Okay, the bye week is over, and despite the Rams being in the comfort of their own homes, a lot of important things happend that have a direct impact on the Rams.
First, the Seahawks go down at the hands of the Vikings...and their own hands. There's no way to know what Hasselbeck's status is. I'm not one to take glee when a rival player is injured - bad karma - but I'm certainly willing to take advantage of the situtation. According to the wrap over at SB Nation's Seahawks site, Field Gulls, it doesn't sound like Hasselbeck's season is over, but it certainly seems like they've lost him for a few games, particularly a tough match up next week against a fired up KC team coming off a big, intra-divisional upset win over the Chargers.
That KC/San Diego game was another key bye week event for the Rams, as they saw their week 8 opponent fall to an inferior, on paper at least, team. We'll delve into this more later in the week, but I noticed a couple lessons in that game (hey, I had to watch some football this weekend) for Linehan to build on for a tough week 8 game. With 27 passing plays and 30 running plays, the KC maintained a balance that kept a strong Chargers defense guessing. However, a good air attack to start the game resulted in two TDs. The Chiefs, with what is arguably a weaker O line compared to the Rams and a back up QB, used an offensive attack to exploit the Chargers.
The Chargers defense is coming into next week without a couple of key players. Linebacker Shawne Merriman was suspended for four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. [hat tip to Arrowhead Pride]. Continuing a tough week for San Diego linbackers, Shaun Phillips, who leads the team in sacks, injured his right calf and is now out for 4-6 weeks. Besides a being a gift for Steven Jackson owners in fantasy leagues, this means lots of potential for Rams tight ends. If Linehan and co. took copious notes on yesterday's game, they would certainly notice the big day Tony Gonzalez had. With a Chargers defense weaker in at mid-field (Phillips went down in the second quarter) Gonzo was a huge part of the final, desperate drives for the Chiefs. Klopfenstein could be the Rams key to victory with a Chargers secondary busy doubleteaming Holt.
So, the Rams sit for a week, and watch a few stars align just right for their season's hopes. Helluva way to make the most of out your down time.