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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Should the Rams be worried?

    By Chris Ruddick, NFL Analyst

    (Sports Network) - Maybe 35-year-old Emmitt Smith's 87-yard performance in Week One should have raised some flags with the St. Louis Rams run-defense. But if it didn't, then the 242 yards the Atlanta Falcons accumulated on the ground in their 34-17 win on Sunday, certainly did.

    In nine-plus seasons in St. Louis, the Rams have allowed more than that only one other time. Back on November 3, 1996, the Rams surrendered 248 yards rushing to Pittsburgh on 41 carries in a 42-6 loss to the Steelers in a game that featured the return of Jerome Bettis, who was dealt to Pittsburgh seven months earlier.

    "They just beat us every way you can, in every phase of the game," said St. Louis head coach Mike Martz. "Physically, they took it to us. We weren't out there doing the right things. We got outplayed and outcoached."

    St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger completed 15 of his first 16 passes on the way to a 24-for-31, 285-yard effort that included a touchdown. But Bulger committed two costly turnovers in the second half, a fumble recovered for a touchdown and an interception that led to a field goal.

    To make matters worse for the Rams they produced just 30 yards on the ground, the fifth-worst output since the franchise left Las Angeles.

    "We're going to have problems here at the beginning of the year," Martz said. "We just are. We've got to clean some things up, and that stuff just doesn't happen overnight. But we're going to end up being a real good team...There's no question about it."

    Marshall Faulk rushed 12 times for only 20 yards, but managed to score his 132nd career touchdown, which moved him past Cris Carter into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time list.

    "Guys like myself, and guys who have been around and have been in situations like this, we've got to take the younger guys and not let them get down on themselves," Faulk said. "They've got to understand that sometimes this happens in the league. Things can happen going into a hostile environment.

    BRUCE ON RECORD PACE

    One bright spot of Sunday's loss was the play of 31-year-old wideout Isaac Bruce, who hauled in eight catches for 102 yards. After two games, Bruce leads the league in catches (17) and is third in yardage (214). That projects to 136 receptions for 1,712 yards over 16 games.

    His best year came during the 1995 campaign when he caught 119 passes for 1,781 yards.

    The Rams host the Deuce McAllister-less New Orleans Saints (1-1) on Sunday


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is offline Moderator Emeritus
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    Re: Should the Rams be worried?

    While the 242 yards on the ground for the Falcons was indicative of a very poor day for the Rams defense overall, it is not necessarily indicative of a major failing of the "run defense" per se.

    On standard running plays (i.e. handoffs to running backs) the Falcons had 24 carries for 98 yards. The rest came from Michael Vick runs and end arounds by the WRs.

    While giving up 242 yards on the ground is horrible, it would have been worse if it had been on standard running plays (like, for example, the way Carolina amassed over 200 yards on the ground in the playoffs).

    So... right criticism, wrong analysis.

  3. #3
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Should the Rams be worried?

    Good point. On standard running plays, the Rams allowed 4.0 yards per carry. That's not great but it's not horrible. My concern is what the defense allowed the Falcons, specifically TJ Duckett, in garbage time on their last two drives. Duckett rushed for over five yards per carry on the final two Falcons drives, where our defense really should have been stepping up and stopping the run. I'm interested to see what Aaron Stecker does against this defense in the Dome though.
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  4. #4
    evil disco man's Avatar
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    Re: Should the Rams be worried?

    I agree. This is no time to panic, as there are many other 1-1 teams in the league after only two weeks of football. Most teams are rusty and shaking some of that off, and still have time to rebound. It's not exactly a critical point in the season yet. What matters is how each team finishes.

  5. #5
    maineram Guest

    Re: Should the Rams be worried?

    I think that most teams are gonna pound the ball on this young D all season. Just think about it, except for Little, the rest of the starting front seven are babies in this league. Combined starts for this group as a whole isn't much. This D has the potential to really grow together and become a pretty good unit. Let's see how they do when the secondary is back to full strength.
    This is, on the job training, for a lot of this years squad. They'll be OK.

    Maineram :ramlogo:

  6. #6
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Should the Rams be worried?

    Good point, maine. Looking at our schedule, we're going to be going up against a number of talented running backs. This defense needs to step up and show they can handle the pressure.
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  7. #7
    rebel13 Guest

    Re: Should the Rams be worried?

    Aaron Stecker could go for over 200 yards against this porous defense. Bulger could have a passer rating of 102. He could look real good between the 20 yard lines. He could continue to blow up in the red zones....AND the Rams could lose by 20! No, no reason to panic. Let's wait until Martz brings us to 1 and 15. Let's wait until we wear paper bags on our faces. In my opinion, it is past panic time. It is now firing time.

  8. #8
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Re: Should the Rams be worried?

    Your shtick is getting redundant.

  9. #9
    LaRamsFanLongTime Guest

    Re: Should the Rams be worried?

    Quote Originally Posted by rebel13
    It is now firing time.
    I agree, I would start with you. Go root for the Giants that suits you better, as you have proven you are Warner fan b4 a Rams fan. Whiner fans dont post this much garbage about the Rams. I really beleive you would love to see Bulger play terribly so you could be right. If Bulger won the team a SuperBowl you would probably disappear.
    Last edited by LaRamsFanLongTime; -09-23-2004 at 02:52 AM.

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