I had a hard time coming up with a headline appropriate for just how awful the St. Louis Rams played today. Coming off a 2-1, three-game road trip, home field was anything but an advantage for Spagnuolo's team. In fact, the number of Chief fans made it more like a road game. But you certainly can't blame Rams fans for staying away after seeing the results on the field today.
Pathetic. Embarrassing. Those are the only words that apply. The Rams have played much better football this season, but apparently they forgot the recipe sometime during the last three weeks.
Let's take a look at today's 2009-esque disaster.
Today's grand failure was all about the offense, and their complete inability to do anything.
Things started well enough. The Rams got the opening kickoff, marched 60 plus yards and chewed up plenty of clock. But that drive ended with a field goal as two consecutive penalties and execution problems again limited the Rams offense to just 3 points. Similar thing happened on the next drive, and the Rams had 6 first quarter points instead of what could have been 14. It was over after that.
Penalties - The Rams had TK penalties, compared to the Chiefs TK. The poor discipline cost them, preventing an already challenged offense from holding onto any momentum and moving the football down the field. The flags were symbolic for an offense that was just completely unprepared to play. Jason Smith had three penalties, and that was just part of his problem today.
Pass protection - The Chiefs must have reviewed the Saints game plan against the Rams last week. They applied pressure, and the Rams offensive line had one of its worst games all season. Constant pressure on Bradford combined with the receivers' inability to get open and the offensive game plan's stubbornness to doom the Rams before the 4th quarter even began.
Coaching - The players played poorly, especially on the offensive side of the ball, but the Rams coaches deserve a heaping helping of blame for a second consecutive outing like this. Kansas City may have looked at the New Orleans game film, but the Rams sure didn't. The defense did find the aggressiveness it lacked last week, after sitting in cover-2 for much of the first half. But the inflexibility of the offensive game plan to do anything other than dump off passes and squeeze the last miles out of Steven Jackson buried them.
Yes, I realize the Rams don't have much talent at wide receiver, but the unwillingness of Pat Shurmur and Spagnuolo to make downfield throws still blows my mind. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. They rarely threw on first downs after establishing the run game on their first drive of the game, not until it was too late anyway. They couldn't get other receivers involved, and continued to target Laurent Robinson who has proven himself to be completely lacking any awareness of what's going on around him on the field. Oh, he also let a nice first down pass go right through his hands.
A few people are talking about benching Bradford. Nonsense. Bradford's definitely in a slump; the frustration is finally getting to him it seems. But the playoffs just don't mean enough to this team to bench the QB that's made them relevant again. Hopefully, he can bounce back next week in a must-win division game.
Seattle plays today, and against Atlanta. That probably means the NFC West gets swept today, miraculously leaving hte Rams in first place. But don't be fooled, this is not a playoff team. A playoff game for these Rams would be nothing more than a glorified scrimmage for whatever wild card team gets a free trip the Ed Jones Dome.