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Rams blown out by Bengals 31-7; The Ugly, bad and good

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  • Rams blown out by Bengals 31-7; The Ugly, bad and good

    The Rams lost their fourth game in a row today getting blown out on the road by the Bungholes in an ugly 31-7 loss that was really not as close as the score indicated. Remember when the Rams were 4-3 with the manageable part of the schedule ahead and 10-6 and a playoff spot seemed like at least a realistic possibility? Nothing more than a distant memory from a galaxy long ago and far, far away. I can guarantee everyone that Coach Fisher had no plans to throw 53 passes in a game this season, but thats what happens when you have absolutely no ability to block inside, completely eliminating the usefulness of your superstar running back. Throw in no functional pass rush, a playoff quality opponent, and qb play that is a travesty of a sham of a mockery, and you have a good description of the Rams performance today. I think most of us realized at the start of the season that this was not likely to be a win, but while the Rams hung with the Bengals for a half, they got blown away in the second half in a game that got ugly very quickly. The Rams are playing out the string, there is really not much more to be said at this point. What is the appropriate balance between playing guys to see what they have vs. playing our more experienced guys? Good debate topic for the board, but at this point, is there any downside in playing Mannion? The Rams are 4-7, moving backwards at an alarming rate, and have Arizona up next. I guess you never know when the Rams will show up and play a great game, but the decimation of injuries on the offensive line seems to make any winning streak a highly unlikely scenario.

    The Ugly

    We had no pass rush at all today. Dalton completely picked us apart, and we never got close to sacking him, let alone getting in his face to disrupt him. We flushed him once that led to a nice INT by Janoris, but today you saw what happens when you have a quality offensive line. The Rams really miss Quinn and there is no question that Long is about done (at least for the year), but we are blitzing and not getting there and when that occurs, bad things are going to happen. Dalton finished 20-27-233 3tds and the one INT for a rating of 121.4 and that was effectively in 2 and a half quarters because the game was into garbage time by the middle of the third. If you dont get a pass rush in the NFL, you really cant play defense. Aaron donald has been fantastic all year, but he had only three quiet tackles today and no pass rush and that just means that the bengals have talented guys, a solid scheme and knew how to game plan for him.

    We had no blocking at all today in the run game. Excluding the long tavon run, we had about 16 carries for 3o yards. Gurley had 9 carries for 19 yards and no chance at all. With Saffold and brown out and havenstein active but not playing, we had rhaney and wickman at guards and barnes at center. No holes of any kind. We have to be the worst team right now in the nfl right up the middle on the o line and with robinson a disaster at left tackle, i cant imagine anyone has more problems at offensive line that the rams right now. No secret guys, the Rams will go as far as the offensive line takes them (there, i said it for the 1,000th time) and right now the offensive line is not functional in the run game and that is what our team is built to do. We need a lot of help on the offensive line next year. I continue to believe that Tim Barnes is the single worst starting player in the nfl, especially considering he is not starting because someone else is hurt. He beat out barrett jones and rhaney, imagine how bad those two must have been. This was completely forseable and i put the disaster at center on fisher and snead. The robinson situation may well be part of what hangs fisher and snead, but i defy anyone to tell me that they wouldnt have made that pick and didnt think he would be an excellent player in time. His complete regression this year is beyond comprehension. His play is just ugly at this point. He had only one holding penalty this week, but that should be enough to maintain his league lead and unfortunately, that holding penalty eliminated any ability for me to achieve my pre game goal for the Rams of scoring more td's than robinson got holding penalties.

    Do we ever cover the tight end? We blitz over and over, get no pass rush, and leave the tight end uncovered and its killing us week after week. Not just the td's, but the key throws when the game is actually within reach. Is williams aware of the screen pass or do we just give up 50 yard plays every week against it? If you arent getting pressure by blitzing, whats the point of blitzing, at least play coverage.

    I dont understand the defensive scheme covering all pro aj green. You have janoris, who is a pro bowl guy. You put him on green one on one all game long. How is green covered by mcleod and laurinaitis in the red zone? How is that even possible? On the first td, the rams had an ugly coverage bust, janoris obviously thought he had help, someone was badly in the wrong place.

    The roughing the punter penalty on Reynolds was really ugly at a key point in the game. Instead of off the field and the rams getting good field position, they get a first down and ten plays later kick a field goal to make it 10-0 (which in a rams game is like 21-0 in most games).

    What in the world is gurley doing in the game with 6 minutes or so left in a 31-7 game? He proceeds to get injured, albeit minor, and fisher brings him back in on the next play? The game was completely over. What is the point of having gurley in the game other than taking a preposterous risk that he hurts a knee and we lose every game for the rest of the season and who knows what it does to our future. Fisher talks about ideally getting gurley 20 carries and mason 15 (assuming of course that mason does not miss the team bus). If you want balance out of your guys to not wear out gurley, how can you possibly put him at risk in a 31-7 game. Frankly, mannion should have been in sooner for experience, but leaving your superstar on the field in that situation is gross negligence in the extreme.

    Consecutive false starts before a punt? Alexander and Roberson. Really?

