in Week 2
* A 42-yd completion to Anquan Boldin in Week 4
* A 67-yd TD catch to Justin Blackmon in Week 5
* A 28-yd completion to Cecil Shorts III in Week 5
* A 41-yd completion to Arian Foster in Week 6
* A 25-yd completion to Greg Olsen in Week 7
* An 80-yd [wave bye bye] TD catch to Golden Tate in Week 8
...some pretty impressive names on this list. You almost expect big plays from these types of players. There were more than a couple non-household names that made the list in the second half of the 2013 season.
Without further ado...
Week 9: Tennessee Titans at St. Louis Rams
Cortland Finnegan bites on the play-action pass, and Jake Locker rifles the ball to Kendall Wright through a tight window between Alec Ogletree and James Laurinaitis. The Rams’ middle linebacker has a chance to make the tackle at the Titans’ 31-yard line, but fails to stop Wright. McLeod would eventually drag him down, 28 yards after initial contact.
Result of the Play: 45-yd completion to Kendall Wright. 1st down at the Rams’ 41-yd line.
Week 10: St. Louis Rams at Indianapolis Colts
The dump off. Andrew Luck gets the ball out to Donald Brown in the flat. Ogletree over-runs the play, leaving Matt Conrath, Laurinaitis, and Darian Stewart to pursue. Brown was simply too fast for that trio. Janoris Jenkins was able to force him out just shy of the end zone.
Result of the Play: 26-yd completion to Donald Brown. 1st and goal on the Rams’ 4-yd line.
Same game...completely different set of circumstances. This double move...
T.Y. Hilton would catch the ball at midfield, while Jenkins is still try to regain his balance. Rodney McLeod is still 5+ yards away from making the stop...which he didn’t do. As you can see in the graphic below, the saving grace on this play may have actually been that McLeod [who is facing his own end zone] was cutting back inside. Doing so prompted Hilton to cut back towards the sideline, losing his balance, and ultimately tackling himself. This one could have gone the distance.
Result of the Play: 65-yd completion to T.Y. Hilton. 1st down at the Rams’ 14-yd line.
Week 12: Chicago Bears at St. Louis Rams
The Bears line up in a two-TE set, with Martellus Bennett just outside left tackle Jermon Bushrod. He finds a pretty sizable cushion approximately ten yards beyond the line of scrimmage and cuts into space towards the nearest sideline. Laurinaitis probably expects to have some help over the top, but Rams’ safety T.J. McDonald is slow to react, as seen in this graphic:
McDonald is still backpedaling on the play. McCown, as you can see, already has his arm cocked back, and throws a strike to the wide open tight end. McDonald would ultimately make the tackle.
Result of the Play: 37-yd completion to Martellus Bennett. First and goal at the Rams’ 7-yd line.
Week 13: St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Not quite as nasty, but Michael Crabtree breezes past Trumaine Johnson with a nice double move. After that it was pretty much just a foot race down the sideline. McDonald and Johnson were able to prevent Crabtree from going the distance, but the 49ers moved the ball from 20 to 20 with relative ease.
Result of the Play: 60-yd completion to Michael Crabtree. 1st and 10 at the Rams’ 20-yd line.
Week 14: St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals
T.J. McDonald shows blitz, but gets caught off guard by the snap and immediately falls a few paces behind TE Rob Housler who’s cutting across the field into space. Carson Palmer throws a beautiful pass, hitting Housler in stride, and allowing him to cut upfield. If that ball is thrown anywhere else, this play probably ends with an incompletion. McLeod makes the tackle just beyond midfield.
Result of the Play: 31-yd completion to Rob Housler. 1st and 10 on the Rams’ 49-yd line.
Same game...different receiver...another nice pass from Palmer.
Cardinals WR Jaron Brown beats Jenkins down the sideline. Again, the toss by Palmer is exactly where it needed to be. Jenkins makes a pretty nice breakup attempt on the play. So good, he actually thought he did...
Result of the Play: 32-yd completion to Jaron Brown. 1st and goal on the Rams’ 10-yd line.
Week 15: New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams
Saints’ WR Lance Moore runs out toward the far sideline [at the line of gain] before quickly cutting back up field into space. McLeod accompanies Moore to the sideline, but then gives up on the coverage at the Rams’ 45-yd line. Moore catches the pass from Drew Brees with defenders essentially ten yards in front of - and behind - him. Janoris Jenkins would ultimately make the stop.
Result of the Play: 30-yd completion to Lance Moore. 1st down at the Rams’ 26-yd line.
Same game, different receiver. Another dump takes up a sizable chunk of the field...
This is a well-designed play, and great recognition by Brees. Left tackle, Charles Brown, allows Rams’ DE Eugene Sims a free shot at the QB. In doing so, he’s able to pick up a block on Laurinaitis, who recognizes the screen and is in pursuit. Pierre Thomas then has plenty of space to run, with OG Ben Grubbs as his lead blocker. As you can see in the graphic below, the Rams were in no position to stop this play chewing up yardage [the dark spot inside the blue circle is the football]. McLeod would have the first shot at tackling Thomas...he’s 30 yards away when Thomas catches the ball. Ogletree never gave up on the play, and his speed allowed him to run Thomas down from behind.
Result of the Play: 28-yard completion to Pierre Thomas. 1st down at the Rams’
Week 16: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams
It’s easy to look right at McLeod on this play, but pay close attention to the top [sideline] side of the GIF. The Rams bring pressure, leaving one-on-one coverage for the Rams’ DBs. Bucs WR Chris Owusu smokes Janoris Jenkins off the line, forcing T.J. McDonald to pursue. Doing so opened up the middle of the field, and McLeod, who needed help from McDonald, was lucky that Glennon wasn’t able to hit Vincent Jackson in stride. Otherwise, this play goes for six.
Result of the Play: 30-yd completion to Vincent Jackson. 1st and goal at the Rams’ 3-yd line.
Week 17 [as tradition would have it]: St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks
You probably saw this coming. My apologies...
I’m not even sure this play is anything more than a sheer display of trust between a QB and his WR. Russell Wilson chucks this ball up in the air, and has full confidence that Golden Tate is going to come down with it. Why wouldn’t he? Tate feasted on the Rams last year, posting 222 of his 898 receiving yards and three of his five TD’s against them. Here’s another look at the play...where Jenkins simply over-ran the ball.
Result of the Play: 47-yd TD pass to Golden Tate
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