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  1. #1
    Rambos's Avatar
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    Rams Report Card: On average, team brought its "B" game

    BY JEFF GORDON

    Here are the grades for the St. Louis Rams after Sunday’s ugly 13-12 victory at Cleveland:

    QUARTERBACK: Sam Bradford did a few notable things, such throwing an actual touchdown pass and gamely scrambling for a helpful first down on his bad wheel. But he also suffered a deflection interception and seemed overly focused on primary target Brandon Lloyd. Given the effectiveness of their ground game, the Rams need to play off that strength more effectively in the air. GRADE: C.

    RUNNING BACK: Steven Jackson destroyed the Browns on the ground, gaining 128 yards on 27 carries. Cadillac Williams' injury forced him to work without rest. But he also fumbled away a reception with the offense moving into scoring position at the Cleveland 29-yard line, so his day was not perfect. GRADE: A-minus.

    RECEIVERS: Brandon Lloyd ran a terrific route to catch a Bradford TD pass as the Rams ACTUALLY CONVERTED IN THE RED ZONE. Rookie Austin Pettis flashed some potential. On the other hand, Brandon Gibson did not distinguish himself playing on one good leg. Overally the WRs still aren't getting enough separation. GRADE: C

    TIGHT ENDS: Lance Kendricks missed the game with a foot injury. Michael Hoomanawanui caught two passes, then suffered an ugly knee injury. This meant Billy Bajema was the best tight end left standing. This meant the tight end was not a big part of the game plan at crunch time. GRADE: C.

    OFFENSIVE LINE: With center Jason Brown benched, right tackle Jason Smith still hurt and left tackle Rodger Saffold knocked out of the game by a head injury, this became a patchwork unit Sunday. And yet the group opened up rushing holes right to the end of the game. The line generally gave Bradford time to work, too. Under rough circumstances, the unit delivered a winning effort on the road. GRADE: A-minus.

    DEFENSIVE LINE: Former Rams spare part Chris Ogbonnaya broke off a 32-yard run, but otherwise the front seven kept the depleted Browns ground game in check. Chris Long earned a sack and the front four forced Browns quarterback Colt McCoy to scramble four times for minimal yardage. A debatable “horse collar” penalty on defensive tackle Fred Robbins almost proved costly late in the game. GRADE: B.

    LINEBACKERS: The Rams got caught on a few end-around plays and failed to smother a couple of screen passes. But middle linebacker James Laurinaitis celebrated in his return home to Ohio, earning a key sack, swatting down a pass and earning seven tackles according to press box statistics. A great defensive day overall was marred a bit when Cleveland drove late toward the potential winning score. GRADE: B.

    SECONDARY: Cornerback Al Harris got hurt. So did safety Darian Stewart. Those key injuries forced the unit to improvise. Although the Rams allowed some big chunk passing plays – like Greg Little’s 52-yard catch – they kept the Browns out of the end zone under adverse conditions. With a few exceptions their tackling was good; oft-maligned cornerback Justin King led all Rams with eight tackles according to press box statistics. GRADE: A.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicking game tragedies cost the Rams last week in Arizona. This week the Rams for the decisive play in kick coverage, with newcomer David Nixon stripping Josh Cribbs of the ball during a punt return and Ben Leber recovering it. Brown converted that turnover into his second field goal of the game and the deciding point. There were some mishaps along the way, like Brown kicking the ball out of bounds after his go-ahead field goal. That blunder helped the Browns move into position for Phil Dawson’s 22-yard field goal try at the end . . . which he missed, due to a mishap with the snap. This unit might have been more lucky than good Sunday, but a win is a win. GRADE: B.

    COACHING: Steve Spagnuolo and his staff had to win this game. And the coaches did get the "W," under fortuitous circumstances. There was plenty to argue about, including the early decision to punt after the Rams drove to the Cleveland 34 on their very first possession. When Donnie Jones kicked the ball into the end zone, the Rams gained a whopping 14 yards. Why not try the field goal? Brown had kicked the ball through the end zone with the help of wind blowing that direction. The Browns responded to that turn of events by driving for an early field goal. There was a bunch of stuff like that in this game. On the other hand, the coaches managed to guide the Rams to victory after injuries left them deploying a makeshift secondary and a makeshift offensive line. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels might have done some damage with the no-huddle look, but frequent injury stoppages kept the Rams from staying in an up-tempo mode. GRADE: C.


  2. #2
    01d 0rd3r's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Report Card: On average, team brought its "B" game

    To give the coaching a C after they had to improvise with a few injuries is pretty unfair.

  3. #3
    bradwill's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Report Card: On average, team brought its "B" game

    Great effort today by the 5 OLmen who finished the game and looked really solid despite the injury to Saffold and the benching of Brown. With two backup OT's and a center playing for the first time this year, it could have been a real disaster but they turned it into an asset today opening up some really nice holes for SJ and giving Bradford adequate time generally.

  4. #4
    rNemesis's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Report Card: On average, team brought its "B" game

    I think the team grade of B is very fair. The defense gets an A-(Pass D-A+ Rush D- B+) and the offense gets a C+. ( Passing -C Rushing -A). The defense still gets beat on cutback and misdirection. And Bradford either sux or is still affected by injury.)

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams Report Card: On average, team brought its "B" game

    The game management at the end of halves reflects upon the coaches and what they have made this team.

    Frankly, as much as it appears the team wants to get off the field and not play football, you would think they would have more urgency.
    "The horror"

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