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  1. #1
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
    [More columns]Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/23/2009

    NFL games are won through the air. The game has changed. Rushing for 3 yards and a punch in the mouth is the equivalent of black-and-white television in a flat-screen, high-definition TV world.

    Roll over, Vince Lombardi.

    We saw this new reality verified again Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome, when the Arizona Cardinals lost starting quarterback Kurt Warner and their offense for the second half. And the Cardinals managed to hold on for a 21-13 victory because the Rams are incapable of putting together a dangerous or consistent passing attack.

    In the first half, Warner pretty much did what he wanted to the Rams defense, completing 15 of 19 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. And Warner's unstoppable passing set up 126 yards worth of first-half rushing (at 8.4 yards a pop) as the Cardinals streaked to a 21-3 lead.


    But Warner got dinged on an Arizona TD drive late in the half, suffered concussion-like symptoms and didn't return. His replacement, Matt Leinart, handed off to the backs, flipped some short passes and avoided doing anything stupid. The Cardinals did not score in the second half.

    On the other side, the Rams had Marc Bulger completing only 19 of 37 passes. He threw a bad interception. He did not throw a touchdown pass. He made a lot of grumpy faces. And he completed only one of four passes in the red zone.

    The Rams continue to squander valuable opportunities to score. This season Bulger has completed only eight of 27 passes in the red zone, and it's no coincidence that the Rams have the NFL's worst red-zone scoring percentage, or that they are averaging only 11.3 points a game.

    Sunday's game offered a nice refresher course on two points:

    To the folks out there who insist that Warner needs great receivers to be successful: Please watch the second half of Sunday's game again and tell me where the Arizona wideouts were. They disappeared. Arizona's offense completely changed when Warner departed. The Cardinals stopped taking chances. The downfield passing attack vanished. The running game turned sluggish. Warner's receivers especially Larry Fitzgerald are spectacular. But do not forget Warner's excellence in getting the rock to them with perfect timing and precision. Warner emboldens Arizona's offense; the team personality changes when he isn't there.

    I'll say it again: The Rams need to draft and develop an elite quarterback, and they must draft and cultivate an elite wide receiver. Without a new pitcher and catcher in place for 2010 and beyond, this team will remain behind the times.

    The top eight passing teams in the NFL have a combined 59-20 record through Sunday. And then you have the Rams, who are stuck in a primordial age of football.

    Steven Jackson is a strong power back. He breaks tackles, piles up yards and has crashed the 1,000-yard barrier for the fifth consecutive season. Since the start of the 2005 season, Jackson is third in the NFL in rushing yards, and he's second in total yards from scrimmage. And despite Jackson's admirable efforts, the Rams are 20-54 over that time.

    The Cardinals, all but laughing at the very notion that the Rams could hurt them in the passing game, brought both safeties up to the line of scrimmage to wrestle with Jackson. And Jackson had to be extra tough in rushing 24 times for 116 yards and a TD. The Cardinals put up a gantlet.

    An NFL team with a respectable passing attack would have burned the Cardinals for having the audacity to brush off the threat of the forward pass.

    But the Cardinals knew they had nothing to worry about with Bulger and this crew of receivers. Bulger had some moments, threw a few impressive strikes in the second half, and he got knocked around quite a bit. He played in pain. That's always worthy of respect. But Bulger finished the game with a putrid passer rating of 57.8. And if Bulger wasn't underthrowing receivers, the receivers were running poor routes, or the QB and the wideouts were having communication issues.

    Unless this changes, Steven Jackson is destined to go down as the Floyd Little of his era. Little a finalist for 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration -- was a superb back who took a beating in donating his valiant career to a losing cause for the Denver Broncos from 1967 through 1975. The Broncos, inept in other areas, went 42-64-5 with Little in the lineup.

    On a day when Jackson clinched his franchise-record fifth consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, he walked out of The Ed with another loss in his gut. The Rams are wasting Jackson's talent.

    All in all it was a disappointing day for the 1-9 Rams. The final score was misleading; without the Warner injury, this is a blowout.

    Coach Steve Spagnuolo and staff weren't sharp. Spagnuolo should have challenged a remarkably poor spot of the ball by the officials on a third-down running play that denied the Rams a first down at the Arizona 22-yard line. The Rams came away with no points. And there were multiple debatable decisions on whether to kick a field goal or go for a first down or touchdown.

    An eight-point loss to a playoff-bound team was a step back for the Rams, who will continue to lose ground until they make a commitment to go airborne by joining the NFL's new world order.

    :ramlogo:

  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Quote Originally Posted by eldfan View Post
    To the folks out there who insist that Warner needs great receivers to be successful: Please watch the second half of Sunday's game again and tell me where the Arizona wideouts were. They disappeared. Arizona's offense completely changed when Warner departed.
    Um... your logic is off there Bernie.

