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Sam's Silver Linings - Week Five
I am posting this week's "Silver Linings" one day early. I'm trying to get things done around the house, still hunting down the ever-elusive perfect job opportunity, and I don't want to accidentally delete this before it gets posted. I hope you enjoy it.
This week, Rams fans were treated to one of the hardest fought games in recent memory. The score did not tell the story of the true effort that the Rams put forth to beat the Arizona Cardinals, a previously unbeaten team considered to be among the NFL’s best. Thanks to the Rams, the entire NFL knows that the Cards are beatable.
Unfortunately, we saw too many injuries in this game. The win came with a very high cost to both teams. Danny Amendola had a life-threatening injury on Thursday night, but we didn’t find out about it until Sunday morning. He will likely be sidelined for a month or more. Quintin Mikell left the game after a head injury – last I heard, his status is day-to-day. The Cards suffered heavily from the Rams relentless attack – Reggie Walter received a head injury, Ryan Williams is out for the season with a shoulder injury, leaving ‘Zona really hurting on their offense. Add to this the incessant battering that our defense handed out to Kevin Kolb, and the chances are it will take weeks for the Cardinals to begin their recovery.
Being the first prime-time game for the Rams in a long time, the Rams were assured a large national audience, and they did not disappoint. The good thing about this is that everyone knows that the Rams are a serious team that won’t give up. The bad thing about this is that everyone knows the Rams are a serious team that won’t give up. Yes, it’s one and the same – like a sniper on the battlefield, once exposed, the sniper becomes everyone’s target.
Of course, along with the acclaim comes the criticism. Some fans (and sportswriters) refuse to give credit where credit is due. Regardless of the fact that the dome was as loud as it was, there are those who claim that the Rams have no local support…but, one must also consider the fact that these are probably the same people who would have complained about the Rams only winning 12 regular season games back in 1999. I have also heard some people talking about the ineffectiveness of Sam Bradford in this game. I guess they do not remember that Arizona’s defense was highly rated, and that without Amendola, Bradford’s options were lessened dramatically. Like it has been said, you can’t please everyone, so ignore the haters because they suck. Well, I said it, so it counts.
Now for this week’s “Silver Linings”…
1. Danny Amendola: His one-handed “circus grab” was reminiscent of some of the greatest catches ever made during the GSOT era. Consistently underrated, Danny proves himself on the field every time he is on the field. Of course, the best thing to happen with Danny this week is the news that a very serious injury is not going to end his season or cause permanent issues. I don’t care what you say – we are all very lucky that Danny wears the horns.
2. Robert Quinn: This kid is a sack machine. For the rest of his life, every time that someone mentions Quinn’s name, Kolb is going to hit the dirt. Everyone knows that Chris Long is a monster, so they double team him, leaving Quinn open to do what he does best – install pain into opposing quarterbacks. After sacking Kolb three times in one game, our opponents are going be trying to contain both sides of the line, leaving the rest of our defense open to cause destruction to their offense.
3. James Laurinaitis: Not many people (other than the Rams fans) know that #55 has 49 tackles already this season – that is an average of 9.8 tackles per game! With all of the bad draft picks that the Rams had in the past decade, no one can argue that Laurinaitis was one of the best choices the Rams have made – in ANY decade!
4. Steven Jackson: While he didn’t stack up 100 or more yards like he used to, Jackson did his part to keep the ball moving. Coming into this game right after his contract status was announced, he did not appear to have anything on his mind except winning. Still dealing with a groin injury and with more than 8 years of opponents trying to find ways of slowing him down, Jackson proved he can still run over, around, and through defenses when he has the chance.
5. Janoris Jenkins: I have said it several times, and I will say it again…this kid is a monster. Having Courtland Finnegan as a mentor surely helps, but Jenkins came to the Rams with a buttload of natural talent – playing alongside Finnegan just helps that talent out. By 2014, Jenkins will have made a name for himself, and will have the respect of any team he faces.
6. Darian Stewart: The hit he put on Williams was like a Kenworth running over a Prius. It is unfortunate that Williams is out for the year because of the hit, but seeing Stewart step it up and make a play like that one was great. Stewart’s effort shows the positive influence the new coaching staff is having on our team.
7. Chris Givens: Yes, he is inconsistent, but he is learning. He has made a few big plays this year, and his 51-yard TD reception was one of the best. I look forward to watching this kid get a little better each game.
8. Johnny Hekker: Punters are people, too, and Hekker proves this every week. Hekker faced one of the most dangerous return men in the NFL, and did a great job. Every kid that kicks a football thinks that punting is easy – nothing could be further from the truth. When you have one ton of bodies rushing your way, and you can kick a 68-yarder down the field right against the sideline, you have talent. The Rams have (in my opinion) the best kicking team in the NFL in Puntimus Prime and Legatron.
9. Daryl Richardson: He isn’t Marshall Faulk – but then again, no one is except Marshall. However, putting up a 3.9 yard per carry average against Arizona is pretty good for a rookie backup running back. With proper guidance and his natural instincts, Richardson is not only a reliable #2, but can develop into a solid #1 run threat for the Rams in the future.
10. Lance Kendricks: I have to give the guy props for his effort early on. He started it off with a TD reception. It may have only been a 7 yard grab, but it still had a huge effect on the already pumped-up fans. Regardless of what some people think, hearing the crowd explode in support and appreciation has a huge impact on the players. Kendricks did his part by injecting the dome with enthusiasm.
The Rams have a ten day stretch to rest and recover from the massacre they laid out on the Cards. Arizona does too, and they will need it more than the Rams…Kolb is still flinching every time he hears someone coming his way. This week, the Rams are travelling to Miami to play the ‘Fins. The Dolphins are a team that seems to be getting better with each passing week. I, for one, have little doubt that the Rams can come out of this game with another win. If I remember correctly, the Rams have only allowed two passing TD’s this season. I look for that streak to continue. I also heard that our defense LOVES sushi. This Sunday’s menu features an all-you-can-beat Tuna-free Dolphin entrée.
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