I'm going to leave these on the front to make sure any dissidents see them. Let's jump right in...
- You can fault the Oline for not giving him the space to work. You could fault the quality of the receivers for not getting open. And you can fault the inexperience of Gibson and Avery for a lack of timing or "clutch" in the red zone series near the end of the game. Still, Bulger threw inaccurate passes when they were most unacceptable, and he certainly didn't put the team on his back for a last gasp drive.
-This was the most unpronounced 116 yd, 1 TD game by Steven Jackson I've ever seen. Maybe that makes it the most impressive. Outside of bouncing a run up the sidelines for 48 yards, Jackson pounded the ball for 3 yards into the heart of the Cards' D all day. You can fault the playcalling and the Oline, but you can't fault Jackson. He's incredible.
- The combination of Avery and Gibson produced just behind what Fitzgerald and Boldin did. That deserved a hand given the protection Warner and Leinart were given. Still, they each had a shot at a TD reception that would have opened the door for a game-tying 2-point conversion, and they both failed. On one hand, it's great to see them producing something at the WR position; on the other, it's tough to see them drop the ball, literally and metaphorically. I for one am anxious to see Laurent Robinson on the field with these two. The tight ends were nonexistent - decent blocking that made no effect on the running game, and two catches for 19 yards by McMichael.
- It would be too easy to credit them for stepping up the game late; this unit suffered for three quarters, and, more blatantly, were absolutely dominated in the first half. This was a serious setback for a line that had been improving for weeks.
- Ignore Chris Long's sack and the shared sack between James Hall and Leonard Little; this group was embarrassed by Arizona's Oline for much of the game. Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells combined for 184 yards on 28 carries at a 6.57 yard per carry clip. IMO, more than a QB, this team needs DT and DE help to be a contender. Without it, you're asking the secondary to do too much.
- They made tackles. Laurinaitis finished with a team-high 16 (ridiculous), Vobora chipped in 6 and Grant added 3. They covered relatively well given the quality of the passing offense they were facing. The problem was on the D-line - you can't expect LBs to hold coverage for as long as the Dline was giving Warner and Leinart.
- Be surprised, but you can't argue how well the Rams limited the Fitzgerald-Boldin combo given how much time Arizona's QBs had. The secondary stepped up big time in the second half, especially in the 4th quarter. I'm starting to worry if I can keep my optimism in check if we add a slew of defenders to this team in the offseason.
- Amendola has earned return duties in 2010, hands down. He's got the vision to do so. Josh Brown is aging, but since the opening game against Seattle, he hasn't been a problem. Donnie Jones is a Pro Bowler.
Holler at me.