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Rams lose 19-16 in OT to whiners; The Good, Bad and Ugly

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  • Rams lose 19-16 in OT to whiners; The Good, Bad and Ugly

    The Todd Gurley-less Rams finished their season 7-9 with a disappointing OT loss to the whiners by the score of 19-16 on the strength of terrible third down play on both sides of the ball, untimely penalties, terrible field goal kicking and some highly suspect play calling with the team poised to win the game in overtime. The Rams shortcomings against a 5-11 couldnt have been more obvious today. At the end of the day, Case Keenum is not an NFL starting qb, albeit a reasonable backup. Way too many missed opportunities, and without todd gurley, and with all of our injuries on defense, we arent close to good enough to simply have a qb who is going to avoid mistakes at all costs, afraid to make throws. Toss in some untimely drops by our receivers and at least one terrible call by the refs that obviously cost us 3 points at the minimum, and you find a way to lose a game that we all know we should have won. No points in the second half and overtime, 16 points total, 7 effectively coming from the defense. That is a pretty pathetic performance, no two ways about it. Allowing 458 yards of offense to a team that is even worse than us offensively is also nothing to be proud of. The Rams today remind us exactly why we are all so frustrated with the Fisher era. Great one week with a superior performance on the road against seattle, and then simply lousy and undisciplined the next week in a game that we had no excuse losing even without gurley. 7-9 is well below expectations and the Rams are left wondering where they are going to play next year, what free agents we can sign to bolster our defense, offensive line and wide receivers, and most importantly, how we intend to figure out a way to score points.


    The Good

    Benny was our best guy on offense today. Some key runs, including the long burst to get us a field goal before half and a couple of critical catches, along with his usual excellent blocking.

    Tavon had some nice runs and a handful of nice short gains on bubble screens, but he continues to fail to get open down the field with any kind of consistency and when he does, he fails to show any inclination to make the tough catches.

    Nice long catch by britt early, who was so open that if the ball had been on time it was a sure td. Underthrown of course by keenum.

    Trumaine had a nice pass breakup on 4th and 4, but did not play his best game (even though he had 10 tackles)
    THe offensive line allowed NO SACKS again!! If i told you at the start of the year that the Rams would allow the fewest sacks in the NFL, i bet you would have thought that we would have done better than 7-9.
    Nice to see chris long get a sack (our only one of the game however)

    Despite allowing all the yards, the defense kept the whiners out of the end zone (0-4 in red zone), some of which was luck and some of which was solid play.

    The drive in OT was nice, until we blew the fg and had some horrible play calling at the end of it (see below).

    We did not turn the ball over on offense and actually had 21 first downs. We had 98 yards rushing in the first half, but completely got away from running in the second half, finishing with 133 yards on the ground, some of which came in OT.

    I am too disappointed to add some other individual nice plays because for just about every nice play, there was also a screw up by the same player. When you lose a game like this to a terrible team despite the momentum, its natural to focus on the bad.

    Best play of the day, donald deflection, simms INT and 42 yard run back to 3 yard line. Mason managed to get into the end zone for our one td, and after the long run by benny and an actual field goal by zuerlein, we led 16-10 at half and things were looking up.

    The fake punt was a good play and a nice throw. THe refs missed one of the most obvious interference calls of the year. The whiner player pushed marquez completely off his route with the ball in the air. I cant believe that no other ref saw it if the one guy on top of the play didnt realize it wasnt a punt.


    The Bad

    Mason fumble. Inexcusable. Havenstein fell on it. Mason is a different species of running back than gurley. We are simply not the same team without gurley, no burst in running game.

    Field goal kicking cost us another game. 52 yarder that was not even close. Blocked fg in OT, hard to blame zuerlein on that since we decided not to block the guy rushing the field goal, i blame the play calling (see below).

    Keenum missed countless open receivers because he is either inaccurate or afraid to throw the ball. Game manager is one thing. You still need to have enough confidence to throw to open guys, especially on 3rd down. Keenum makes some throws, just not enough to be a starting qb. He wound up 22-38-231 and frankly he was not that good. He had receivers open all game long and had some brutal misses, including britt for the td early and a wide open cook on a critical third and short in the 4th quarter. He had quick at the goal line and midfield in the 4th and threw way too high both times (quick could of course have caught the ball in the 4th, he just does not appear to be able to make the big catch). He is simply overthinking things and given his proclivity for calling audibles, how about an audible once a game when the other team has 10 guys in the box and the game on the line and the other team hasnt hit you once all game. Just a little rollout or something to try and win the game (more on play calling in ugly section below).

    Way too many drops out of the receivers. Britt, tavon, cook.

    Terrible on third down on offense 3-14, just pathetic. Terrible on 3rd down on defense, allowing 8-18 conversions several of which were 3rd and long against an offense that is just about the worst in the nfl. janoris beat for 30 on a 3rd and 10 in the 4th. Trumaine stupid penalty on 3rd and 12. Too many to recount here. We simply couldnt get off the field on third down against a terrible offense. Our own third down problems are on of our obvious defects, but you dont expect the defense to do that poorly against that weak whiners offense.

