This isn't how the St. Louis Rams were supposed to start the season.
Yes, the loss of Sam Bradford to another torn ACL injury was sure to set the Rams back, but no one expected the Minnesota Vikings to blowout the Rams 34-6. The game was a complete blowout, and the sad thing is, when the Vikings went up 14-3 in the first half my heart dropped because it seemed like it was over.
The sad part about this whole ordeal is that we have seen this movie play out a few times. The Rams are down, and although the offense shows a couple of signs of hope, they usually can't put up enough points to come up with the win.
So right now, the Rams are in surprising but familiar territory. Losing the first game of the season isn't going to define the Rams 2014 season, because although there was hope, the fact is that this team's best chance to finally reach the postseason ended when Bradford was declared out for the season.
I'm not going to predict the Rams' potential wins and losses for this season, but I will talk about how the Rams can make this season worth watching, hell maybe even save the season.
The first thing that the Rams need to figure out is what in the hell do they want to do with Tavon Austin
The 2013 1st-round wide receiver has struggled to find his groove on the field. Granted some of that responsibility has to be placed on the Rams coaching staff that traded up to the 8th overall pick in that draft, because honestly they seem clueless on how they want to use Austin. Austin has struggled with either getting opportunities for snaps or just making plays on the field. The Rams tried to use Austin a few times in the backfield against the Vikings, and although it could work, it didn't last night. So far, the Austin experiment has been like placing a square peg in a circular hole, and if the Rams are going to have a successful season then Austin has to be the explosive player that the Rams imagined when they drafted the receiver.
The Rams defense needs to continue to find itself also
The Rams defensive line didn't really disappoint being in the backfield a lot, and getting some pass rushes. However the rest of the defense is still up in the air, but I will admit that the defense played better than I expected them to. The development of safety T.J. McDonald and Alec Ogletree will go a long way towards making the defense an elite unit. However against the Vikings, it appeared that the defense's big problem was the Rams offense being anemic.
The offense has to wake up as a whole
Not only did Rams not score a TD, they never had a snap in the red zone. Deepest penetration was MN 23-yard line.— Brian Hall (@MNBrianHall) September 8, 2014
It's disappointing that the Rams offense was pathetic against the Vikings, because that's been the fear of fans going into this season. One player that has looked like the switch has turned on for him, is third-year-pro Brian Quick. Let's put this in perspective. Last season, Quick had 302 yards on 18 receptions; after one game in 2014, he has 99 receiving yards on seven receptions.
Unfortunately as far as bright spots on offense, Quick was it. Seriously, every player on the offensive side of the ball was terrible. Right tackle Joe Barksdale usually plays well, so it wouldn't surprise me if he played well again. But the offense has to get on track. The Rams won't win any games only scoring six points.
Look, the Rams got their ass handed to them against the Vikings. There's no sugarcoating that fact. I'm not going to sell a dream here that everything will be okay and that the Rams will make the playoffs, but I do know that one game a season doesn't make.