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    RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    RamView, October 17, 2005
    From The Couch
    (Report and opinions on the game.)
    Game 6: Colts 45, Rams 28

    The Rams do their fans proud and show plenty of heart early, but get overwhelmed by an injury to Marc Bulger and too many turnovers, propelling the NFL's best team to a 45-3 run, far too much to overcome.

    Position by position:
    * QB: The first couple of games, a lot of us feared that Marc Bulger would never make it to the bye week, though we didn't see it happening quite like this. With the Rams ahead, yes, ahead, 17-0 early in the 2nd, Marc's weekly bad interception proved especially painful, as David Thornton crushed him on the shoulder during Cato June's return and put him out of the game. Which is a real shame, as Marc was 6-8-121 up to that point and showed every sign he would own the Colts' top-ranked defense. He came out of the gates sharply, hitting Brandon Manumaleuna for 9 on the Rams' first play, and Torry Holt for 37 a couple of plays later to set up the first TD. Torry beat a very-overmatched Jason David on that play, and when Kevin Curtis blowtorched David for a 56-yard TD, Bulger looked set to have the same kind of game Eli Manning or Matt Hasselbeck have had at his expense lately. Instead, he doesn't see Cicero July, er, Cato June, lying in the weeds, bad pick, injury, and now more uncertainty for a team that's had more than its share of it lately. Jamie Martin (17-21-134) got off to a strong start in relief, including a 7-for-7 drive in the last 2:00 of the 1st half to lead the Rams to a FG. Jamie’s hardly strong-armed, but he proved very willing to hang in the pocket and threw accurately. Martin threw two interceptions that helped bury the Rams in the 2nd half, but I don’t think either one was his fault. (Mike Martz will probably take blame for both INTs from his hospital bed.) On the first, either Manu stopped his pattern a step short, or Pompey August, er, Cato June (AGAIN) did a nice job “jumping” the route. On the second, Curtis and Cam Cleeland were too close together for one to think each ran the correct route. I’d bet it was intended for Curtis, but Cleeland cut him off. Jamie drove the offense for a late and fairly meaningless TD. If I’m right that those interceptions weren’t his screwups, there’s reason to think he can keep the offense moving fairly well should Bulger’s injury prove significant.

    * RB: Who forgot to tell Steven Jackson (17-88) this was Monday Night Football, not Dancing With The Stars? Steven got great big holes all night long and seemed to stand and look at each one before finally taking off. He made a nice cutback run for 14 on the Rams’ opening drive, which he finished off with a 21-yard TD run where he could have run either left or right for the score. (He ran right.) Jackson hurt the Rams, though, after Mike Furrey’s fumble recovery after the first TD. Hesitant running helped force the Rams to settle for a FG after getting first-and-goal at the 1. Steven, you’re 240 pounds, slam it in there! Another problem in Steven’s game is turnovers. He committed a critical fumble in the 3rd with the Rams still up 20-17. That ball was not protected well; Steven simply has to do a better job than that. Something Steven did not have a problem with tonight was yards after contact. Seems like there were a dozen runs where he gained 4 or 5 yards after a Colt defender had jumped on his back. No doubt he had the Colt DBs quaking in their boots, and his strong running fueled the Rams’ last TD drive. But Steven has a couple of big flaws that need fixing. Marshall Faulk got eight touches; he ran in a late two-pointer and turned a 3rd-and-6 screen pass in the 3rd into a first down with a super, bobbing-and-weaving effort. That seems like the right amount of Marshall. Now Steven needs to get the right amount of physical play.

    * WR: Torry Holt (6-70) toughed out a pretty good night, including a 37-yarder against Jason David in the 1st that made it clear that was going to be a total mismatch all night. Unfortunately, Bulger got hurt, and Martin’s arm dictates a much shorter passing game. David couldn’t handle Kevin Curtis (3-73), either, as Kevin smoked the Colt DB on a double-move in the first, beating him by a good 20 yards on a 56-yard TD that put the Rams up 17-0. I want Jason David at my poker table if he’s going to bite that hard on bluffs. Cam Cleeland had a couple of catches and a TD, but both he and Brandon Manumaleuna appear to me to be responsible for Martin’s two interceptions. Faulk and Jackson combined for 9 catches, leaving Dane Looker (2-25) only a little work, and Shaun McDonald surprisingly none at all.

