Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

RamView - From the Couch

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • RamView - From the Couch

    RamView, October 3, 2004

    From the Couch

    (Report and opinions on the game.)

    Game 4: Rams 24, ***** 14



    The Rams show their mettle by steamrolling the ***** in a must-win game.



    Bright spots: Isaac Bruce makes more history; Mike Martz rediscovers offensive balance.



    Position by position:

    * QB: Marc Bulger had a superb game (17-25-186), getting most of his numbers in the first half as the Rams rolled up a big lead. He made two big third down plays on the Rams' first TD drive. On 3rd-and-10 from midfield, he hit Torry Holt with an awesome pass for 17. He put it up high for Torry, who was running to the sideline, and nobody was catching that but #81. On 3rd-and-8 from the SF 30, Bulger hung tough in the pocket, then moved up a little and spotted Isaac Bruce all alone downfield for 20. Five runs later, the Rams go up 7-0. Another superb pass put the Rams up 14-0 after a Tim Rattay fumble. Bulger rolled right with a very solid pocket around him and threw a difficult but perfect pass to Shaun MacDonald running along the very back of the end zone. Marc next drove the Rams to a FG, beating 49er blitzes with quick passes to Holt and Bruce. He then beat another one, doing a great job finding Marshall Faulk and hitting him with a deft and quick screen pass that went for 25. Last thing for Marc to do in the half was finish it off with another TD drive. He let a blitzing DB bounce off him and hit Bruce for 15 to convert a 3rd-and-4, and hit Ike for 23 more the next play, followed by 8 to Kevin Curtis to eventually set up a Steven Jackson TD. Marc's work for the night was basically done at halftime; he wasn't asked to play a big role with the Rams substantially ahead. But he did excellent work. He threw very accurately, made good plays to avoid sacks and engineered 7:30 and 5:30 scoring drives. Real field-general qualities from Marc tonight, who delivered a big performance in a must-win game for his team, on the road, no less.



    * RB: Hard, tough running proved the theme for the contest. The key player of the Rams' first drive was an unlikely candidate: Joey Goodspeed. But it was Goodspeed who delivered the big block on Marshall Faulk's 14-yard run across midfield. After the Rams get inside the 10, it's Goodspeed who pushes Faulk and two 49er defenders for a 6-yard gain. Joey then surprisingly gets his number called on 4th-and-goal from the 2, and responds by punching in his first career TD. Goodspeed's performance tonight was easily the best by a Ram fullback since James Hodgins' departure. Faulk capitalized on the excellent blocking of his fullback, and his line, for 146 total yards, 23-121 rushing, seven plays over 10 yards. Up 14-0, Marshall's 14-yard run and 25-yard screen reception set up Steven Jackson (10-46) to deliver some punishment. Jackson got 9 behind awesome blocking on the left side, and six more behind Goodspeed the next play to get the Rams down to the one. And on one of those plays, 49er DB Mike Rumph broke his arm across Steven's leg trying to tackle him. Ouch, baby. Very ouch. The Rams briefly forgot about tough running, though, and wound up settling for a FG. Steven danced on 2nd-and-goal instead of putting his head down, and Jeff Ulbrich met him for a 2-yard loss. Jackson made up for that by finishing the half with a 2-yard TD, the first of his career, to put the Rams up 24-0. Faulk started that drive by getting the corner (courtesy of Goodspeed) and tiptoeing up the sideline for 11 on a sweep left. The game's longest run was Jackson's 24-yarder in the 3rd, a splendid play all around. It's a delay handoff designed to let the ***** blitz their way into trouble, which they do. Jackson makes a nice cutback and gets manly blocks from Brandon Manumaleuna on the back side, Andy McCollum tying up two Niners, and Isaac Bruce throwing his weight around downfield. That didn't actually lead to a score. But Faulk's speed combined with Jackson's power combined with the physicality of Jackson, Goodspeed and the Ram offensive line were decisive factors in demoralizing the 49er defense tonight.



