The St. Louis Rams have a tough schedule. They also have an injury list a mile long. Neither of those two things offer sufficient cover for a team that continues to play far below expectations and abilities. The St. Louis Rams are out of excuses.
Last week, the Rams failed to do anything inside the red zone. This week, the failures were not limited to any section of the field. Baltimore had the Rams reeling from the start. Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith connected to make it 21-0 before the end of the first quarter. Needless to say, it was just too much for the Rams to come back from, despite a single third quarter drive that produced a touchdown and whole lot of false hopes among fans so eager for a win...or at least some consistent play.
On offense, the offensive line did a poor job keeping the QB protected. Though they did manage to open some running lanes, the front four has a problem. Part of that problem is Bradford himself. It should be pretty clear that he is struggling to read defenses from play to play, and an aggressive unit like the Ravens' defense made for his biggest challenge yet. When he did have a pocket to work in, he didn't do much with it. His receivers again had some troubles with the drops, and Danario Alexander was maddeningly inconsistent.
Steven Jackson did manage to play today. However, the Rams were clearly uncomfortable playing him too much as Cadillac Williams took most of the carries. Not that it mattered. Their inability to get anything going through the air shut the offense down.
For the third game in a row, the Rams surrendered a touchdown on a turnover. Unlike the last two games, the Rams were well out of it this time.
On defense, things didn't go much better. The secondary was terrible. Justin King got beat repeatedly, and Torrey Smith ate his lunch in the first quarter. He left the game with an injury, leaving a thin Rams secondary almost nonexistent. Safety play next to Quintin Mikell was atrocious, and for some strange reason the coaches had King on the same side of the field as the safety not named Mikell.
The defensive line did manage to get some pressure, including rookie Robert Quinn.
Oh, and let's not forget the penalties. The Rams had eight penalties for a grand total of 117 yards. The offense managed barely more than twice that yardage total.
For two weeks, Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, his coaching cadre and a handful of players have trotted out nothing but talking points. "Didn't execute. Didn't play the way we're capable of playing..." yada yada yada. It's very true. The Rams have not played at the level they are capable of playing, and they certainly are not executing. I'm afraid the "it's how you finish" line is bunk now too, because the Rams have to actually start the process of finishing, something they are incapable of doing, be it an offensive drive, a quarter or an entire game.
When Steve Spagnuolo was late to his post-game presser last week because of a meeting with Stan Kroenke, rumors swirled that the boss was unhappy with his head coach. Those rumors were quickly exposed as the New York media being a little miffed at having to wait. This week, Kroenke should be very upset with his head coach.