Of all the teams for the Rams to blow out this season, Minnesota didn't seem the most likely candidate. The Vikings run defense has been the best in the league all season, allowing an average of just under 55 yards per game. The Rams got to a rookie QB who likes mostly to run around before tossing to a RB early with a quick touchdown off an early pick. Keeping after the inexperienced and unimpressive Minnesota QB, the Rams were able to have the offense on the field for long stretches of time, where they could use the talented Steven Jackson to grind the Vikings run defense down. Three rushing TDs, 142 yards and a receiving TD just to garnish it all. Of course, it was likely that at some point a few of the Vikings recognized the direction their season was going and started phoning it in while thinking more about summer tour boat cruises with Fred Smoot.
I know I would have.
It was the Rams biggest margin of victory all season and hopefully a preview of things to come. Gone are the days of Mad Mike Martz's odds-against offense, replaced by an offense based on a solid ground game. (Although it is strange because with their poor pass defense, this is a team that Martz-ball would have also eviscerated.) My final verdict on Linehan is still being deliberated, but I do applaud his decision earlier this season to hand over the offensive coordinator duties to Olson. Together, they've centered the offense, as well they should, around Steven Jackson and solid play calling. It won't be exciting as the old Turf Show was, but once they get a solid defense in place, the Rams will start winning games again.
On Thursday, TST will look at the free agents available this offseason (as well as our own free agents), and who the Rams might consider signing as they look to improve on 8 wins this season. Next week, we'll do the same with the draft. By no means will these be comprehensive, just a starting point for us.
In the meantime, I want to encourage you to post your thoughts on offseason acquisitions, draft picks, the season that was 2006, the playoffs, and anything else Rams or NFL here in the comments or by writing your own diary. We should get a pretty lively discussion going as the offseason goes on.
Thanks for a great year here at TST. It's been a real honor to share my thoughts on the Rams with so many other fans who might otherwise never get to talk football outside the office water cooler.
Happy New Year everyone!