The St. Louis Rams have virtually abandoned the run this season. And despite claims to the contrary, the evidence doesn't support the claim that the run has been sacrificed because the Rams are constantly playing from behind. That may change this week against the 49ers.
"We've just got to hand it off more," Jeff Fisher said Monday. "We haven't had the opportunities - we've gotten behind. We've got to get back to that early in the game."
The Rams ran the ball three times in the first quarter last week. They ran the ball twice in the first quarter the week before that, against the Falcons. But on Monday, Fisher sounded sincere in his determination to establish the ground game.
It's something the visiting 49ers can relate to. Frank Gore exchanged words with Jim Harbaugh after getting just 11 carries last week in a second straight one-sided loss.
"When Frank Gore has 11 carries in a loss, you can sense the frustration," Fisher said. "I'm sure they're going to be determined to get the run game going, as we will."
There's a lesson for the Rams Fisher saw in the Colts' win over the Niners last week feeding that stated desire to revive the running game.
"The Colts ran 39 times against them [Sunday]," Fisher said. "And the time of possession, when you're playing a quarterback like Kaep, you've got to keep him on the sideline. And that was the Colts' philosophy and they did a nice job with it."
Last year, against the 49ers, the Rams did plenty of running. In the Week 10 tie, Sam Bradford and Johnny Hekker combined for 41 passing attempts. The Rams ran the ball 37 times for 159 yards and a crucial first quarter touchdown. In their Week 13 win, the Rams complemented 39 passing attempts with 27 runs. Both games featured far more balance than the offense has shown so far in 2013.
While it's all well and good to talk about the Rams running the football more, the actuality of it depends on better play from the running backs and stiffer blocking from the offensive line. So far this season, we've yet to see much from either unit.