If it looks like poop, smells like poop, and feels like poop then, by definition, it must be poop.
Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams have pushed the week three soiling behind them to focus on what’s ahead, i.e. the Thursday night game vs. the 49ers.
(Insert any variation of “You have to have a short-term memory in this league.” quote here.)
I, on the other hand, cannot move on without a good old sound off. Consider it a sort of cleansing if you will.
But before I get into the actual post two things need clarification.
1) The Rams played like poop. I’m using that word to describe their performance (or lack thereof) not the players or the coaches personally. Although many of you will disagree please learn to make that distinction in the context of this post.
2) Just because someone is being critical does not mean they’re a hater.
A hater wants to bring the team down. A hater does not have the best interest of the team at heart. A hater spews venom for the purpose of infecting the (fan) body.
I am not a hater.
On the flip side, just because someone choses to see the glass half full doesn’t make them drunk on Kool-Aid. Aren’t fans supposedly rooting for the same team? Because it sure didn’t look like it on my timeline Monday morning.
Okay, now here we go.
Simply stated the Rams were out played, out coached, and just flat-out embarrassed themselves and their fan base on Sunday.
1) The “soft zone defense” has become a trigger phrase in Rams Nation. It’s hurting the Rams more than it’s helping and fans are sick and tired of watching the secondary give up 10-yard cushions to the opposing receivers.
As frustrating as it may be with mistakes I’d rather the young secondary get experience pressing and playing man-to-man. At least give them the opportunity to learn.
I thought new defensive coordinator Tim Walton was brought in to fix this old problem. Where are the adjustments?!
2) The usually formidable Rams defensive line all but disappeared on Sunday. The Rams came into week three ranked fifth in the league against the run only allowing an average of 61 yards on the ground. The Cowboys offensive line held their ground and Dallas’ running back DeMarco Murray gashed the Rams for 26 carries for 175 yards (6.7 ypc) and 1 TD. That’s more yards per carry than Sam Bradford threw for (5 yards per attempt).
Rams defensive end Robert Quinn was largely held quiet by Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith per Pro Football Focus. “Two hurries, one of which drew a flag, was all he could generate in 22 pass rushes.” Most surprising stat: Tony Romo was pressured on only 3-of-25 dropbacks. Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford was able to get one sack on Romo in the second quarter. How’s that for a silver lining.
3) So much for the four game no-sack streak for the Rams. Bradford was sacked a total of six times, four times just in the first half. By the third sack I could see the glimpses of BQBS (Battered QB Syndrome) rearing its ugly head again.
I was most disappointed in how the Rams offensive line just got dominated by the Cowboys. Left tackle Jake Long got pwned and tossed on his ass at least twice by DeMarcus Ware so perfectly captured in this picture from Bleacher Report’s Matt Bowen.
Even my dude Harvey Dahl had himself a rare bad day per PFF.
Harvey Dahl (-3.8) has been one of the better and most consistent offensive linemen since we started our grading in 2008. So you know when he has his worst game ever, this is an unusual day. To some degree he was hamstrung by trying to compensate for some of new right tackle Joe Barksdale’s shortcomings, but he played so poorly that was no real excuse. He allowed a sack, a hurry, and a further hit that was nullified by penalty and struggled as a run blocker to the point it was difficult to spot a single key block where he definitively beat his man
Credit to Bradford though he stuck in there, absorbed two more sack and multiple hits, and did what he could. What was most surprising is how he didn’t land on the injury report on Monday. You can call Bradford a laundry list of things but he’s one tough S.O.B.
4) Help a brother out. Bradford only had less than three seconds to deliver the football to his receivers. When he did manage to get the ball to them six times the ball was dropped. His stat line – 24 completions in 48 attempts for 240 yards, six sacks for a total of 43 yards lost. Ouch. Romo on the other hand only attempted 24 throws and connected on 17 of them. Then again, Romo didn’t need to throw the ball with the running game being as great as it was. The Rams handed the ball off 12 times. I repeat 12 times. And for what, a measly 35 yards.
5) Special teams coach John Fassel has some work cut out for him. Here’s an alarming stat from 101 ESPN’s Randy Karraker.
The Rams have tried to return seven punts so far this season (punts that are downed, touchbacks or fair catches left out), and of those seven, the Rams have committed a penalty on six of them. –
The Rams need to clean up things in-house before moving on to prepare for another opponent.
This isn’t a complete list of all that went awry on Sunday but the ones that truly stood out as I watched and cringed in my seat. Nathan Kearns has a nice wrap up from Sunday if you’d like to check that out here.
Another thing that got under my skin was when the head coach of the team says he didn’t see the unraveling coming. Something is really wrong here.
“You know what? I can’t explain it. We’re going to look at the tape and see what happened. But I didn’t expect to see this happen. I’m disappointed. Our players are disappointed. We had a really good (practice) week, and it just didn’t carry over,” Fisher said in his post-game press conference.
Rams wide receiver Chris Givens also commented on 101 ESPN’s The Fast Lane on Tuesday that he didn’t see that coming either. He believed they had game-planned and practiced well that week.
Call me crazy but there’s a definite eau de Spagnuolo stench in that confession from Jeff Fisher. I expected that from Spagnuolo who was in his first tenure as a head coach. But to hear that from a veteran whose been around over three decades was disconcerting to say the least. I don’t know exactly how many times Fisher’s teams have been blown out like this but I lost a little bit of confidence in him on Sunday.
With all that said, maybe just maybe, the Cowboys game is the 2013’s version of the drubbing the Rams took from Patriots in London.
I made a joke Monday saying maybe the Rams didn’t game plan enough for Dallas in lieu of making sure they beat the 49ers at home on Thursday Night Football. Now I’m wondering if there’s any truth to that.
For the Rams’ sake and for the sanity of their fans the Rams absolutely need to show improvement and get that win to bring them back to .500 after Thursday.
Okay, we’re all caught up and I can move on now. Next up, a game preview for the match against the 49ers.
Thanks for reading.