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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Random Thoughts on Week Four

    -Just got a chance to sit down and watch this game, very excited to see how the Rams looked in their second win of the season, especially since itís against the hated Seahawks. Letís get this thing started!

    -Sam Bradford had a solid day against Seattle, I think. It wasnít the best weíve seen of him, but he did a nice job feeling pressure for the most part and overall was accurate with the football. Rookie mistake on the INT to Earl Thomas; heíll learn from that. I would like to see more power on his deep ball; that long pass to Clayton may have been a TD had he led him down the field more. He had a similar pass to Avery in the preseason; letís see some more oomph on that one! Still, the fact that itís only Samís fourth game of his career and the biggest criticisms right now are nitpicky points like this is a sign of how great heís doing so far. His touchdown pass to Gibson was a thing of beauty; held the secondary with his eyes on one side, and then came back the other direction to thread the needle in the end zone. Thatís a veteran throw right there.

    -Youíve got to hand it to Steven Jackson. The guy is hurt with an injured groin, says it hurts when he tries to cut, but he still comes out and has a gutty performance. He looked hesitant on some runs, but did a nice job not only taking off for some big gains when the opportunity presented itself, but also kept his legs moving on contact to try and gain more yardage. He looked a bit tight coming out after halftime, but did a great job weaving down the field on his big screen pass. Iím so happy to see him move up on the Rams all-time rushing list. So well deserved, and fitting for him to do it in a game where heís really giving it his all despite some injuries. I thought Darby looked solid; I like him in space better than I do as a traditional runner. Nice job scoring on his screen. With Jackson hurt, I would have liked to see a bit more of Darby and Toston, especially late in the game when trying to grind out the clock.

    -I liked what I saw from the wide receivers, not so much from the tight ends. I like the strategy of trying to get Gilyard the ball in space with screens. I think thatís a good way to utilize him. Clayton had some good moments as well; I thought it was a nice move to line him up tight to the line on a crossing pattern. He made a fantastic grab on the Bradford deep ball in single coverage. Speaking of fantastic grabs, DANNY FREAKINí AMENDOLA! I will never doubt you again. Gibson looked better than he did last week, but still had a bad drop on a bootleg pass that hit him right in the hands. One drop is better than three, though, and to Brandonís credit, he had a nice run after the catch during the two-minute offense in the first half. At tight end, Fells got bowled over on a block early in the game, and then kind of disappeared. Stat sheet said he had three catches, the only one I remember is the third and short bootleg that Bradford hit him on.

    -The offensive line was solid, but a bit overhyped by the announcers I thought. There wasnít much consistent running room on the ground. Save for a few big runs, Jackson was grinding for most of his yardage and there were more tackles behind the line of scrimmage than youíd like to see. They certainly didnít look as effective run blocking as they did to close out the Washington game. Goldberg and Smith looked particularly poor on a 1st & Goal running play where both basically got blown up. Pass protection overall was good. A couple of rough moments where Bradford had to take off, but nothing too big stood out. Hopefully this unit is coming together; the more time they spend together, the better.

    -Fred Robbins may be one of this teamís best free agent acquisitions in the last three years, and I say that as someone who wasnít sold on him coming here as a full time starter. But boy, has he looked good. His penetration on the end around was great, he had a batted pass, good penetration to stop a third down conversion, good pursuit on a Leon Washington screen, and he grabbed a fumble out of the air late in the game. That being said, I think the Rams got pushed around in the running game more than theyíd like, and that starts up front. The Seahawks finished the day with less than three yards per carry on average, but at one point in the first half, I could have sworn the announcer said they had over five and a half a carry. I thought the pressure in the first half was inconsistent, but things turned up in the second half when the Rams could essentially pin their ears back and rush Hasselbeck. Nice to see Long get on the stat sheet with half a sack, and nice impact by the rookies Ė Sims with a batted pass that resulted in an INT and Selvie with the other half of Longís sack.

    -I wasnít blown away by the play of the linebackers. Laurinaitisí day was more quiet than last weekís outing, but he still showed up with a great tackle for loss on a run and then nice pass defense over the middle of the field. Heís growing into a great young player. Diggs looked solid in run support but neither linebacker stood out much besides that. The only time I remember seeing Larry Grant was when he whiffed on making a tackle behind the line of scrimmage, almost as if he didnít expect to get by so easily. But no major liabilities or mistakes that I could see, which is good considering our personnel on the outside.

    -Bartell had another solid but unspectacular day. He let Brandon Stokley beat him out of a bunch formation on a quick out for a first down, but I liked how physical he was at times with Mike Williams. Fletcher had his ups and downs but good awareness by him on the tipped pass. I donít know whose responsibility Leon Washington was on that trick play; Bartell and Dahl were lined up on that side and were the first to try and make up ground when they figured out what was going on. Kind of hard to fault anyone too much given the nature of the play, but you have to stay disciplined there. Fletcher got away with some defensive holding that ended a Seahawks drive, but I wonít complain too much. Justin Kingís most memorable moment was probably getting burned down the middle of the field by Stokley. Wonder how Murphy is coming along on defense?