    The second half proved that, even with great WRs, a sub-par QB (Leinart) might not have great success.

    It did not prove that Warner could succeed with sub-par WRs (presumably a reference to the Rams' WRs). The proof of that would be if Warner played without Fitzgerald and Bolding and still lit it up.

  3. #3
    01d 0rd3r's Avatar
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    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Bearnie simply echos a group of people who dont no what they are talking about, or dont actually watch the games, just so he can secure that he has a job from a year to year basis. God forbid he ever right something truthful and honest about the situation, like how bulger is the uncontested leader of this team, or how he completed an unbelievable three 4th down conversion on one drive, or how he is working with a group of young receivers, or maybe how he is working behind a line that lets him get pummeled in 4 and 3 man rush's.

    Looks we all know we need a new qb, but bulger is the best we have. SO how bout the one that dont like him for whatever reason choke down this season and wait until the draft, when in all likeliness we will draft a qb in the 2nd round.

  4. #4
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    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Bernie is an idiot worthy of ignoring. Anyone can complain about 4th down calls, doesn't make you intelligent to find something to complain about after a loss.

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    RamsFanThruItAll!!! is offline Registered User
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    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Bernie is just another idiot who thinks drafting a QB first round is going to solve all the problems. How does this guy have a job talking about sports? I also was thinking the same thing Avenger when i read that the offense stopped in the 2nd half. That had nothing to do with Warner coming out it was who went in for him. If Peyton Manning went in for him in the 2nd half id imagine their numbers wouldve of been about equal

  6. #6
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    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Um... your logic is off there Bernie.

    The second half proved that, even with great WRs, a sub-par QB (Leinart) might not have great success.

    It did not prove that Warner could succeed with sub-par WRs (presumably a reference to the Rams' WRs). The proof of that would be if Warner played without Fitzgerald and Bolding and still lit it up.
    Well, it sort of does validate his point about drafting an elite QB. You can put an average QB with the best WR corps in the NFC and they don't produce in the second half behind that average QB like they did with an elite QB in the first half. According to this, does that mean an elite QB makes things go? Sort of. See how Chris Simms did yesterday with that Broncos offense. Bad scene. At least Orton had them competitive even though they had tailed off.

    Not everyone can get lucky like the Pats and put someone in last year that hadn't played since HS and still make the offense go.

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    tim
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    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Well, it sort of does validate his point about drafting an elite QB. You can put an average QB with the best WR corps in the NFC and they don't produce in the second half behind that average QB like they did with an elite QB in the first half. According to this, does that mean an elite QB makes things go? Sort of. See how Chris Simms did yesterday with that Broncos offense. Bad scene. At least Orton had them competitive even though they had tailed off.

    Not everyone can get lucky like the Pats and put someone in last year that hadn't played since HS and still make the offense go.
    Leinart was the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft. If anything your statement just proves that drafting an "elite QB" (as Leinart supposedly was) is a crapshoot.

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    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    My favorite line in that GARBAGE article:
    On the other side, the Rams had Marc Bulger... He made a lot of grumpy faces.
    Grumpy faces? Really? Wow. Excellent writing Pat.

  9. #9
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    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    Quote Originally Posted by tim View Post
    Leinart was the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft. If anything your statement just proves that drafting an "elite QB" (as Leinart supposedly was) is a crapshoot.
    Drafting anyone is a crapshoot. Drink up folks.....



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    Re: Stone Age attack has Rams grounded

    The game against the Cards is a real measuring stick for where this team is right now ...

    Sure, if Warner had played the rest of the game, it might have been a blowout. Or the coaches for the Rams may have adjusted at the half, it's hard to tell. But with Warner in the game, standing upright, and flinging passes all over the field, the Cardinals are one of the best teams in the league. They've been playing better and better as the season goes on. The Rams don't currently have the personnel and depth on defense to shut down the Cards. And, I would venture to believe, that in 8 out of 10 games with Warner in their, the Cards would walk away with victory ...

    This is because Warner is SPECIAL ...

    You put Leinart in the game, and look what happened. Suddenly, the Cards were ordinary on offense, and the entire team went from being one of the better in the league, to average, or maybe slightly above average ...

    And how did the Rams respond to this? This played that Cardinal team neck and neck in the second half ...

    So, what are the Rams at this point? Probably a below average team, but definitely not a bottom feeder in my opinion. We are a whopping 18 points away from being 5-5 right now. We stood up to an average Cardinals team with Leinart in there. Had Leinart played this whole game, I have no doubt we take it ...

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