More than a few fans and observers were scratching their heads when the St. Louis Rams curiously decided to abandon the running game against the Bears on Sunday. In fact, it went well beyond just the tweeters and those in the press box. Even Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher wondered about the Rams decision to give up the run.
Brian Urlacher onRams running game: "They didn't try to run it. It was nice to get a couple of stops early and they just quit trying."— Bernie Miklasz (@miklasz) September 23, 2012
The Rams' most successful drive of the game was a 10-play, 39-yard possession in the third quarter, one that ended with a 46-yard field goal to make it a still very competitive 10-6 game. Take away the kick, and four of the nine plays were on the ground with Steven Jackson carrying the ball four times for 17 yards.
And notice the sequencing of it too. The drive started with two short runs that set up a 9-yard pass to Chris Givens. They ran it two more times, with Jackson rushing for 13 yards on the first play after Givens' catch, his best run of the game. Those two runs set up a 12-yard pass to Mulligan, the tight end.
With a new set of downs, the Rams went into the no huddle from Chicago's 29-yard line, not a bad decision, but the sequence went: incomplete, 1-yard completion to Danny Amendola, incomplete and settle for the field goal.
Perhaps more importantly, that drive burned up 4 minutes and 55 seconds of clock time. That was more time of possession than the Rams had through the entire fourth quarter and second quarter.
There are a number of faults you can point at in the Rams' Week 3 loss to the Bears, but the decision to go to such a one-dimensional offense is one of the more egregious culprits.