    I am saving the best for last in the ugliest of all category. Nick Foles is simply horrible. We are down ten, driving for a potential td right before half and he throws into double coverage for cook who was not remotely open. INT, end of momentum, disaster. He threw a pick 6 that was so bad that there are no words to describe it. He threw a third int and sure, the game was already over (probably even before the pick six), but the throw was awful (albeit abetted by horrible blocking by robinson who got him hit). Here is the thing that is killing me. The Rams threw 53 passes today. They had no run blocking, but the offensive line allowed a total of ONE SACK in 53 passes. Foles has no capability of any kind to make the reads let alone throw accurately when a guy gets within five feet of him. He is absolutely awful, a travesty of a sham of a mockery of a debacle of a disgrace. 30-46-228 and a rating of 49.9 and he was actually way worse than that as plenty of those yards and plenty of our 19 first downs were in garbage time. When the game was on the line, he was his worst. Foles simply is not playing remotely like an NFL qb right now and its not all on the offensive line. I would start keenum, but at the first sign of trouble, i am willing to give mannion a shot. I dont see what we have to lose and keenum is not a long time answer. Mannion may not be either, and you can expect plenty of rookie bumps and bruises, but at this point of the season, so what? The Rams need to determine what the answer is at qb for next year, one of the two key questions we face (the other being who is going to coach). I want to know if Mannion shows upside to be the answer in the future or are we completely back at square one. For those that missed the game, mannion was 6-7 for 31 yards playing only the last drive.

    Fisher calls time out with 8 seconds left in the game to let mannion throw a 5 yard pass, not even heave one into the end zone? Really? I appreciate that he doesnt want to quit, but the game was long over at that point, time to go home or at least let the kid throw it deep.


    The Bad

    Hard to distinguish from the ugly in this game so i wont say much here.
    Too many long runs allowed up the middle, with Laurinaitis getting blocked completely out of the play.
    Cook had one drop today, just to make it an official ram game. I defy anyone to identify a Ram game over the last two years that didnt have either a cook drop or a robinson holding penalty.
    Not hekkers best game, he was worse than the numbers looked (45.5 average)


    The good

    Tavon had 99 total yards, including the highlight of the day, a 60 yard run off a handoff from gurley out of the wildcat. He then ran 7 yards for a td. He also had a 7 yard catch where he made about 8 guys missed, running about 25 yards across the field to turn a big loss into a 7 yard game. He didnt drop anything or fumble today.

    The Janoris int was a nice play, he also did a nice job covering green down the field on a long pass.

    The Rams actually completed a couple of slants today, a borderline miracle, including a couple to britt was first downs. Britt had 6 catches for 63, some of which was in garbage time, but one nice route and catch on the big drive pre halftime before foles threw the killer int. Cook had 4 catches for 58 and actually was open a few times and foles actually hit him a couple of times with nice throws on plays that should be working 6 times a week every single week that we typically can never execute on (including a nice 16 yard catch on an early 3rd and 10).

    Nice play by master bates in the end zone breaking up a pass and nearly getting his feet down for the INT.

    The new kicker made his extra point and kicked both kickoffs into the end zone. Who knows if the leg will be back next week, i assume so.

    Nice forced fumble by roberson in the 3rd after the long screen pass but unfortunately, the ball bounced right to eiffert before barron could fall on it. A td pass followed promptly thereafter making it 24-7 and effectively ending the game, even before the pick six put the fork in it and made it 31-7.

    The statistics were pretty meaningless in this game (we had 19 first downs and 345 total yards and 6-15 on 3rd down) because plenty of those numbers were achieved in garbage time and after the bengals took their foot off the gas.

    I like welker. He had two catches (garbage time only), he catches what gets thrown near him. Thought i would add that point, even though i am clearly reaching for anything good to say.

    As bad as the offensive line was today trying to run the ball, allowing only one sack in 53 pass attempts has to qualify as good on at least some level.

    Barron had 10 tackles, laurinaitis had 9.


    SUMMARY

    The Rams saw today what a playoff team looks like. Watching the Rams, its incredible to believe that anyone ever thought this team was going anywhere, and while the injuries to quinn, long and the offensive line have obviously hurt us badly, every team has injuries and we are no longer putting an nfl caliber product on the field. The qb situation is out of hand and since we cant run block, that means we have no offense. The defense is a good nfl defense, but it hasnt been completely lock down championship caliber win without any offense good and we are now playing without quinn, tree and Trumaine who missed today with the thigh. It's getting harder and harder to see how fisher is going to be back next year, but the season isnt over of course and who knows what Rams team will show up next week against arizona. One thing i know for sure, if we dont play a TON better than we played today, the results are going to be the same and we will get run out of the building by an excellent cardinals team that would love revenge for our early season win against them. They will be geared up to stop gurley and austin, and that is really all you need to do these days against the Rams and their pathetic qb and swiss cheese offensive line.

    I really believe that the season ended with the Bears game. The fisher era has been marked not just by inconsistency and countless penalties (we lead the nfl in penalties during his regime), but by completely terrible performances in games we should have won. Today was not one of those games, but it was a game that we failed to put forth a competitive performance and that is simply not acceptable. We saw today how far we really have to go and it is just so hard to see how it will be achievable to get to that level with our current qb and offensive line situation.


    Ramming speed to all

    General Counsel
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