Sam's Silver Linings - Week Fifteen
Recently, I went to the local grocery store, and ran into a man about 55 years old, wearing a Rams jacket. We were both waiting in line at the deli, and naturally, we began discussing football. While we were talking, we both noticed a couple of other people in the area. One was wearing a Chiefs jersey, the other a Raiders jacket. I said I remember how people used to look whenever I wore my Rams stuff over the past few seasons. He jokingly said, “Yeah, this is the first year in a while that I didn’t almost feel embarrassed…but at least we aren’t Eagles fans!”
It’s not embarrassment I am feeling this week, but bewilderment. I can’t figure out how the Rams can beat the top-rated team in the NFL, but can’t beat what I consider to be a relatively weak, overrated, one-dimensional team. Once again this season, the Rams came into the game with every chance to win, but instead, they came out flat and had to play from behind the entire game. In some ways, this is a good thing. It seems that when the Rams have to catch up, they play smarter and harder, yet still don’t completely give up on the running game. The “four-minute” offense seems to be a perfect fit for St. Louis, but it doesn’t always work. Still, thousands of us refused to give up until the very last minute of the game.
But there are those people who keep me in a state of bewilderment. These are the fans who are talking about getting rid of Bradford. (Those who talk of dogs eating paper are quite peculiar, too!) I cannot, for the life of me, understand how the quarterback is getting the blame for things that are not under his control. Oh, he makes mistakes – sometimes very boneheaded, rookie-type mistakes – but not everything that goes wrong on the offense is his fault. An appropriate analogy would be blaming the radio in your car for a flat tire. Sam cannot be an effective quarterback in the league without the rest of the pieces being in place: he needs an offensive line that is capable of handling a pass rush with consistency, receivers who are able to break free from defenders and pull in a pass in heavy coverage, and a game plan that allows him to use his skills effectively. For the majority of the past decade, these same three things have been a problem for the Rams. Why Sam is the target of continual attacks by fans is something beyond comprehension. Yes, when he makes an error, he deserves criticism. When it is something beyond his control, he should not be blamed.
Since I am extremely busy getting ready for Christmas (and other things), I think it’s time for this week’s “Silver Linings”:
1. Steven Jackson: A lot of fans think this was his last game in the dome as a Ram. Personally, I doubt it. I think he will be back. Even if he should move on, Steven made us all proud on Sunday by becoming the newest member of a very elite group – the “10,000 yard club”. I don’t care who you are, if you are a Rams fan, this made you very proud. Thirteen rushes for 73 yards and 8 receptions for 73 more yards made it a productive day, even without a win.
2. Danny Amendola: During the game, there was a graphic showing the “with Danny” and “without Danny” stats that popped on the screen. I wish I had captured that info – it showed the difference this man makes to our offense. He really wasn’t as productive as he has been in past games, but he still brought in a pass for a TD, and got 58 yards from 6 passes.
3. Brandon Gibson: Six receptions, 76 yards, and more effort each game. While he will never become a #1 WR, he is beginning to come of age.
4. Janoris Jenkins: Eight solo tackles. That’s impressive. I like this rookie. I wondered if he was worth the risk when we drafted him, but it looks like he is serious about football. I was hoping to see him grab one or two interceptions during the game, but no such luck. Still, a good day for him.
5. Brian Quick: No, he wasn’t a big contributor to the game on Sunday, but he showed us why we drafted him: the jump ball where he beat out Jefferson was nice…and Quick’s size is what made the difference. The six points were nice, too, even if they didn’t result in a Rams win.
6. Quintin Mikell: While his name has not been mentioned as much this year as I thought it would, he came through in this game. Four tackles, one sack, and a forced fumble. Too bad it wasn’t enough to change the outcome of the game.
7. Then entire offense: During the 4th quarter, Sam Bradford led the offense down the field in an attempt to force the game into overtime. Even though there was only a slim chance, it wasn’t until the last 1:14 on the clock that the Rams finally conceded that the game was lost. If they had put forth the same effort during the first three quarters, the game would have belonged to the Rams. Still – I have to give them credit for trying.
This Sunday, the Rams are once again on the road, heading to Florida to face the Bucs. Since Avenger lives in Florida also, I have been reassured that his paper-scarfing dog will not attempt to eat the playbook. This looks to be yet another game where the teams are fairly evenly matched – at least on paper. I expect to see the Rams being able to pull out a road win; we need the momentum before our season finale in Seattle.
As a Rams fan, I am not really upset with the loss this past week. Being the youngest team in the league, with a lack of first-rate talent at several spots, I am rather proud of what they have done so far. Very few thought the Rams would end up with more than six wins this season. We have nowhere we can go but up from this point.
I am going to end this week’s column with a personal note. Last week, America was witness to a senseless tragedy. The victims of this tragedy were honored with much respect by both the Rams and Vikings, and also a very solemn crowd. In the wake of this tragedy, I encourage each of you to do something positive. Volunteer to help a child. Donate your time at a homeless shelter. Thank a first responder or a veteran. Donate time or money to an animal shelter. Read to children at a school. If all who read this do something to make the world a better place, it might make the difference that could make the world better for everyone in the future. It’s the little things that make a real difference.
Re: Sam's Silver Linings - Week Fifteen
i'm still shocked that finnegan hasn't had an int since what? The third game of the season?
and yes, the bradford haters are ridiculous, and i'd be repeating myself, and others about how this is bradford's 3rd year, 3rd system, other QB's weren't doing so hot if not playing at all their third season blah blah blah, so yea, annoying
Re: Sam's Silver Linings - Week Fifteen
I thought Sam might actually be killed. It's hard to please people when you're being murdered.