How to beat the Rams in one easy lesson.
That title would have sold a lot of print a few years ago.......say between '99 and '01. However, now it's not such a big secret. This team has changed and with it the characteristics of its victorious foes.
So now, let's take a look at what it has taken to beat the Rams over the past couple of years, and if those characteristics need to change to beat a new and improved Rams.
1. Big-play capability --- The Rams may beat you up and down the field in yardage, first downs, time of possession, etc.....but if you have one strike, one score abilities in your offense, you can beat the Rams.
Example: Last year's debacle against the Giants. The Rams chewed up a ton of yards, Bulger completed 40 passes for 442 yards. The Rams had more first downs, was more effective on 3rd and 4th downs, held the ball 5 minutes longer, but........they didn't have Plaxico Burress. Within the 1st quarter Burress had already closed in on 100 yards, including a 31 yarder to score, and a 46 yarder to set up another score. The Giants jumped ahead early and didn't look back.
2. Stick to the gameplan --- The GSOT would dominate in part because of their early strike ability (like mentioned above), but also because the D now had only half as many plays to worry about. In other words, the GSOT would force teams to change their gameplan. The past couple of years, an early Rams lead could be chipped away.
Example: Last year's come back loss in Indy. We're up 17-0 against the best team in the league after the first quarter. The Colts should have been in panic mode, yes? Not so much. The first full series of the 2nd quarter involved more Edge than Manning. The Colts stuck to their gameplan believing they were at least a TD per quarter better than the Rams for the final three quarters. Unfortunately, they were right.
3. Establish the ground game --- When Lovie came to town, everybody on the D side got sknnier. Undersized was the fashion in Lovie world. Theoritically, it meant quicker, speedier, swarming defenders that could gang tackle any ball carrier before gaining ground. The problem is there was a ton of swarm, but not much tackle. Teams that were committed to the ground game, and stuck with it, found success against the Rams
Example: The playoff game in Atlanta two years ago. Really it could have been several different games, but this one proves my point just fine. Jimmy Kennedy was quoted afterwards, "We knew what they were going to do, and we still couldn't stop it." He was exactly right. The Falcons running game is not complicated (same with the Broncos for that matter). It's student body left, or student body right and Dunn picks door #1, 2 or 3 and turns up field. It shouldn't be that simple, but for whatever reason (lack of basic tackling and gap discipline, IMO) it was.....to the tune of 327 yards and 8.7 YPC.
4. Pop the QB --- Bulger has to be looking over his shoulder more than an informant in Sicily. His few years here in St. Louis have been spent as much horizontal as vertical. Sometimes he can still manage to push through, but if you get to him or any other Rams QB enough, they will fold like a house of cards.
Example: We could go with the season opener of '03, ie. the end of Warner in St. Louis. Or we could talk about the 2004 beat-down Bulger took from the Pats....but I'd rather stir the pot by talking about last year's season opener in San Fran. The Rams beat the niners on every level imaginiable....except the scoreboard. Our offense put up obnoxious numbers while holding their offense to very minimal gains. They only mustered 34 yards rushing. We should have won that game! But what the niners did do was pop Bulger a whooping 7 times. The quick penetration turned Martz vertical thrill machine into a grotesquely bland 5.0 yards per pass WCO facsimile. Add to that a horrendous 3rd down effeciency, and sprinkle in one of the worst ST outings in the history of the game.......you wind up with a lesser team taking the day.
So have we turned around any of these deficiencies? Do we have the secondary to stop big-play receivers? (Tye Hill?) Are we potent enough to strike early and make other teams rearrange their script? (Joe Klop?) Can our D-line penetrate and stop ball carriers in the backfield? (Claude Wroten?) Can we finally keep a QB on his feet for the entire season? (Barron / Incognito)
I don't know if any of these questions can be answered just yet, but at least the Rams recognize what gets them beat, and appear to be righting the ship. However, Sunday will bring with it the true answer.
Re: How to beat the Rams in one easy lesson.
Sorry HUBison...I gotta do this...it's almost too easy.
Step one: Show up...
Step two: Go to Lockerroom and put on your Seahawks gear...
Step three: well...you only really need step's one and two, cause afterwards the Rams cower in fear...
You know I'm just joking, having some fun at your expense and stuff...good luck this Sunday, really hope BUlger and Jackson do well since I ended up with them on two of my fantasy teams by accident.