    -For as much as we heard about how good Seattleís special teams were, I thought the Rams did an outstanding job against them. They limited Leon Washington and sniffed out that fake field goal Ė kudos to Dockery for staying disciplined on that one. Gilyard bobbled a kickoff after probably misreading where it was coming down, but credit him for trying to grind out yards on the return. Someone needs to tell Amendola that itís okay to call for a fair catch; heís going to get himself killed out there one of these days. Great special teams tackle by Jerome Murphy and later by Gilyard, who pinned the Seahawks deep in their own territory.

    -Canít complain too much about the coaching. The Rams seemed to be well prepared and playing with intensity. I liked a lot of what I saw on offense from Pat Shurmur, aside from a small handful of plays. Heís certainly doing a better job and being more creative than he was earlier in the year. Looks like weíre seeing more four receiver sets, which has helped this offense. Iíd like some more straight forward running plays rather than these counters or misdirection runs that take a bit longer to develop, but again, Iíll take the improvement weíre seeing. Defensively, I like the pressure and the coaching staff certainly deserves credit for having the Rams well prepared for red zone defense. Biggest coaching complaint of the game, and it was a minor one, was the clock management at the end of the first half. Amendola makes a catch with 11-12 seconds left on the clock and rather than take the timeout and try a shot at the endzone, the Rams seem to look around at each other for a few seconds before calling time out to kick the field goal. Not sure what the point was of the 4th & Goal pass late in the game, but I donít have a problem with trying to run the score up on the Seahawks, heh..

    -Regarding the Seahawks themselves, I thought Matt Hasselbeck had a solid day. Every week, I see stories talking about whether he should be benched or not. I didnít find him that bad in this game. He was fairly accurate and did a good job moving around when he had to. I donít think he got much help from his coaching staff and the personnel at running back isnít scaring anyone. He kind of confused me on third down in the Ramsí red zone where he took off running with a Rams defensive lineman right in his path. Maybe he didnít see him, I dunno. The Seattle offensive line was okay; they protected Hasselbeck fairly well in the first half it seemed, but there were some moments overall when the pressure got to him. My understanding is thatís been kind of a weak area the last couple of seasons, but I think the Okung pick will help solidify it in the long run. Pete Carroll had some strange moments in this one. Donít see the point of challenging the James Hall sack. Sure, you got the call reversed, but you used up one of your challenges and only gained four or five yards. Desperation challenge on the Fletcher interception; did someone in the Seahawks booth not tell Carroll it was a clean pick and Fletcher wasnít touched? That had the odor of a coach just trying to stop the other team from getting momentum, but failing on it meant they were out of challenges. The fake field goal was gutsy call that didnít work out; no faith in your kicker hitting a 51-yarder in a dome? The two passes before that Ė both deep down the left sideline Ė didnít work out. Had the Seahawks done something other than air it out on both of those plays, maybe they gain enough yards to try a real kick. Later in the game, facing a 3rd & 10, Hasselbeck audibles toÖ a run? Final critique, and I know itís late in the game, but two run plays on Seattleís final drive with no time outs to keep the clock running. Talk about waiving the white flag.

    -Well, the Rams now sit at 2-2 and are tied for first place in the division. They travel to Detroit next weekend to face the Lions, who yielded the Ramsí only victory in 2009. Matthew Stafford may be back for Detroit next weekend, but will he be rusty coming off an extended absence? The Lions have been competitive with good teams like the Bears, Packers, and Eagles, so look for them to come out hard. This wonít be an easy game, but I donít think the Rams will be expecting one. They know better than anyone that you canít underestimate a team because of past failures, and with St. Louis trending upward, Iím looking for them to come out with a win. The schedule is only going to get harder, so itís important to get a victory in winnable games when you can.

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  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Week Four

    His touchdown pass to Gibson was a thing of beauty
    Amen. In fact, that pass should be attached to his resume under the heading "Accuracy".
    Speaking of fantastic grabs, DANNY FREAKINí AMENDOLA! I will never doubt you again.
    Nice to have you on the Danny train. All aboard!
    Justin Kingís most memorable moment was probably getting burned down the middle of the field by Stokley.
    To his credit though, didn't King have a big tackle for loss on WR screen? I'd have to go back and look.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  3. #3
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Week Four

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    To his credit though, didn't King have a big tackle for loss on WR screen? I'd have to go back and look.
    I don't think so. According to the NFL.com play by play, he didn't have any tackles for loss. The shortest one was a tackle after a one yard reception by Mike Williams on a crossing route on third and long, and King came up and did a nice job taking out his legs. But the Stokley reception seemed to be the play for King that stood out most for me.
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  4. #4
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Week Four

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I don't think so. According to the NFL.com play by play, he didn't have any tackles for loss. The shortest one was a tackle after a one yard reception by Mike Williams on a crossing route on third and long, and King came up and did a nice job taking out his legs. But the Stokley reception seemed to be the play for King that stood out most for me.
    Must have been someone else then. I know the commentators gave him credit for that play, but it's all together possible they got the wrong guy. I'll have to go back and look at it.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Week Four

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Must have been someone else then. I know the commentators gave him credit for that play, but it's all together possible they got the wrong guy. I'll have to go back and look at it.
    I think I know the play you're talking about. Hasselbeck was dropping waaay back to set up a WR screen & King chopped the receiver down at his ankles. Technically not for a loss but it WAS a great tackle; if he missed there was a mile of open space. Seems to be King's speciality. I think he might also have been the guy who absolutely crunched FB Robinson just as he threw that trickeration pass across the field to Leon W.

