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Rams 10, Vikings 38: Lack of ball control dooms the Rams...again

Just in case you thought there was no avenue left for the St. Louis Rams to frustrate you, they took a struggling offense, moved the ball well, only to turn it over four times, three times inside the 10-yard line. 

Add to those turnovers seven penalties for 82 yards, and you've got yourself the recipe for some Rams football. The defense even got in on the bad penalties this week, a role usually reserved for the offense. 

Let's talk about the offense first. The Rams put up 400 yards of offense, 122 on the ground. They moved the ball, even topping the Vikings in the time of possession. More earth-shattering that that, critics of the passing game had some of their frustrated prayers answered. The average Rams passing play gained 7 yards. The average running play gained 5.7. The playcalling worked much better as the Rams made use of what they had, going with a lot of two tight end sets and finally getting some deep balls to their receivers; three passes went for 20 or more yards today. But it was all for naught, as the offense reminded us they just don't have the talent to overcome costly turnovers...and no team has the talent to overcome three turnovers inside the opponents' 10-yard line. 

The defense held Adrian Peterson to less than 70 yards. Of course, they struggled to contain Brett Favre and Minnesota's cast of pass catchers, who made things happen in big and small chunks. Of course, the defensive line didn't help the pass defense situation much. Coverage in the middle part of the field was particularly atrocious. 

Observations and musings:

 

  • Kyle Boller won't start again. Fine. Marc Bulger looked like a man on a mission when he came into the game.
  • Donnie Avery looks to have redeemed himself some.
  • The offensive line has glaring weaknesses. I'd start thinking about replacing Jacob Bell with Greco or Setterstrom, let the future begin now. Bell will surely get cut this spring. He's fine, but not worth his paycheck.
  • James Laurinaitis, while not at all flawless, looks to be a real star going forward. Chris Long looks like a solid defensive end...if only he'd been picked sometime in the second or third round.
  • Craig Dahl is a solid player. 
Ok, ok, ok. None of this means squat because the Rams couldn't hold onto the ball or keep themselves from getting flags tossed in their direction. There was some discussion about this in the game thread, and I'm going to open it up in the post game thread. Is that on the coaches, players or both? Coach Conners made a great point that the coaches drill these guys over and over again for ball control. Obviously both parties are culpable, but where does the buck stop?