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Rams struggle against backup QBs

Yesterday's defeat at the hands of Shaun Hill and the Detroit Lions marked the second time this season that the St. Louis Rams have lost to a backup QB. 

In their last loss, against Oakland, Bruce Gradkowski came in at the half and gave the Rams defense some trouble, though the real issue in that outing was their inability to score points as the defense did hold Oakland to just 16 points. Derek Anderson could be counted as a backup, since he is one now, but when the Rams faced him in week 1, he was the Arizona starter. 

The two QBs that the Rams have beaten: Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck, two established veterans that are among the league's better QBs of the last decade. Though they might be a bit long in the tooth, both still have the ability to win games. 

Here's the five QBs the Rams have faced this season (yes, I left out Jason Campbell). For the sake of comparison take a look at the numbers 

Derek Anderson
Career rating: 68.8
2010 rating: 59.5
Rating vs STL: 85.1

Bruce Gradkowski
Career: 67.2
2010: 74.7
vs. STL: 70.6

Donovan McNabb
Career: 86.5
2010: 81.9
vs. STL: 79.7

Matt Hasselbeck
Career: 82.9
2010: 70.7
vs. STL: 58.9

Shaun Hill
Career: 83.2
2010: 70.2
vs. STL: 117.6

The It should be noted that those ratings for opposing QBs in 2010 include their games against the Rams. 

It's not a perfect comparison. Though it does support the idea that the Rams have struggled the most against backup QBs this season, though until this week, the defense had done a mostly respectable job of limiting all of the offenses they've faced. Yesterday's performance by Shaun Hill was far more inexcusable. People in San Francisco have bemoaned his trade in the wake of their 0-5 start. 

Yesterday's loss was more reminiscent of the Oakland loss, in that the defense failed to get much pressure. In the week 2 loss, Spagnuolo and defensive coordinator Ken Flajole seemed to leave their aggressive instincts at home. It sure felt like the same thing was happening yesterday. When the front four couldn't get pressure, they never seemed to dial up the kind of blitzes, things like sending two guys through the same gap or a corner blitz, that had been mixed well throughout the defensive playbook in other games.

What happened? Were they too concerned with what might happen with Detroit's receivers and TEs left open? They got burned anyway. Spags did attempt to bring some aggression this week, resulting in a misguided onside kick to start the game. 

Next, it's Phillip Rivers, a QB with career 96.3 rating and a 102.8 rating on the season.  Their record, 2-3, is the same as the Rams.