    * Offensive line: Does Orlando Pace get a cover spot on Sports Illustrated this week? Because he took this week’s cover boy, Dwight Freeney, and made him look like he should have been on the cover of Boys’ Life instead. Even when Freeney got an edge with his excellent speed, Orlando’s footwork was too good, and he just steered Freeney well behind the QB. The Rams allowed only one sack to the NFL’s leading sack defense. That came when Robert Mathis blocked the ball right out of Martin’s hand as he was attempting to throw. Pace recovered that at the Rams’ 2-yard line. In the running game, the Rams frequently blew the Colts off the ball. On Jackson’s TD run, he could have run left or right for the score. Starting LG Claude Terrell got a huge drive block, and Andy McCollum and Adam Timmerman were also solid in the middle. Though Terrell got beat by Freeney on a Jackson draw in the 2nd that lost 3, he and Pace owned the left side. Unfortunately, the line corrupted its superb effort with false starts. Pace committed 3. One was bogus, but another helped force a FG after the Colts’ fumbled kickoff return. Alex Barron, who had a solid night, false started late in the 2nd to bog down a promising drive. But even with two rookies starting, “promising” is still a good word to describe the Rams’ offensive line play.

    * Defensive line / LB: Any defense is going to have a bad night against any offense, let alone Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and the Colts, when that offense starts FIVE drives inside the defense’s 40-yard line. Not only that, but the Colts started two of their TD drives inside the Ram 20. But it is just as unmis-takable that the Rams have given up ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIX points the last three weeks, and are on a pace to give up over SIX HUNDRED points this season. Something HAS to change. Anthony Hargrove came roaring out of the chutes, helping put good pressure on Manning most of the first half without requiring blitzing. Hargrove even got a shoestring sack of Manning at the end of the half. The Rams contained Manning, who had a pretty ordinary game, but got rumbled by Edgerrin James for 143 and 3 TDs. Every week there is a different Football 101 play the Rams can’t stop. Last week, the crossing pattern; this week, the “stretch” run with James. Was there a first down play where James didn’t gain nine yards? I sure can’t remember any. Ordinarily on this type of outside run, you like to see a DB come up to the LOS and string out the play to the sideline. Never happened. Or maybe one of the Rams’ quick DE’s can do it? Never happened. Hey, how about a linebacker? Isn’t that kind of his job? Damn sure never happened. Chris Claiborne (ONE TACKLE) and Dexter Coakley (ALSO ONE TACKLE) rarely seemed to be on the field, and nickel LB Brandon Chillar seemed lost on every play. When Chillar wasn’t getting lost on running plays, he was getting lost like he did on a 20-yard pass to Dallas Clark that set up Indy’s 2nd TD. Let’s see. Chillar: 2nd NFL season. Claiborne: 7th NFL season. Coakley: 9th NFL season. Think some experience might work over a young LB getting lost all the time? Instead, “outside containment” was a completely foreign concept to the Ram defense. Pisa Tinoisamoa had 11 tackles, but also overcommitted on long James runs, and left the middle of the field open for a rare Manning scramble that set up a 3rd-quarter FG. They played hard early, terrible field position helped them look bad, and the main man causing the Rams’ defensive troubles lately doesn’t wear a uniform (ahem), but there is still no mistake that the Ram defense is not only pathetic, but more pathetic than it has ever been, in St. Louis, at least.

