Nerves show as Pead makes Rams debut

BY JIM THOMAS
Aug 13, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS • Running back Isaiah Pead, the last of three second-round picks by the Rams in April, got plenty of work Sunday with 13 touches on 10 carries and three receptions. But preseason or not, he had some opening-game jitters.

Pead gained only 13 yards on his first six carries in the Rams' 38-3 loss to Indianapolis, replacing Steven Jackson on the third series of the game. Pead did better over the rest of the first half, with four carries for 20 yards to finish with 33 yards rushing.

"At first glance, he was a little east-west instead of north-south," coach Jeff Fisher said. "We can get that fixed. And we're disappointed he lost the ball."

Even though he wasn't touched by a Colts defender, Pead lost a fumble at the Indianapolis 45 after catching a short pass from Kellen Clemens on the first play of the second quarter. Fisher didn't even think about throwing out the challenge play on that one for an instant replay review.

"I got a look from upstairs and the ball was completely out when he touched (the ground)," Fisher said. "It wasn't close."

On special teams, Pead returned one kickoff for 30 yards but also stepped out of bounds at the back of the end zone trying to return another, so it was ruled a touchback.

"You don't step out of the back of the end zone and try to return a kickoff," Fisher said. "He was told five or seven (yards deep) fine, but any deeper than that kneel. So it's just one of those things that he'll learn.

"And sometimes players have to make mistakes to learn from their mistakes."

Sack time

Clemens, who played the rest of the first half after Sam Bradford's two series, was sacked twice by Colts outside linebacker Jerry Hughes. On the first sack, right tackle Jason Smith let Hughes through and blocked someone else, and Pead turned away — toward the other side of the line — on pass protection. On Hughes' second sack, he simply beat Smith around the edge but should have been flagged for offsides.

"(Hughes) was clearly unabated across the line of scrimmage, and that play was not shut down," Fisher said, taking a slight jab at the crew of replacement officials headed by referee Don King. "So you're a little bit concerned about the safety of your quarterback."

Sitting it out

Six players on the Rams' 89-man training camp roster did not suit up Sunday: wide reciever Danario Alexander (hamstring), center Scott Wells (knee), defensive tackle Trevor Laws (knee), safety Darian Stewart (hamstring), wide receiver Brandon Gibson (leg soreness) and cornerback Bradley Fletcher, with what's believed to be leg soreness.

Among the Colts' inactives was a former Rams second-round draft pick, wide receiver Donnie Avery, with a thigh injury.

Lineup notes

Rodger Saffold started at left tackle after missing some practice time last week with general leg soreness. That gave the Rams a starting front five of Saffold, left guard Quinn Ojinnaka, center Robert Turner, right guard Harvey Dahl and right tackle Barry Richardson.

Steve Smith and Danny Amendola were the starting wide receivers. Besides Pead, also getting work on kickoff returns were Chris Givens and Chase Reynolds. Janoris Jenkins did the punt returning — although the only Colts punt Sunday went out of bounds.

Local line

Besides Avery, the Colts' roster features two other former Rams draft picks. Cornerback Justin King started for Indy and recorded a team-high six tackles according to unofficial press box stats. And safety Jermale Hines was flagged for a 54-yard pass interference trying to defend wide receiver Givens. The play set up the Rams' field goal — and only points — of the day.

Also on the Indy roster are outside linebacker Jerry Brown, of Vashon High and the University of Illinois, and cornerback Korey Lindsey of Southern Illinois.