    * WR: Torry Holt donned the tutu on Monday Night Football, but it was Isaac Bruce (7-100) who proved too too tough for the ***** yet again tonight. Six of Ike's catches were for first downs, including big 3rd down catches deep in 49er territory on two of the TD drives. I don’t think Ike had anyone close to him on any of his catches. He has been just magical this season at finding weak spots in coverage. And with tonight's performance, he became the first receiver since 1963 to start a season with 4 100-yard games. Incredible. Holt was kind of quiet, just 3 catches for 28, but his first got the Rams a big first down en route to their first TD. Shaun McDonald caught a TD after Frisco's first turnover, and a Kevin Curtis catch late in the half set up the Rams' last TD. "Festus" (see Cheers) put about 12 moves on Ahmed Plummer to get the first down on that play, but kid, it was under 2:00; get out of bounds. Rams had to use a timeout after that play. The Rams had a very effective and diverse passing game tonight; Bulger found seven different receivers, and the Rams had almost 170 passing yards at halftime. Those'll be good trends to keep.



    * Offensive line: The run blocking star besides Goodspeed was Adam Timmerman. Just like in the win over the Big Dead, it was Adam pulling left and clobbering somebody over and over again, leading to big run after big run for Faulk. He was very involved in most of Faulk's long runs, springing Faulk for 14 in the 2nd and delivering a big block on a 12-yard run in the 3rd. Timmerman stood out, but the whole offensive line was dominating tonight. There were runs where you couldn't tell where the right side of the 49er defensive line went, thanks to Timmerman's pull blocks and dominating left-side play by Orlando Pace and Scott Tercero (in his first career start). The line delivered clutch play on Bulger's 3rd-down completions on the first TD drive. They neutralized a 4-man rush on the completion to Holt. On the key completion to Bruce, the line picked off blitzing Julian Peterson, and Faulk picked off a blitzing DB, to give Bulger time to throw. Bulger's pass protection was solid all night; he wasn't sacked and was only seriously pressured a couple of times. No surprise the Rams won after a game this dominating from the offensive line.



    * Defensive line/LB: A no-play defense up until now, the Rams came up with some big-play defense tonight. They barely slowed the ***** on the first drive of the game, as Frisco got inside the Ram 30 before somebody decided it might be a good idea to press their receivers. Jerametrius Butler knocked down a 1st down pass, and on 3rd down, Pisa Tinoisamoa blitzed over the *****' backup center for the first of three Ram sacks. The next drive, news flash, IT'S A TURNOVER. Tommy Polley came on a blitz and collared Tim Rattay, causing the ball to pop loose from his ****ed-back hand. Leonard Little recovered that for the Rams' FIRST turnover of the season. Tony Hargrove drew a stupid penalty for the second straight week, though we never saw the infraction on TV. He was called for roughing Rattay on a play where good downfield coverage had forced the QB to the sidelines to throw the ball away. What a stupid penalty, assuming it was legit. The Rams actually played well against the run, limiting San Francisco to 58 yards. Little, Hargrove and Ryan Pickett all made good run stops in the first half. Pickett probably had the best stop of the game, stuffing Kevan Barlow for a four-yard loss on a first-and-goal from the 5 in the 3rd. Little had his best game of the year. Up 17-0, his good pressure on 3rd-and-4 forced an incompletion and a Frisco 123-kick. The ***** crossed midfield on their first second half possession, but Little blew up the middle on a stunt and sacked Rattay to put Frisco out of FG position. It looks like the Ram defense really got "coached up" in the wake of two weeks of embarrassing play. They missed very few tackles. The pass rush really died off with San Francisco in the hurry-up the whole second half, but they still kept Rattay nervous, and they deflected or knocked down a bushel load of passes, something they hadn't been doing all year. Bryce Fisher knocked down the 2-point try after Frisco's first TD. Pickett nearly deflected one to himself for an interception. With the ***** inside the 5 in the 4th, Damione Lewis (who is becoming more and more a disruptive force) batted down a pass, and on 4th-and-goal, he hustled over to help Butler and Rich Coady stop what had looked like a wide open pass in the flat for Terry Jackson. The kind of hustle and pursuit the Ram defense seemed to be lacking so far this season. With the team in big need of a win, it was good to see the front seven finally pick up its play. Now, to sustain that effort against teams better than San Francisco…



