Not everything was perfect, far from it, as the St. Louis Rams starting units stampeded to a prodigious start to their third preseason game. Contrasted with their mostly futile efforts last week, it would seem to signal a team better prepared than many expected. It was certainly resilient effort, even if it is unrealistic to expect the Rams offense to score on the opening drive every week.
That signals an offense capable of putting things in tune. A group able to make things happen. It's really actually hard not to be irrationally exuberant. Not all was perfect in the second half for the offense, but the defense bailed them out with relative ease. The highlight of the game: limiting the Chiefs to a field goal after Bradford tossed an interception at his own 7-yard line.
It looked like Kansas City scored on second down of that drive. A holding call brought it back. You might chalk that up to preseason play - the Rams had their fair share of slop - but they seemed likely to stop that play.
This game provided plenty to process, so I'm switching it over to stream of conscious and some organizing subheaders.. Ka-pow! (I also have one eye on the 4th quarter). I look forward to slowing it down, watching some it a few more times.
In the trenches
Whatever Spagnuolo and the coaches said to the offense line, it worked. It also made Jacob Bell look more important after last week. Except for a couple penalties, the tackles played pretty well. They each got bested a time or two as well. Jason Smith played like a man with a renewed passion for the sport, the nastiness of it. Bradford had time in the pocket. Running was easy, though the Chiefs did have a 26th ranked DVOA, 2.5 percent, against the run last year, per Football Outsiders.On the other side of the ball, the Rams pressured the quarterback through the entire half. The might have had two more sacks but for a couple missed tackles. Gary Gibson started in place of Fred Robbins, and was the same old solid Gary Gibson.
On the run
The offensive line got its credit above. Hopefully you didn't lose all your time trying to spot Steven Jackson's dreads. If you did, you missed classic Jackson. He ran well, and that old shoulder drop was the deadly old shoulder drop of old. Jackson got more preseason work tonight than he has in the last four years combined. Cadillac Williams inspired exactly the kind of confidence you want to see in the guy backing up Jackson. Together, they averaged a little less than five yards per carry in the first half.
New faces in new places
The decision to switch up outside linebackers made the coaches look smart. Ben Leber and Brady Poppinga kept it covered pretty well, not getting caught out of place. Darian Stewart did nothing to hurt his cause for the starting job either. A good night for the rookies. Robert Quinn had a sack, despite almost getting his torn off, and forced a fumble. His sack came against the Chiefs starting offensive line. The blocked punt sealed the deal for Quinn's night. Color me excited to watch him play. For a guy that hasn't played football in a year, he looks good. He face some adjustment time when the games count, but credit him for a nice preseason so far. Lance Kendricks scored a touchdown. The shock of the Rams drafting him in the second round will never go away, but he looks like a player that the Rams can count on this year.
Bradford had a pretty nice night, overall. For the second week in a row, his first pass of the game went to Brandon Gibson, a bullet that erased a 3rd-and-19. He owes his defense a steak for bailing him out after that interception. It came up short, but his final drive of the game was very well done. Danario Alexander missed a couple of key catches on that drive. More importantly perhaps than any of it, he did a nice job reading the defense, something he struggled with last week. The Chiefs didn't blitz quite like the Titans either.