    * Secondary: The Ram secondary actually held its ground for a while, thanks to double-teaming Marvin Harrison and actually choosing to defend the crossing pattern this week. That was Corey Ivy’s job, and he did a good one, shutting Brandon Stokley down while he was in the game. Adam Archuleta blew up Dallas Clark to force an incompletion on the Colts’ first play, but that was the secondary’s last physical play of the night. The Rams shut the Colt offense down in the first half until Ivy somehow didn’t get credit for recovering a fumble at the Ram 5 in the 2nd. The Colts went on to score, and a massive comeback was launched. Reggie Wayne (7-59) owned DeJuan Groce. His TD reception in the 2nd was easy. Groce didn’t cover Wayne tonight as much as he was Wayne’s escort after catches. Wayne would have had a big night if James hadn’t, though Groce did bat down an end zone pass in the 3rd that forced Indy to settle for a FG, keeping them temporarily behind 20-17. After Jackson’s fumble, Ivy left the game with cramps, and Terry Fair was useless in his place, leaving Stokley open on crossing patterns to convert two big 3rd downs en route to the Colts taking a 24-20 lead. Fair is so useless, I don’t see what the Rams have to lose by activating Ron Bartell. Once Harrison drew single-coverage from Fisher, he started beating him as easily as you might expect, scoring a short TD on a pass that Travis never turned around to look for, and smoking Travis for 18 down to the 1 to set up Indy’s final TD. It’s a versatile defense; they stink at every position.

    * Special teams: After the Rams' opening TD, Dominic Rhodes bobbled away the ensuing kickoff, and Mike Furrey blasted him off the ball on the ground to get the Rams a monster turnover. Pretty much the special teams highlight, though. Chris Johnson did very little on kick returns, putting the offense behind its usual field position eight-ball. In the 2nd, Brian Barker "pinned" the Colts at their 14, punting from their 45. His other punt went 55, but it was a line drive returned across midfield for 19. Jeff Wilkins stroked a 49-yard FG to close out the first half. The Rams tried an onside kick late, but that play needs a lot more work; no Ram came close to it. Though you did have the scorecard rarity of Torry Holt tackling Marvin Harrison.

    * Coaching/discipline: Interim head coach Joe Vitt did a wonderful job getting his team up for the game. They came out playing well on both sides of the ball for only the second time all season. Vitt didn’t show any quit, calling a defensive timeout with 0:02 left in the 1st half and going for 2 with the Rams down 45-26. Vitt even won a critical challenge early in the game, as a called fumble on Jackson was reversed after replay showed his knee was on the ground. Vitt’s cat-who-swallowed-the-canary grin after winning that challenge was priceless, and I already like the attitude he seems to have brought to the team. OC Steve Fairchild was reasonably similar to OC Mike Martz. The first thing I liked was the hell-with-feeling-out-the-defense approach. Hopefully Martz gets a tape of the first quarter, as Fairchild mixed the run and the pass beautifully, and the Rams got the downfield passing game going better than it’s been all season. Looked like Fairchild was prepared to pick on Jason David all night, until Bulger got hurt. One key sequence to rethink was when the Rams got to the 1 in the first after Indy’s fumbled kickoff. The left side of the line was dominating, but on 2nd-and-goal, the Rams ran right, for a loss. 3rd-and-goal from the 8, it’s a cheesy draw for Faulk that seemed designed only to preserve the FG attempt. And the draw was away from the right side, which they had overloaded with Pace. Huh? I liked how Fairchild came out firing with Martin, and I think the interceptions were poorly-executed plays as opposed to questionable calls. Seeing what the Ram offense did to a top-rated Colt defense tonight, I’d like to see a lot more of Steve Fairchild at OC.
    And I’d like to see a lot less of Larry Marmie at DC. Preferably not at all. I understand why you want to leave the safeties deep against Manning. Other teams have slowed him down with that all season, and Peyton did have just 191 yards. And double-teaming Harrison was a good idea. But how many times can you get gashed by James without making any adjustment at all? Bring up a safety? Swap in a LB for Chillar? Marmie is absolutely wasting the Rams’ investments in Coakley and Claiborne by having them on the field so little. Claiborne, especially, because he brings the aggression this defense badly needs. And the deep-coverage strategy is little use with all the short fields the Colts were given. Marmie had to get aggressive – do some blitzing, get Claiborne in there to wreak havoc, but I don’t think he ever did. Hey, Larry, can you see what your passive, “low-risk” defense has gotten you? 126 points allowed in three weeks! Why is Marmie so content to sit in the same soft defenses all game and never do anything different? Doesn’t he know aggression is an important part of defense? Are the Rams actually going to have to allow 600 points for somebody around here to figure out to change something?