    * Secondary: When they weren't being directed to lay a mile off receivers and passively let Rattay complete passes in front of them, the Ram secondary made some plays. Jerametrius Butler got the Rams' second turnover by intercepting a Rattay lollipop intended for Cedric Wilson. Excellent coverage; Butler looked like the intended receiver. Rich Coady had an explosive series in the 3rd. He defended a pass, drilled Terry Jackson a couple of plays later to force a fumble (***** recovered) and blitzed and knocked down the pass the play after that. And Butler and Coady made a 4th-down stop of Jackson at the 2 to stop a Niner drive in the 4th. However, Butler gave up a TD to Curtis Conway through soft coverage, and Kevin Garrett gave another to rookie Rashaun Woods. Garrett was probably the worst tackler of the night to boot. And nobody appeared to have any clue on how to cover TE Eric Johnson, who was open all night to the tune of 10 catches for 113, three third-down conversions, three second-and-long conversions and a FOURTH-AND-13 conversion. Find the freaking guy, huh? Rattay's 299 yards look good, but the ***** played hurry-up the whole second half, and the Rams' passive scheme appeared intended to allow a lot of catches. Neither the numbers nor the scheme appear to be fair indicators of the secondary's talent.



    * Special teams: The Rams survived a rare off-night from Jeff Wilkins. He pulled a chippie 33-yard FG left in the 4th, and his kickoffs got shorter as the night went on, causing coverage, which started the night well, to suffer. Spend too much time in wine country this weekend, Wilkie? Rest of special teams did well, including punts (Landeta averaged 45.7), punt coverage, and Mike Furrey looking good on kick returns.



    * Coaching/discipline: Better late than never, I guess. Mike Martz re-discovered the running game this week, running 4 of the first 5 plays and 9 times out of 14 plays on the first TD drive. Nothing but runs the first time they got inside the 20. Was Martz just messing with the *****' minds with that "fast and furious" tirade last week? The handoff to Goodspeed for the first TD was an underappreciated good call. It's a great call in that situation, but certainly not in Martz's tendencies to hand off to the fullback. Please note that the Rams settled for a FG in the second after having first-and-goal from a foot out and going pass, run, pass, however… Martz's run-pass ratio was nearly 60-40 (tomorrow's headline: Martz neglecting Bulger). I call that disciplined coaching, and his players appeared to play very disciplined ball. No turnovers, and only 5 penalties, and that includes Tony Hargrove's weekly stupid penalty and Steven Jackson's weekly stupid special teams penalty. It didn't look like the defense missed a tackle until late in the third quarter. Shoot, it looks like Mike got something fixed for a change… Hallelujah for Larry Marmie's defense finally forcing a couple of turnovers, but this soft coverage garbage has got to stop. The ***** walked up and down the field with the Ram DBs laying back, but got stopped when the DBs got to play press coverage. More of that, less of the marshmallow-soft Peter Giunta stuff, please. On San Fran's first TD, it's 2nd-and-goal from the 9, and Butler is SIX yards off of Curtis Conway. I can stay with Curtis Conway for 9 yards, surely Butler can, too. And what kind of defense can't hold a TE under 100 yards? But this was the best tackling game of the season, so credit where it's due… I can't go a whole week without criticizing a coach, though, so allow me a rip at the chickensh!t coaching of Dennis Erickson. Instead of trying a 48-yard FG at the end of the opening drive, Erickson calls a punt from the Ram 31. It was 4th-and-15, so going for it wasn't an option, but, as TMQ would ask, why are you punting? Trust your defense and go for the figgie. Punt ricochets into the endzone for a touchback and an 11-yard net. It was the first possession of the game, but The Couch boldly wrote "game over" in his notebook anyway, and I suspect TMQ did, too…



