Last week against the Minnesota Vikings in what was built as a playoff push battle, I gave Nick Foles a D in the St. Louis Rams' 18-21 overtime loss. In yesterday's bounceback affair, Foles, and the Rams as a whole, were worse on all fronts leading to Foles' first benching of the year.
Foles' final line was 17 for 36 with 200 yards and a pick. His foil, Bears QB Jay Cutler, had 233 yards and three TDs...with five minutes remaining in the first half.
What's worse is that the offensive line was hardly the scapegoat it has been in games past.
The connection between Nick Foles and the Rams' 2015 wideouts is severed. Perhaps permanently.
RB - /INC/
Todd Gurley exploded into the game on the Rams' first drive taking a hurdle-punctuated reception for 31 yards and trucking three rushes for 20 yards, the last of which took him into the end zone. Gurley would carry the ball three times on the Rams' next possession.
That's six carries on the first two possesions.
The Rams' next 12 possessions? Also six carries for Gurley.
Tre Mason's biggest contribution was a fumble on his first carry that handed the Bears a red zone possesion free of charge.
Since we did it last week, here's your WR box score:
Jared Cook did an early good. The rest of the game? Back to reality.
Weird dichotomy here. The play, overall, wasn't horrible. Foles had plenty of time to be successful. The run blocking wasn't atrocious, infrequent as it was especially in the final three quarters.
But the penalties...the penalties that Jeff Fisher promised would be fixed...the phantom Greg Robinson penalties...
Aaron Donald is a beast, but the D-line is supposed to be the heart of this team. One sack and slow pressures aren't going to cut it. Too often, Cutler was allowed to wait out pressure to find space over the middle. He took the damage for it, but it worked. It worked really well.
Akeem Ayers was found taking horrible angles more than once on a day in which Jay Cutler threw two short passes that both resulted in 80+-yard touchdowns. And for James Laurinaitis, his job more than anything is to command the scheme as the field general on his side of the ball. In a gamesmanship matchup against Jay Cutler, Laurinaitis lost.
DB - /
Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson both had solid games in somewhat undemanding circumstances. The Rams are going to have to make some tough decisions on the contract front with both 2012 NFL Draft signees set to hit free agency this offseason.
As for the safeties...woof.
Special Teams -
Johnny Hekker's going to another Pro Bowl.
Fisherball, y'all. But hey, how about that speech at halftime, amirite?
BONUS!!! Referees -
Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why do we accept Jeff Triplette? Why do we want another offseason of Skip Bayless in our NFL lives? Why do we accept this as the status quo for the quality of adjudication in the NFL? I has a sad.