    * Upon further review: Well, if you're a Colts fan, you certainly had to be happy with Peyton Manning's officiating job tonight. He caught the Rams holding, and made that critical call in the 2nd on James' non-fumble… What, Peyton's NOT a referee? You could have fooled Gerry Austin and company. The James non-fumble was an especially brutal sequence. Ivy had snared the ball, and the umpire awarded the ball to the Rams, which tells me the play was dead right there. But no, PEYTON lobbies for a "dual possession" call, the Colts keep it and cut the lead to 17-7, as the refs reverse a call they CANNOT reverse. The Ram defense is always getting screwed by plays prematurely called dead; now, the one time they ever benefit from it, the refs call a do-over. Holy cats. Tarik Glenn false-started on almost every pass play and never got called for it. Meanwhile, in the 3rd, Freeney clearly jumped offsides on his own on a 3rd-and-1, but Pace got hit with the penalty. And the whistle should have been blown well before the ball ever popped loose on the reversed Jackson fumble call in the 1st. The NFL is stupid if it actually thinks it's a good idea to let plays go on when six defenders have wrapped up one guy, because somebody's going to get hurt.

    * Cheers: The highlight of the night? Quite obviously Albert Pujols' two-out, ninth-inning home run to keep the Cardinals alive in the NLCS. Way to go, Albert. All baseball writers are idiots if Albert is not the NL MVP this season. Couldn't find much wrong with the Monday Night Football broadcast. Madden focused on Pace vs. Freeney, and quite properly pointed out Pace's dominance. He gave Freeney too much credit at times for his speed rush, when Pace clearly had that under control and forced him behind the QB. Besides Madden's calling Reggie Wayne "Nate," (Nate Wayne is currently a Jagwires LB) and some uncomfortable discussion of Sam Ryan's dress size, it was a quality broadcast tonight.

    * Who’s next?: If you think the Rams are snake-bitten this year, take a look at next week’s opponent, the New Orleans Saints, who not only have lost RB Deuce McAllister for the year, they’ve lost their home city and stadium, now forever known as the “hot and stinking” Superdome, to Hurricane Katrina. At 1-5, they’re playing like vagabonds, but the Saints didn’t need McAllister to beat the Rams last time, and hell, they’re at home in St. Louis, where they have beaten the Rams three straight times. Expect the Football 101 play that befuddles the Ram defense next week to be the “quarterback rollout,” with which Aaron Brooks has repeatedly killed the Rams over the years. If not that, look out for the “draw play.” A key injury may be Joe Horn, who sat out last week due to a bad hamstring. The Rams have failed badly to pressure Brooks in past meetings, and are failing badly to pressure most QBs this season. If Horn’s out, the Rams may just feel free to bring an extra rusher or two and put some pressure on the Saint QB. It’s legal, you know. The Saints will run Aaron Stecker and Antowain Smith, both of whom have had past success against the Rams. The offensive line is talented but not dominating. Leonard Little vs. Jammal Brown should be a fine matchup. But the key is putting any pressure on Brooks at all. He will make some of the dumbest throws you have ever seen, but Larry Marmie has got to come up with ways to pressure him. Period.
    The Saints can be run on; they almost always have been, and it is incumbent on Steven Jackson to HIT THE HOLE and get rolling Sunday to keep the pressure off of Martin. (As I write this, the extent of Bulger’s injury is not publicly known.) The Rams beat the Saints when they run on them, and must endeavor to do so again. Charles Grant had four sacks in last year’s meeting; I hope I am not overconfident in believing Alex Barron will do a much better job on him than Grant Williams did. The Saints actually have one of the league’s better passing-yardage defenses, which just re-emphasizes the importance of the Ram running game. The Saints allow a poor 129 rushing ypg. The Ram offensive line has been playing super-solid; if it takes 3 yards and a cloud of dust to win next week, then so be it. Because somebody’s season is pretty much over after Sunday’s game. Everyone in a Ram uniform or sideline polo (THAT MEANS YOU, LARRY) has to make sure it’s not going to be them.

    -- Mike
    Game stats from nfl.com


  2. #2
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    Re: RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    Mike this was a strange outcome. But you are correct. We have concerns all over. This is going to be very uphill battle with two tough games left before the bye.
    We could be 2-6 before the bye and that is very scary going forward. Great article as always.
    THE FIELD GOAL

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    MFranke's Avatar
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    Re: RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    This just in, courtesy of "Math For Dummies":
    The Rams are on a pace to give up only 514
    points this year, not 600+. I mistakenly divided by
    5 games originally instead of 6.

