TheFieldGoal: Rams Search for Wins
When you're playing for a franchise that has been the leagues worst overall the last three seasons,
winning a total of six games. As a rookie quarterback you have a tendency to scare the fanbase because of all the question marks.
In Sam Bradford's case it was big money and huge expectations.
The Rams at 1-15 last season gave this number one pick the keys to the corvette.
Sam Bradford created a buzz in the preseason outings and that excited the Rams diehards. But the reality for this
young man and team is that they are heading up a creek minus a paddle. That's not to say better days aren't ahead.
But to speculate that the Rams will extinguish their winless streak anytime soon or produce a winning season is a stretch.
Coach Spags arrived in St Louis, promising to flip this dreadful franchise into a perennial contender.
Instead so far, its been more of the same.
The Sam Bradford Era began with the future looking bright on Opening Sunday versus the NFCWest Champion Cardinals.
In his outing he threw 55 passes- the third highest total in franchise history. Bradford was 32 of 55 for 253 yards and
three interceptions. Bradford looked good in a one yard touchdown pass to Laurent Robinson on the final play of the half
to tie the game at 10.
The Rams held Larry Fitzgerald at bay with good solid coverage from Ronald Bartell, until about six minutes
to play when he caught a 21 yard touchdown pass to help the sloppy Cards to a win. The defense had good pass
rushes and sacked Derek Anderson twice with contributions by Robbins and Ah You.The defense held the Cards to
12 yards rushing before a breakaway 76 yard drive.
The Cards lost four fumbles and without Kurt Warner & Antuan Boldin, the Cards did not look like NFC West Champions.
Fitzgerald stated after the game," We've got a ways to go." The Rams ended up losing 17-13 and their eighth straight
against the former city tenants and 15th against NFC West competition. Steven Jackson added after the game, " You
can't expect him (Sam Bradford) to just turn things around in one day. But he's made huge strides and he is going
in the right direction".
Sam Bradford commented after the game," Obviously,I'm disappointed about the loss". Steven Jackson one of the
NFL's elite backs, was 22 for 81 yards. Jackson was happy to see the fanbase excited," It was good to have the
crowd behind us. But when a team is making mistakes we have to be able to capitalize on it".
The loss was the Rams 14th straight in a row at the Edward Jones Dome. The brightest spot besides Bradford was
the latest acquisition from the Ravens in wide reciever Mark Clayton. Clayton had a career game against the Cards
with 10 receptions for 119 yards. With no Donny Avery or other receivers, this is a team without weapons. Clayton
is solid but not a threat to opponents. And that has the fanbase worried for their young quarterback's future.
It was on to Oakland for the second week of the season, to face the Raiders coming off a bad outing in Tennessee.
And hoping to rebound.The trip west meant an opportunity to finish what they could not do at home. The Rams
needed all the defense they could get, because the offense is lacking a receiving group. As with any story, we do
not know the ending or factors to the ending until the whole story is read. Well in Oakland the start was a good
indication of how important every point is to a team that has no fire power.
In the first half, the Rams & Raiders missed makable field goals by kickers Josh Brown and Sebastian Janikowski
from 36 and 46 yards respectively These outcomes would be the deciding factor whether each won or lost.
It came down to the Brown missed field goal and maybe that could have been the difference for the Rams to
leave the Black Hole with a win.
Oakland started Jason Campbell, who struggled in a 38-13 season opening game against the Titans and was
8 of 15 for 87 yards and an interception while trailing 7-3 was pulled in favor of Bruce Gradkowski. Campbell
stated he was surprised at Coach Cable's decision.
Bruce Gradkowski came in and completed a 26 yard pass to Murphy and that set up a 41 yard Janikowski field goal
and cut the Rams lead to 7-6. Gradkowski stated," They called my number and i just said I'm just going to do my thing."
The Oakland quarterback decision ensured a desperate win.
Sam Bradford was conservative with only four passes to wide recievers in the first half. Bradford finally got the Rams
started after Jerome Murphy intercepted a pass with just four minutes remaining and the Rams trailing 16-7.Just 47
seconds later Bradford hit Clayton on a 17 yard touchdown to make it 16-14. A personal foul on Fred Robbins, the Rams
4th of the game, and a 13 yard pass from Bruce Gradkowski to Murphy on 3rd and 7th helped the Raiders run the
clock for the win. Robbins after the game stated," You have to play a little smarter. We were killing ourselves we
had a few penalties on a few big drives and it hurt us."
Sam Bradford threw two touchdown passes to Mark Clayton but was unable to get the offense moving for the
second half as the Rams lose for the 27th time in 28 games. And the 12th in a row against AFC opponents.
Sam commented after the loss," In this football league,you have to play a full game." Then added," You cannot come
out and play a half and expect to win." The Rams came out flat in the second half and it showed their undiscipline
side with the unnecessary penalties.
As Sam Bradford evolves, so will the Rams. But it is imperative that they get a wide receiver that can help spread
the field with Mark Clayton. The Rams desperately need a deep threat. Defensively, the Rams are decent enough to
stay in close games as long as the offense is producing scores.
Coach Spags stated in the postgame conference after the Cards game, " It's not good enough to say we played hard.
We got to win."
And that is the rookie quarterback's number one priority. A tough task with no weapons to help you. The Redskins
will not be very caring to the Rams mishaps. Let's hope Sam Bradford gets better each week.
Re: TheFieldGoal: Rams Search for Wins
Well said. Good article. Rams just have been really unlucky of late, but we have got to put teams away. We cannot call conservative offense, miss field goals, and give up penalties when it counts.
Im hoping for a better outcome against the Redskins.