    Countless missed tackles on defense against both the run and pass. We allowed just about the worst offense in the nfl to gain 458 yards against us (350 in the air, 44 throws only one sack). THink about that. Sure, we only allowed 19 points, but an awful lot of that was due to complete ineptitude by the whiners. We had one sack all game and we rarely got pressure. All of a sudden the whiners have an offensive line that can block our pass rush? Really? 31 yard screen pass on 3rd and 11. 48 yard run up middle on 3rd and 3. I could go on and on but won't for my own sanity.

    Incredibly stupid penalties again 11-105, including a hit on the knees by hayes in OT that had a 100% chance of being called and put them right on the cusp of field goal range. Two major penalties on bates. Foolish plays to kill us in field position. Note that our offensive line had i believe no holding penalties all game, our only holding penalty was on quick negating a long run. The offensive line has a ways to go, but it certainly improved. I have been on barnes all year, but rhaney came in for one play and false started. That was our only false start of the game.

    I can not wait until Boldin retires. He killed us yet again. I think he pushed off on the Td against janoris, but no matter, he got open time and again, including a huge play when gabbert somehow managed to avoid a sack and fling a ball out to him 20 yards down the field.

    hekker had a 68 yard punt at the end of regulation.


    The UGLY

    The play by play guy was the worst we have had all year. THree examples. CHad Bradford, Jermaine Johnson and Rekker, the all pro punter. I appreciate this was essentially a dog game that CBS got stuck with, but the guy was flat our awful.

    THe missed INT call on the fake punt was ugly in the extreme by the entire crew.

    Our play calling in the overtime once we were in field goal range was ugly in the extreme. THe Rams are in position with a second and short for about a 45 yard field goal. The Leg is obviously not 100% physically and he has struggled all year from that distance. It was by no means a chip shot. The whiners on consecutive plays have 10 guys at the line of scrimmage and we are killing them in the air. The only time we are not completing passing is when one of our guys drops a ball or keenum misses. We are not getting pressured, let alone sacked. How about trying to win the game instead of settling for a tough fg with two plays that went backwards by 4 yards. How about a little rollout and throw to the tight end (which worked well in the first half until we got away from it). How about the bubble screen. How about a little slant? We played not to lose on those last two plays and we lost anyway. Counting on the Leg from that distance was just stupid conservative. Its not like you are giving the ball to gurley who can break one, and even with gurley in the game, you had a perfect chance for play action and safe pass to get yourself into easy field goal range. Even a qb bootleg rollout, just anything other that two handoffs up the middle. I thought Boras didnt call a bad game, the errors were over and over on the execution side as we had over receivers, we just couldnt make plays which is of course a big part of our problem since its very hard to win when you really cant score any points on offense. We are 7-8 in overtime in week 17 and he is playing for a 47 yard field goal with an injured and erratic kicker (note how lousy his kickoffs were again this week)? You have got to be kidding me, that is simply ugly and not something to be proud of. The game should have been over. Of course, we should have won the game anyway on the field goal, but my real point here is how badly we have struggled all year with field goals right in the 50 yard range. We have lost 3 games by my count because we could not make a 50 yard field goal with the game on the line so how in the world do we rely on that in OT when we had tremendous odds in our favor given how they were stacking the box and given how good the pass protection was all game and given how well we moved the ball in the air on the last drive.

    Not blocking a guy rushing the field goal kicker with the game on the line is ugly. I dont know how in the world in week 17 we miss that from a scheme perspective.


    SUMMARY

    Well, its on to the off season. A win today would have left us at 8-8, a disappointment and hardly anything to jump up and down about, but it would have meant a 4 game winning streak and an improvement. At the end of the day, there is no real difference in my view between 7-9 and 8-8 (i guess the bright side is we get a better draft pick), but to continue to play down to the level of our opponent, continue to lose games that we should win, continue to blow opportunities, continue to have only one consistent element to the fisher era, which is consistent inconsistency is beyond frustrating. I am not getting hysterical here, its an emotional moment and a depressing end to the season, i really wanted to win this game and we effectively had the game won, but found a way to lose, and this time, it was not against a quality team.

    The bottom line is this. I dont know how as a coach fisher reconciles beating seattle twice and arizona on the road with losing to baltimore, sf and chicago, three lousy teams. The pittsburgh and minnesota losses were games we should have won (kendricks drop vs pitt and the missed field goal vs minny), but we had no business playing close games down to the wire with baltimore and the whiners and failing to show up at home against chicago (after our best opening drive of the year) is simply mysterious in the extreme. If the Rams are going to take the next step, we all know that we need some important personnel improvements. But we also need to find a way to beat the teams we are supposed to beat, home or road, and not simply play not to lose on the road or said another way, just try to hang around with hyper conservative play calling and try to win on a late 4th quarter field goal. The Rams have the capacity to play with and beat the best teams in the league and they have shown repeatedly the capacity to play down to the level of and lose to the worst teams in the league. That my friends is the fundemental defintion of mediocity, and that is exactly what the Rams are. Mediocre at best with upside and downside, but really limited upside if we dont fix the offensive line (at least in the running game), the qb position, the receiver position, and retain our key guys on defense.

    Enjoy the offseason everyone, i think i need a break. Not going onto the avenger plan, but need to calm down after my temper tantrum in front of my daughters in the fourth quarter and overtime as we were giving away a game that absolutely should have been won.


    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel
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