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  1. #1
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    Rams aren't turning yards into points

    Rams aren't turning yards into points
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    12/01/2004

    Isaac Bruce is leading the NFL in yards gained by a receiver, but the offense isn't scoring as many points as the Rams need.
    (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


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    Despite the accolades for Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, etc., no NFL quarterback has thrown for more yards this season than Marc Bulger.

    Bulger has thrown for 3,267 yards, a pace not far off Kurt Warner's franchise record of 4,830 yards passing in 2001.

    Despite all the headlines garnered by Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison and tight end sensation Antonio Gates, there is no receiver in football with more yards than Isaac Bruce. Bruce has 1,026 yards on 67 catches.

    Consider also that Torry Holt is on a pace for more than 80 catches and more than 1,100 yards, although his numbers are down from his league-leading totals of a year ago. And that youngsters Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis are getting better every week, developing into potent complementary receivers.

    That's the good news. The bad news is that those yards aren't showing up on the scoreboard. The Rams have scored 17 points or fewer in five of their 11 games this season. Eleven teams are averaging more points than the Rams' 21.5 points a game.

    In short, the Rams haven't been productive enough on offense to carry their defense.

    "It's all about the points," Bulger said. "We're getting a ton of yards and moving the ball, but if we can just get a little more balanced. And there's too many penalties right now."

    But the Rams have fallen so far behind in most of their recent games, that it's been almost impossible to have a balance between the run and the pass:

    Against Green Bay, the Rams trailed 21-10 by late in the second quarter and did not make it a one-possession game the rest of the night.

    After a tight first half against Buffalo, a series of special teams misadventures put the Rams down 34-17 seven minutes into the second half.

    New England broke open a close game with two third-quarter TDs.

    Against Green Bay, the Rams had several chances to at least make a game of it. They had receivers running free against an overwhelmed Packers secondary, but they scored touchdowns only twice.

    "We kept shooting ourselves in the foot," McDonald said. "We'd move the ball, and then we'd have a penalty or a mistake by somebody. ... Sometimes we couldn't find the receiver. Or sometimes we had a little pressure, or a receiver might have messed up."

    On seven separate possessions against the Packers, the Rams had the ball at the Green Bay 30 or deeper. But out of a possible 49 points on those possessions, the Rams managed only 17 points, on two TDs and a field goal.

    On the four non-scoring drives deep into Green Bay territory, the Rams:

    * Missed a field goal.

    * Threw an interception.

    * Failed on a fake field goal.

    * Punted.

    So how can the team do a better job of finishing drives?

    "Just stop the holding, offsides, and stupid stuff," Bulger said. "We get first and 10 on the 15, and then holding, and we're back on the 25. So it's tough. You've got three downs to get 25 yards. The DBs are going to sit more (and not bite on play action). They know you have to throw when you get first and 20 rather than first and 10."

    Bulger missed on two throws deep in Packers territory. Early in the second quarter, he appeared to overthrow Holt in the end zone on third and 8 from the Packers 16. The Rams settled for a field goal.

    But Martz said that Holt ran his route about 5 yards too shallow, and that otherwise the play would probably have gone for a touchdown.

    In the third quarter, Bulger underthrew Bruce in the end zone, with Ahmad Carroll intercepting for Green Bay. Bulger couldn't get everything into the throw because a blitzing Green Bay linebacker was in his face.

    "That's one of those (plays) where you know you're about to get crushed, and you throw it as far as you can - as far as your body allows you," Bugler said. "You rush your motion."

    Under those circumstances, particularly since it was first down, it's probably a throw that shouldn't have been made.

    "It's a learning lesson," Bulger said. "Maybe you just pull it down and take a sack. You hate to take one in the red zone. But at the same, if you can't finish your throw completely. ..."

    The ball's liable to be picked off.

    On the Rams' first foray into the red zone Monday, Bulger was sacked on a third-and-6 play from the Green Bay 16. It looked like Bulger held onto the ball too long.

    "We had a receiver fall down," Martz said. "That's when he took the sack. He didn't know what to do with the ball. He was getting ready to throw it, and all of a sudden the receiver's not there."

    There were some other weird occurrences Monday, including Holt being called for a false start on two occasions. "He was getting the ball," Martz said. "So he got a little anxious, I guess."

    On one occasion, Bulger was sacked for a 10-yard loss on a play where the ball was supposed to be snapped on the second count, but it came out on the first. Which explains why some offensive linemen were standing still as Bulger was being dropped.


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is online now Moderator Emeritus
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    Re: Rams aren't turning yards into points

    Martz needs to adjust his Red Zone strategy. The offense is predicated on pass patterns of 15-20 yards. However, in the Red Zone (or, really, anywhere inside the 30 yard line), defenses have an easier time defending against these routes because they don't have to worry about the 40-50 yard pass.

    Martz needs to mix in more shorter patterns inside the 30 (screen passes, quick slants, etc.). I'd also like to see an occasional end around to McDonald or Curtis, who may be the best open field runners on the Rams right now.

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    Re: Rams aren't turning yards into points

    Bulger is the QB on my fantasy team and all this passing is getting me lots of fantasy points. Gotta luv it for the fantasy world, but it doesn't do anything for the real world. Lots of passing yards don't equal points for this team.

    The peanut gallery at work keeps asking why the Rams are so bad with time of possession and clock management. So much passing, not much running, and lots of Faulk running out of bounds to stop the clock. Well all this passing is not good for clock management, but it is good for the Hammerheads.

    Watch out tx....I want the top spot and Bulger is going to get it for me.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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