The Rams continued their improved, inspired play against the Patriots in a hostile Foxborough, not an easy place to win (nor as easy place to referee apparently). Two areas worth revisiting that made a big difference in back and forth game the Rams lost by a touchdown: red zone offense and third down conversions.
On 12 possessions, the Rams moved the ball into the red zone twice, settling for field goals on both occasions. Their first trip to the red zone waso n their first possession, where a pass to Holt on 3rd & 2 on the NE 2 came up short. Had Steven Jackson been suited up, the odds of the Rams scoring a TD on that play would have been significantly better.
The second trip to the red zone was the most frustrating. Early in the 3rd quarter, game tied at 13 apiece, and the Rams get the ball with goodfield position thanks to yet another OJ Atogwe interception. They get a quick first down to get to the NE 33, and on 2nd and 7, Alex Barron gets called for holding, pushing the Rams back to 2nd and 17. Bad Alex Barron, bad. Then for some strange reason they hand it to Minor up the middle for three yards. I understand the decision to run there; the Patriots are set up and looking for a pass. But up the middle? Was Marty Schottenhiemer calling the plays? For a run, I would have liked to see the speedy Pittman get an opening on one of the sides. But I'm not entirely comfortable re-calling plays. And it almost worked, on 3rd and 14, Bulger connected with Holt on the left side, but 11 yards just wasn't enough, and they had to settle for three points. They almost pulled it out, but the 10 yard penalty just put them too far back.
We'll tlak third down conversions later in the day.