Rams QB Nick Foles is struggling. It's a comprehensive issue across the passing offense, so let's not put everything on his back. Still, as the quarterback he's in line to own the problems, responsible for them overall or not. As yesterday showed, the problems are evident.
The third down struggle is real, now having converted just four of 37 third downs since the bye week. And when the run game is faced with a decent defense like yesterday and they can't plow out short third down opportunities, this passing offense is just completely inept. Foles has to own it.
Just Todd Gurley didn't have a ton to work with yesterday, but he made the most out of what he had. The Vikings jeyed down on him, and the Rams couldn't relieve the pressure.
One deep shot to Kenny Britt does not a comprehensive performance make. Here's your Rams WRs from yesterday:
Lance Kendricks' efforts in run blocking bump this up a couple notches. Jared Cook is having the worst year of his career since his first two in the NFL.
The line is doing much better in pass protection, and surprisingly continued to do trend upward with Rob Havenstein out. Foles was sacked just once and often invited the pressure on long looks downfield without getting rid of the ball. The run blocking wasn't a plus, but it was a new unit with two week 1 starters out.
Grading on a curve here with higher expectations for the D-line than other units. Even with Robert Quinn and Chris Long out, this unit needed to do better. When Aaron Donald is either getting double-teamed or dominating one-up situations, this needs to be constant onslaught.
Again, curved. They held their own overall, but bled the gaps against Adrian Peterson too often.
They held the Vikings' passing game in check, mirroring what Minnesota did to the Rams' offense. They were the main reason this was a game as the Rams failed to score for nearly all 30 minutes of the second half.
Special Teams -
Greg Zuerlein can't win for losing. He made four field goals, one a franchise-record 61-yarder, another a game-tying 53-yard kick with just 12 second left in regulation. More popularly remembered today, he missed a 48-yarder with less than two minutes in the game.
GZ's held to a higher standard than any other player on the Rams. Anything short of perfection and there are people calling for his outright release. It's an odd condition.
One one hand, you have the two-point conversion and the ultra-conservative approach at the end of the game playing for field goals. And the penalties...
On the other, the Rams had the lead at halftime and had it knotted up at the end of regulation against a playoff-caliber team after a ton of mistakes.
Fisherball's ceiling may be lower than the best in the business, but the floor's a lot higher too.
BONUS!!! Referees -
At least Ron Torbert's crew were horrible both ways. Luckily, they didn't define the game. That's all that's keeping them from an F. Had they tilted a couple more calls toward one team or made more of an impact on the final score, this would've been the kind of performance to throw stuff over.