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Rams 20, Jacksonville 23, F/OT: New route, same result

The St. Louis Rams had a much better effort today, but - stop me if you've heard this one before - it just wasn't enough as they lost in OT to the Jacksonville Jaguars. A quick recap:

The Offense

Again, the Rams offense just wasn't very good, but they really got hurt when Donnie Avery left the game. That took away a desperately needed dimension to the Rams offense. The Jacksonville run defense was tough; Steven Jackson got a measly 50 yards on 16 carries. The offensive line didn't have their best day opening holes for Jackson. One thing I noticed watching this game was that our blockers consistently had trouble getting to the second level. Jacksonville's safeties were in the box on almost every play, so it seemed, and they led the day in tackles. The blocking was much better; Bulger hit the dirt just one time...if only he had anyone to throw the ball to. 

It's kind of funny, but the passing game continues to be a strength for the Rams, except on third down. Speaking of third down, the Rams were pathetic, converting just 4 of 12. And third down wasn't the only problem area. The offense sputtered enough that they only had 11 total first downs to Jacksonville's 33. That's right 11 Rams first down to Jacksonville's 33. Which gives you some idea of why the Jags had 492 yards of offense to our 262.

The Defense

Our defense has definitely improved from the product on the field that last three seasons. If our offense had any competency whatsoever the defense is good enough that the Rams could win some games. That's not to say our defense is good. They took some ill-advised penalties today too. 

Gary Gibson is missed. DT has to be a priority for this team before next season. The Jones-Drew ground game eventually got to them, but they were on the field for more than 40 minutes, 42:12 to be exact. We just don't have the depth for that kind of exposure. 

The line had more pressure from the ends, including a nice back to back sack series. They also did a good job getting pressure, that resulted in two INTs, including Leonard Little's that made it a game.

The secondary had it's moments, both good and bad. Is Bartell still aching? He got burned twice in the first half for big plays. You could argue, not convincingly, that Holt's 41-yard catch was just a nice play, but he got burned bad on Sims-Walker's 35-yard catch. Four pass interference penalties hurt, though the Jaguars didn't get points on any of those drives. 

Ultimately, the defense suffered because they were on the field twice as long as the offense, and they're just not good enough to keep any team out of the end zone for 42 minutes. 

Special Teams

Donnie Jones didn't have his leg today; Josh Brown did. Danny Amendola has been the find of the season, averaging 31 yards on 4 kick returns. 

Ultimately, it was a disappointing effort for the Rams, who lost their 16th in a row. Maybe things would have been different with Avery. Still, at this point, it's hard not to wonder if they won't end up winless this season.