    * Upon further review: For the fifth time in six years, a Rams-at-***** game was refereed by one of two Bay Area native referees. Fortunately, it was Bill Leavy this time around instead of the miserable Tony Corrente (who refereed in Oakland last week). This was a fairly well-called game, though Tinoisamoa was held so badly on the Jackson catch en route to Frisco's first TD he got his whole jersey untucked. A Ram lineman was blocked from behind at the knee on the play where Hargrove roughed Rattay, which ESPN's lame production crew never showed on replay. And it looked like Faulk stepped out a couple of times before the end of his sideline tiptoe run. Still a very tolerable performance.



    * Cheers: Wasn't the greatest broadcast by ESPN, even though Pat Summerall cut down on his usual number of mistakes. He actually knew how to pronounce "Tinoisamoa," for instance, and only mistook Holt for Bruce once that I recall. He also mispronounced Furrey as "Fury", called Jerametrius Butler "Baker" once, and said Bulger's first pass was completed to "Ken" Curtis. (You know, I'm glad Martz is getting Festus involved in the passing game, but Marshal Dillon and Miss Kitty were wide open…) Summerall's best moment was scolding Anthony Adams for over-celebrating a tackle, reminding him smack-talk style that Adams' team was down 24-0 at the time. Nice! Made up for the mistakes. Doesn't make up for his network's seeming pro-49er attitude, though. The intro was a lovely pep talk for the Whiners where they let Julian Peterson wrongly state that the Whiners have won the majority of matchups with the Rams. Memo to Julian: it's now Rams 57, Whiners 50 (2 ties). And I may be late doing next week's recap: I'm planning a trip to Bristol, Conn. to shove that "SOSAR" footage up Chris Berman's ass. Swami THIS…



    * Game balls: 1. Bruce. Make history, get a game ball. 2. Goodspeed. 3. Timmerman.



    * Who’s next?: Rams fans can hope Seattle's bye week has slowed down their momentum, but it's likelier that the Rams will be walking into a pressure cooker next Sunday against a rested-up (thanks for that again, NFL!), fired-up Seahawk team playing one of its biggest games in years. The formerly weak Seattle run defense has stepped it up significantly this year under defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes, who has had Mike Martz's number more often than not. That's due in no small part to the spark provided by one Grant Wistrom. Seattle's defense now ranks up at the top of the NFL. You can argue strength-of-schedule - New Orleans, Tampa and San Fran – but Seattle has dominated those teams, and unless the Ram offensive line has the game of its life Sunday, Seattle should shut down the run. Pace will probably have to have one of the best games of his career to stop Wistrom – that'll be a fun matchup – but even that won't be enough to keep Seattle at bay. Bulger's having an excellent season, but if he's forced to pass Sunday, the going will be much tougher than usual. They’re flying under the radar, but Seattle may have the NFL's best secondary. They have terrific cover men and playmakers in Marcus Trufant, Ken Lucas and Bobby Taylor, and super hitting safeties Ken Hamlin and Reggie Tongue. They have appeared vulnerable at times to passes to RBs and TEs. The Rams will have to establish Faulk and/or Jackson in the passing game, besides getting major games out of Bruce and Holt, to stay in this thing.