    It's one aspect of The D that hasn't been talked about enough,imo. The Rams are often absolutely punishing the opposition even when they allow a positive play. Carlson also got pummelled early in the game & walked off gingerly, looking like he'd had his insides rearranged violently.

    I also would have to look again to be sure but I think guys like King, Diggs, and Grant have been a part of a team effort to really smother the potent TEs that The Rams have faced the last two games. We just haven't heard their names called because the ball doesn't even get thrown to their guy.

    I would go a little further than Nick & say it was downright rash to have SJ in the game for that last time-eating drive. I understand why Spags didn't go for the FG; burning clock & keeping the ball out of Washington's big-play hands,etc, but that could have been disastrous if SJ had got roughed up.

    Also agreed on the AWOL TEs. Darcy Johnson made a couple of egregious errors in pass pro & that illegal shift which negated SJ's extraordinary 4th down run. Good to hear that both Bajema & Uh-Oh are on the way back.

    Yeah, Gibson keeps trying to make a fool of me with these exasperating drops, doesn't he?..lol... The one he hauled in at the sideline was a much tougher catch,imo, than it first looked, though, & I loved seeing Spags grab him and keeping the kid pumped up after it.

    Robbins has been terrific but Long is seriously setting him up for success,imo. I think it was the last turnover when you can see Long just fly around the edge, his head never rising above waist level, and forcing Hass to step up into the middle pressure. Textbook DL teamwork. Breathtaking stuff we've been waiting to see pay off for years.Even Cudjo got into the act. He drove his guy back 3-4 yds like he was channeling the House of Spears,peeled off his blocker & grabbed the RB as he went by, stopping him for a short gain of 3 that would have gone for much more in times past.

    I also loved seeing the rook DEs getting into the rotation & contributing. As I posted elsewhere, Selvie snagging Hass on a scramble inside the 10 yd line on an early drive to force a FG was big.He may not have the moves or beef to penetrate the backfield yet but he seems to be very aware & stays at home to make plays like that. Ditto for Sims getting his hands up to deflect that pass into Fletcher's hands.

    Couldn't agree more about the Detroit game; it's no gimme. These guys are getting close every week while enduring a Rams-like injury epidemic.Hill is finding Johnson regularly & I'm not at all happy thinking about Suh & co getting after Sam. Bradford needs to eliminate those uncharacteristic early misses as well as WRs dropping the ball when it's on target. Too many yards and points still left on the field to ensure a road victory.

  6. #6
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Week Four

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Sam Bradford had a solid day against Seattle, I think. It wasnít the best weíve seen of him, but he did a nice job feeling pressure for the most part and overall was accurate with the football.
    I agree. The Seahawks defense really turned the screws on him which caused some problems, but as usual, he rolled with the punches and never got rattled.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Gibson looked better than he did last week, but still had a bad drop on a bootleg pass that hit him right in the hands. One drop is better than three, though, and to Brandonís credit, he had a nice run after the catch during the two-minute offense in the first half.
    He did look better. I've got to believe his confidence was shaken after being inactive the first two weeks of the season, but he appears to be getting it back. I'm hoping he continues to improve and solidify a place on the roster because he has the ability to get open and as we saw, is a good end zone target.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Fred Robbins may be one of this teamís best free agent acquisitions in the last three years, and I say that as someone who wasnít sold on him coming here as a full time starter. But boy, has he looked good.
    He's been a major reason the defense is turning it around. Dominant and disruptive. Another brilliant pickup by Devaney and Spags.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Gilyard bobbled a kickoff after probably misreading where it was coming down, but credit him for trying to grind out yards on the return.
    I really like Gilyard and think he has great potential, but he has me holding my breath on returns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Regarding the Seahawks themselves, I thought Matt Hasselbeck had a solid day. Every week, I see stories talking about whether he should be benched or not. I didnít find him that bad in this game. He was fairly accurate and did a good job moving around when he had to.
    I thought he did a solid job as well. The folks in Seattle don't agree. I went over to Seahawks.net and there was a 8 page thread with pretty much everyboby ripping him to shreds and screaming for Whitehurst to start. I don't get it. I guess losing to the "lowly" Rams has them in a panic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    The Lions have been competitive with good teams like the Bears, Packers, and Eagles, so look for them to come out hard. This wonít be an easy game, but I donít think the Rams will be expecting one.
    I don't think this will be an easy game either. I see Detroit as a team that is starting to pull things together, much like the Rams.

    As usual, very nice recap Nick.

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