Rams overpowered by Whiners in 23-13 Loss; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The young Rams were overpowered and defeated by a better team on the road today in a 23-13 loss. To win this game with a backup qb, the Rams were going to have to take advantage of every opportunity, play a really clean game, and make plays. Unfortunately, they did not do so and lacked the firepower to stay in the game into the fourth quarter. The Rams fought hard and did some good things today, but this was the kind of game where you could really see the difference between Clemens and Sammy, along with the obvious shortcomings in the Rams receiving corp.
The run defense was solid. We allowed 83 yards on 30 carries for an average of 2.8, holding Gore to 15-42. The whiners longest run was 10 yards and our tackling was solid at the point of attack, something we have struggled with for years against the whiners (and against almost everyone else for that matter).
Brockers is really showing the pro-bowl potential. Seven tackles and two sacks. He was outstanding today.
The offensive line played pretty well, as did Stacy. Zac had 19-72 against a very tough defense to run on, especially when you can't get the ball down the field without key drops or missed throws. Clemens was sacked three times and was pressured a bit, but i thought the line game him plenty of time to throw many, many times and he was unable to connect, either through bad throws or terrible drops. We ran as a team26-114 for an average of 4.4 (a couple of nice runs for benny). Not our best effort for sure, and we did allow three sacks, but it was not reasonable to expect us to pound the ball all day against the whiners defense. We ran it enough to keep them honest, but you have to make plays down the field and we didnt do it. I want to call out Saffold who played very well after Jake Long got hit in the head and left the game. I also really continue to like Barksdale.
We had four first half sacks (brockers twice, hayes and langford), but nothing in the second half. Kapernick is slippery and tough to bring down.
Janoris made two or three really nice pass breakups. He battled again like crazy all day. Tough job, playing stud receivers one on one every week.
Tree was excellent yet again, causing a fumble to keep us in the game and making 10 tackles (Laurinaitis had 9 tackles).
Hecker punted very well (48.8 average) and apparantly leads the nfl in net punting.
Ray, Ray had a partially blocked punt at the end
Nice garbage time TD to quick on the fade, that is obviously the play we were hoping to run successfully at the end of the seattle game. Quick also had a nice 29 yard catch on the last drive.
I continue to like what i see in Bailey. Three catches, sure hands. He had one called back for offensive interference, but i would like to see him play more.
Nice end around to austin, who also had a nice first down catch, but was held in check today.
Excellent red zone defense, keeping us in the game until late in the 3rd or early in the fourth quarter.
Too many drops and too many stupid penalties against a playoff quality opponent on the road. 11 penalties fro 105 yards, 6 of which led to first downs, five of which happened in the first quarter alone (four for first downs). Some of the calls were suspect, but a number of the holdings on third down were critical early in the game.
The drops are really bad, especially for Cook (key drop on 3rd and 5 early) and Givens (see ugly below for givens generally).
Too many misses for clemens, who sure wasnt helped by the drops (cook, givens, etc), but did the majority of his damage in garbage time. He wound up 19-37-218-1-1 for a 67.2 rating, but about 100 yards or more was after the game was decided. In the fourth quarter at one point, he had 68 yards passing. Some on the receivers, some on him. He wasnt terrible, and its pretty rough to call him "bad" but its probably more accurate to say that he showed his limitations today. Without a terrific running game, he looked very modest and once we got behind in the fourth quarter, its really hard for him to pull us out of it. The interception was not a great throw, but austin probably could have had it and not deflected it into the air. Again, a number of the drops were balls that could and should have been caught, but they were rarely throws that were on target. This game might have been different for clemens and the rams without the huge screwup by givens on the 3rd and 1 drop of the long pass. His deep ball that was dropped by Eric Reid saved him another INT.
Not a great game for Quinn. He wasnt really "bad" with three tackles and a tackle for loss, but he had no sacks and maybe one hit and when Joe Staley left the game in the first quarter for good you would have thought he would have done better against Boone. Our second half pass rush was not very good at all.
Ray Ray failed to fall on the fumbled punt despite being the first man to the ball in the second quarter. That was a big play in the game.
The defense could not get off the field on third down. Too many third and long conversions and that really really hurt us.
Boldin is one of the all time Ram killers (9-98). Vernon Davis is heading onto that list, although you have to give TJ McDonald (who had a couple of nice tackles and a pass breakup) credit for trying to get Davis out of the game with one of the best gonad grabbing tackles in recent Rams history. McDonald not only latched onto that nut sack, but he appeared to attempt to twist those gonads right out of the sack as Davis was going down. Unfortunately, Davis was back in the game within a play or two.
I have to really let loose here on Givens. I think he is the single most disappointing player on the roster. He has regressed materially from last year. It is no longer a matter of not improving, he is clearly getting worse. He dropped two more balls today, including an absolutely ugly attempt at catching a long pass on 3rd and 1 that should have been a game changing td. He mistimed his leap (again) and i dont think he needed to leap at all to catch that ball. My dad taught me that when it hits you in the hands you have to catch it and Givens is not doing that. He seems to lack awareness of where he is on the field and it seems to get worse every week. He had a couple of catches in garbage time, but with the game on the line he is hurting the team. Not sure if Bailey should get more reps in his place, i know that he lacks givens' speed, but he can at least catch the ball when it hits him in the hands.
The fake punt was ugly, not in the decision to try it, but in the execution. That play was open for bailey to run for a first down, but someone missed a block, and that was a game changing play.
Ugly throw by Austin on the attempted pass. He had the guy open, and either badly threw it away or missed by a mile. The announcer seemed to think he threw it away under pressure, but i thought he had a chance to get the ball out there and in front of pettis and his throw could not have been caught by Wilt Chamberlain.
The penalties really could just as easily be in the ugly category.
Interesting thing about this game, the Rams really weren't bad and they weren't ugly. However, they didn't make the plays when they had a chance to make them and that was the difference. They only turned it over once, caused one turnover, and didn't get run out of the building, but they also weren't in the game at the end and its hard for me to view this game as anything other than losing to a better team on the road. A few key plays could have made a big difference (ie ray ray potentially falling on the fumble, givens making the catch on the long ball, the fake punt being executed better), but even that would not have guaranteed that we were going to win this game. To win a game like this, you need to be close in the fourth quarter, and that is where we just couldn't do enough offensively to stay in this game despite a valiant effort by the defense. There are real limitations to playing a team like the whiners on the road with a backup qb and we saw that come to fruition today. Let's hope that the Jake Long head injury is nothing serious and that he is able to play vs Arizona. Tim Barnes came in to play center at the start of the second half. Not sure if Wells was hurt or not and i dont know if Wells came back into the game later.
Arizona is another tough road game. They are a good team at home with Carson Palmer at qb, a brutal defense and a much improved O line. They are not as good in my view as the whiners, but its another game that the Rams are really going to need to take advantage of their opportunities better than they did today if they want a chance to win, because it's going to be tough to run the ball all day against that Big Dead defense. We are going to have to throw the ball some and that means avoiding the drops.
Ramming speed to all