The St. Louis Rams defeated the 49ers in a defensive duel. #SackCity finally showed up, to the tune of eight sacks – two from Robert Quinn. The team is hoping #SackCity shows up again against Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals.
Defense will be key in this game. Arizona has a three-headed monster at the wide receivers group. The secondary will need to be able to cover them well. Pressure from the D-Line will help. No matter how well the defense plays, however, the offense has to be able to muster some output.
Players to Watch
said wrote it. Tavon Austin will be a player to watch on Sunday in Arizona. And you will read why.
The Cardinals have made it clear, they are going to blitz quarterback Austin Davis often. While it may be easier to list the Rams offensive line as key to Davis' success, T.Austin can actually be an answer.
What thwarts the pass rush best? Quick, short passes. Tavon can be a weapon with quick slant passes, allowing him to catch the ball in stride where he can turn on the boosters. Tavon excelled at getting yards after the catch. The Rams have to play into Tavon's strengths. No more of this running up the gut bullshit.
If only the Rams' offensive coordinator had a brain....
Since his arrival in St. Louis, Jared Cook has been consistently inconsistent. Cook's streaky play has surely continued this season. He has yet to amass 100 yards in a game this season. He has yet to score a touchdown this season, which is kinda ironic, given he was brought in to be a red zone threat. Cook's running mate at tight end, Lance Kendricks, has been the beneficiary of the red zone TDs, but I digress.
His best games have been the Week Three loss versus the Cowboys and the Week Six loss against the 49ers. In those games, Cook averaged 74.5 receiving yards (seven catches for 75 yards in Week Three, four catches for 74 yards in Week Six). If Cook can explode and use his playmaking ability against the Cards – like he did last year to the tune of seven catches, 141 yards, and two TDs – it will go a long way.
Cooks success will be key. He's a mismatch nightmare; no defensive back is big enough to cover Cook.
Austin Davis' "wow" factor has officially rubbed off. Austin has played pretty abysmal the last two games. Versus Kansas City, Austin threw for 160 yards on 15 out of 25 passes, with a quarterback rating of 9.5 (his lowest of the season). Last week, Davis had a 13.7 QBR (second lowest) and was 13-24 for 105 yards. Luckily, the defense won the game for the Rams.
Austin cannot bank on the defense saving his ass again. He has to play smart. Remember that athletic TE, Jared Cook? Davis can utilize Cook on short to intermediate routes. Remember those quick slants. Those are high success rate throws that will limit Davis' chances of committing an error.
Tru did not start versus the 49ers last week, but he definitely played the majority of the snaps. He will most likely the start this week.
Johnson had his fare share of highs and lows in his return to action. He was flagged for a few holding/pass interference penalties, negating some nice pass breakups. We can attribute that to rustiness, but we need Tru to knock the final bit of rust off before Sunday.
Arizona has three receivers capable of blowing the top off a defense – Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown. All three of them are lethal in their own way. Tru will be covering these three throughout the game. Lets hope he can be sticky without holding for the Rams' sake.
Three straight games with a sack. It is safe to say Black Thunder has finally arrived. In addition to the sacks he recorded, Quinn has also forced a fumble in the last two games. His forced fumble last week led to the only Rams touchdown (a 21-yard TD catch by Kenny Britt). It's only going to get better from here.
If Robert and the rest of the defensive line – hell, the front seven – can disrupt Carson Palmer, he will turn the ball over. The pass rush will also help the secondary out a ton.
So there you have it, the five Rams players to watch versus the Arizona Cardinals. Do y'all agree or disagree? Do you believe a different player will have a larger impact on the game? Do you not give a shit? Let it be known down below in the comment sections!