Rams defeat The Big Dead (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)
Sorry for the delay in posting guys, and apologies in advance as i am sure that a lot of this has already been stated by others. Here are my observations, in the form of the good, the bad and the ugly from our hard fought come from behind win over Arizona yesterday.
Jared Cook performed as advertised, ugly fumble notwithstanding. Big, fast, strong and good hands. Easy to see why the team thought he was worth big money.
Robert Quinn was sensational. Three sacks, two fumbles, and what should have been about ten holding penalties called on Levi Brown. Kudos to the Cardinals coaching staff for failing to give Brown adequate help in blocking Quinn when Helen Keller could have seen that Brown was badly overmatched.
Our offensive line gave up ZERO sacks. Saffold and Long both fought back from injuries to play full games. The run blocking wasn't bad (i thought Richardson was close to breaking a couple), although we could have done better in short yardage. I am confident that if we give up no sacks a week, we are going to win a lot of games. When Jake Long went down, my heart really sunk, as i am sure was true for many of the rest of you.
Sammy had a very strong game in my opinion. He was accurate and calm and performed well with the game on the line. Hard to say whether the INT at the goal line was a really bad decision. He did try to hit Cook in triple coverage once and got lucky that it wasn't intercepted. His fumble obviously wasn't his best moment, but i can't blame him for trying to make a play with the game on the line.
I thought Janoris Jenkins really battled hard out there. Sure, he gave up some plays, but with the kind of time that Palmer had in the first half, i dont believe anyone was going to completely stop Fitzgerald (who wound up with 80 yards receiving, most of which was in the first half or off of Finnegan). Jenkins had some nice pass breakups and he never seems to get flustered after getting beat, which is critical for the mentality of a top level corner. I think Jenkins has only upside ahead of him.
The defense made some huge stops on third down late in the game. A lot of that tied to much better pressure on Palmer, but however it happened, it made all the difference at the end.
William Hayes played well in his role. Nice int and runback from Johnson.
Greg the Leg did the job with the game on the line.
Nice punting by Hecker, great to not get hurt by Peterson in the return game.
Bad challenge by Fisher at the goal line. Quick's knee was clearly down on the replay and unless you are 100% sure, you can't take the risk of losing a time out in lieu of first and goal in a close game, regardless of the issues we seemed to have in short yardage.
Rough day for Finnegan, both in coverage and with the stupid penalties. He will bounce back.
Red zone performance unacceptable. We aren't good enough to get away with stalling around the goal line (very few teams are). First and goal on the four and we go backwards three yards on three plays? First and five in the red zone and we get a field goal? Terrible.
The pass rush in the first half (Quinn aside) was terrible and that allowed Palmer to carve us up, aided by some excellent catches by their receivers. WHere was Chris Long all day? I know he recovered the fumble at the end and blocked one pass, but i didnt see him get a single qb pressure and i am pretty sure he wasnt playing across from Anthony Munoz or Walter Jones.
The last 26 seconds of the first half were terrible. We got very lucky that Feeley missed the 50 yard field goal, which was obviously a big point in the game.
The failed touchback at the goal line in the first quarter was awful. That was a perfect punt by Hecker, should have been downed on the one yard line.
The fumble by Cook was bad news, he has to protect that ball. I will say it was a nice play by Mathieu. However, the play was incredibly UGLY from a different perspective (see my criticism of Tavon Austin in the Ugly section).
Penalties, especially the four personnel fouls. No excuse, and they really killed us field position wise, one of which led to the UGLY TD INT. We have to do better in this area, we can't shoot ourselves in the foot. Nice gain on the screen early on called back by the holding penalty on Jake Long Taunting? Come on Simms, no excuse for that.
Tavon Austin was UGLY on the cook fumble. Watch the reply. Austin, the fastest guy on the field with Peterson on the bench, is well ahead of everyone else beside cook on the play, but he slows down and stops running hard. As a result, when the fumble happens and the ball is loose in the end zone, Austin is too late to fall on it. If he runs hard through the play, there is no question that fumble or not, that is a Rams TD. Rookies make mistakes. Mental errors have to be eliminated as quickly as possible. I dont care how much talent he has, he has to play every play hard through to conclusion. That one almost cost us the game.
The win is huge, but the way we won is just phenomenal. We came back from 11 down in the fourth quarter. We never quit, and we found a way to win. Good teams find a way to win when they dont play their best. This was certainly far from our best, and with Atlanta and Dallas on the road coming next, followed by the Whiners at home, we are going to need to play better if we want to win any of those three games. However, I learned a long time ago that there are no style points in the NFL and you take whatever win you can get, especially in a division game.
Ramming speed to all