    I feel so much better now...:O

    --Mike

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    Re: RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    Very nice job on analysis Mike. I always enjoy your Ramview. :up:

    * Upon further review: Well, if you're a Colts fan, you certainly had to be happy with Peyton Manning's officiating job tonight. He caught the Rams holding, and made that critical call in the 2nd on James' non-fumble… What, Peyton's NOT a referee? You could have fooled Gerry Austin and company. The James non-fumble was an especially brutal sequence. Ivy had snared the ball, and the umpire awarded the ball to the Rams, which tells me the play was dead right there. But no, PEYTON lobbies for a "dual possession" call, the Colts keep it and cut the lead to 17-7, as the refs reverse a call they CANNOT reverse. The Ram defense is always getting screwed by plays prematurely called dead; now, the one time they ever benefit from it, the refs call a do-over. Holy cats. Tarik Glenn false-started on almost every pass play and never got called for it. Meanwhile, in the 3rd, Freeney clearly jumped offsides on his own on a 3rd-and-1, but Pace got hit with the penalty. And the whistle should have been blown well before the ball ever popped loose on the reversed Jackson fumble call in the 1st. The NFL is stupid if it actually thinks it's a good idea to let plays go on when six defenders have wrapped up one guy, because somebody's going to get hurt.
    I was not pleased with the refs inability to blow the whistle when the play is over. When forward progress is stopped, the play is done. They certainly were not blowing the whistle.

    I really am happy that we don't have Peyton as our QB. I found his interference in all aspects of the game annoying which was made very apparent since he was miked up and we could hear it.

    It certainly did seem like Peyton was a referee last night and they were listening to him.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Re: RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    Nice Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam
    What next, NFL gay players kissing on the mouth. To me it is S.O.S.: simply/obscene/sickening. Rest assured I will never cheer for a known homo player

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    sbramfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    very nice read. Definitely right on with just about everything.

    Can you speak to the team for about 20 minutes and relay all this to them???????

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    Re: RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    Quote Originally Posted by sbramfan
    very nice read. Definitely right on with just about everything.

    Can you speak to the team for about 20 minutes and relay all this to them???????
    hehe LOL Ya we need someone from ClanRam to convey our thoughts, ideas, and gameplans. I'm sure the Rams would listen considering we are all experts here Should we vote or do we just say that MFranke has the job hands down. Maybe one of us can get in there and fire Larry Marmie to while we are there :tongue:

    Go Rams
    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam
    What next, NFL gay players kissing on the mouth. To me it is S.O.S.: simply/obscene/sickening. Rest assured I will never cheer for a known homo player

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    MFranke's Avatar
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    Re: RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    Hey, I'll be at Rams Park in a couple of weeks for the
    STL Quarterback Club annual meeting - don't give me
    any bright ideas.

    OK, maybe I'll bring a tool kit and change the locks
    on coach Marmie's office.

    --Mike

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    Re: RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    Quote Originally Posted by MFranke
    OK, maybe I'll bring a tool kit and change the locks
    on coach Marmie's office.
    There you go, now you are thinkin. LOL
    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam
    What next, NFL gay players kissing on the mouth. To me it is S.O.S.: simply/obscene/sickening. Rest assured I will never cheer for a known homo player

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    Re: RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankly,Mike
    OK, maybe I'll bring a tool kit and change the locks on coach Marmie's office.
    I know you mean well. But I think "having to" replay some of those defensive lapses over and over again to craft this piece may have clouded some of your thinking.

    Locking him out of his office is just not enough. You have to keep him out of Rams Park. Preferably out of the country entirely. I hear Iraq still needs help building its defenses. Perhaps you can appeal to his sense of patriotism and have him join the National Guard and ship out ...

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    Re: RamView, 10/17/2005: Colts 45, Rams 28 (Long)

    How about we lock him"in" his office. And not alone...

    <insert your WORST nightmare here to include with him>
    This space for rent...

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