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Rams-Chiefs: Failing Grades Nearly All Around

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A demoralizing loss means a demoralizing report card. Don't bring these home to your parents, kids...

Peter Aiken

QB - F grade

The stats may suggest something above a failure. They're misleading.

Austin Davis finished the final drive going 8/9 for 83 yards as the Chiefs completely backed off in a full prevent. Take those away and for the rest of the entire game on 10 other drives (not counting the 1 second kickoff to end the first half), that left Davis going 7/16 for 77 yards. For extra context to make it worse, let's remove the first drive as well (the Rams sole points on the day) on which Davis went 3/4 for 52 yards.

In the nine drives between the Rams' first and last, Austin Davis went 4 for 12 for 25 yards.

RB - Incomplete

I don't know what the Rams are trying to do with the running game. You don't know what the Rams are trying to do with the running game. You can argue the staff has an idea of what they're trying to do with the running game but it's not translating to a coherent approach on the field. Tre Mason, Benny Cunnigham and Zac Stacy are all running the ball well. Between the three of them, they combined for 77 yards on 16 carries at a 4.8 average. But the lack of workload, the carries sapped by the Tavon Austin experiment and the inexplicable swings toward the passing game register the Rams rushing attack an afterthought.

I graded the Rams' QB play an F. You might suggest that if that's the case, perhaps they should have run the ball more. That seems like something that should be obvious to the staff.

WR - F grade

Too often when Austin Davis did have time, he was just scanning...and scanning...and scanning. Nobody gave him the kind of window that has QBs eager to pull he trigger. The early season excitement surrounding Brian Quick is all but dead; his injury will be something we'll have to look at during the week. Kenny Britt's early 43-yard reception was followed by four targets and one reception for nine yards. Tavon Austin was forced into action just enough to justify keeping him on the team.

The leader in receptions? Zac Stacy.

TE - F grade

Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook each had a single catch. Kendricks' was the 1-yard TD to cap the first drive. The blocking? Let's go there...

O-line - F grade

You can point to the injuries if you want for excuses. The problems were there before Jake Long, Rodger Saffold and Scott Wells all added to their veteran injury histories. The Chiefs finished with 7 sacks on 14 QB hits. At this point, there are arguments to be made for passing grade for Davis and the rest of the passing offense. I felt that despite the line's floundering, there were too many times when the line did give Davis time that nothing came of it.

When it rains, it pours. Nearly the entire Rams offense got poured on.

D-line - C plus grade

Aaron Donald continues to impress in his rookie campaign. Robert Quinn is back on track having added two sacks. The line wasn't the issue.

Linebackers - D grade

Between the missed tackles and the pass coverage issues on the short passing plays designed to render the Rams' defensive line moot, you have to wonder if the trio of James Laurinaitis, Alec Ogletree and Jo-Lonn Dunbar is going to be sufficient if the Rams correct the secondary.

CB &S - C minus grade

The Chiefs took a turn early to go after E.J. Gaines, and it worked. But bear in mind that for his early foibles, the drive on which he was targeted only allowed the Chiefs to tie the game. He settled in later on, but his damage was done. The real issue here was that as the game wore on, they simply didn't bring enough to the table to keep the game within reach.

Special Teams - D minus grade

The Greg Zuerlein missed FG added to the concerns many have about his 2014 form. His muffed kickoff that led to the return TD to start the second half? Fuel to the fire. And while special teams is largely about big plays and the Rams failed here, the kickoff and punt coverage otherwise salvages a slight bump up from an F.

Coaching - F grade

This one's less on blame and more on responsibility.

While it's easy to pick on Brian Schottenheimer or Gregg Williams as scapegoats, this one was much more an exhibit of failure on behalf of the players. Greg Zuerlein's issues weren't playcall issues. Missed tackles weren't playcall issues. And the apocalypse-ready offensive performance didn't even give us a legitimate chance to gripe about the playcalling.

Nevertheless, the authority to manage the product resides at the top. The abysmal performance of the offense can be placed at the feet of Austin Davis, the offensive line and the receiving options, but it should be ultimately placed on the desks of the coaching staff. The inability to keep the game anywhere near striking distance in the second half? Adjustments are the coaches' domain.

Wholescale failures are tough. They're tough to understand and they're tough to analyze. They're not all that tough to grade.