    Shaun Alexander's yardage numbers were pretty ordinary the last couple of games, but he still had 3 TDs his last outing, and the extra week off (thanks again, NFL!) gives him extra time to get his knee healed and up to speed. The Ram run defense hasn't convinced me that they're up to stopping Alexander, especially against an overlooked Seahawk offensive line that is among the league's best. That line also likely will keep the heat off of Matt Hasselbeck, probably by devoting extra attention to Leonard Little until another threat poses itself. That hasn't happened yet this year, though Hasselbeck isn't a good QB under pressure, should the Rams put any on him. Maybe D-Lew can step up and become that additional pressure point. Also, I'd bench Bryce Fisher in favor of Tyoka Jackson, who seems to save his best games for Seattle. It'll take not just aggressive personnel moves, but aggressive strategy – effective blitzing and a lot less of that annoying soft coverage – to keep Seattle's passing game off balance. And even if the Rams accomplish all that, it still may not be enough. Seattle is just a better team, a very confident team and bona fide Super Bowl contender, and they're at home, where they were undefeated last year. And did I mention they have had a week off? The Rams are going to have quite the mountain to climb to win this one, and even when they climb that mountain, they're going to have to erupt like Mt. St. Helen's on the Seahawks to knock them off stride. No doubt a win in Seattle would energize the Rams' season, if they can pull it off. Best of luck.



    -- Mike

    Game stats from nfl.com

    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

Related Topics

Collapse

  • MFranke
    RamView, 11/13/2005: Seahawks 31, Rams 16 (Long)
    by MFranke
    RamView, November 13, 2005
    From The Couch
    (Report and opinions on the game.)
    Game 9: Seahawks 31, Rams 16

    Thanks to a complete lack of clutch play on offense (1 TD in 5 trips to the DREAD zone) and defense (only 5 third-down stops in 15 tries), the 4-5 Rams can wave good-bye to 7-2 Seattle and the NFC West title.

    Position by position:
    * QB: Marc Bulger (28-40-304) showed little-to-no rust despite coming off a three-week layoff. He threw as accurately as he has all season, and hooray, even took off and ran a couple of times instead of staying in the pocket for ten seconds and getting killed. Marc got off to a nice start, hitting Brandon Manumaleuna for 33 and 11 on consecutive 3rd downs before a Kevin Curtis drop in the DREAD zone made the Rams' opening drive a FG drive. Marc's numbers should be even better than they are. He threw a perfect 40-yard TD bomb to Torry Holt early in the 2nd only to watch Holt let it harmlessly hit the ground. Next drive, he let a bomb fly for Curtis just as Kevin tripped over DB Kelly Herndon, resulting in a hard-luck interception. In the third, he threw a pass into the corner of the end zone that Holt usually grabs, but not this time, leaving the Rams to settle for another FG. Once Marc and Torry finally got clicking in the 4th, for 10- and 17-yard completions, Manu messed things up with a fumble in the DREAD zone. Bulger and Holt finally connected for a TD with 7:00 left, a perfect 14-yard pass by Marc. You couldn't have asked for more out of Marc today. His passes were on, he didn't hold the ball too long, he ran when it was there, he dumped off to the RB when he had to, and he didn't really force up any bad throws. Unfortunately, what may have been Marc's best game this season winds up a big L in the loss column anyway.

    * RB: Despite a decent game from Steven Jackson (17-70), and Marshall Faulk’s 5-54 receiving, the Ram running game still left wanting, due in large part to DREAD zone struggles. Sometimes the offensive line failed, like the Rams’ first DREAD zone trip, but other times, the mistakes were Jackson’s. Prior to the fake FG attempt, Steven could have gained 5-6 yards on 1st down with a decisive cutback, but he was hesitant and lost ground. The next play, a well-set-up screen pass got 5, but would have been a big play if Steven hadn’t bobbled the ball. Rams come away with no points. After Dexter Coakley’s early 2nd-half interception, the Rams fail again in the DREAD zone, as Steven loses ground cutting back and running laterally (not his strength) instead of running downhill (his strength). The offensive line’s at fault, too, but Jackson isn’t off the hook for the Rams’ DREAD zone failures today. Steven still made some good plays. Early on he got 18 through a big hole from Adam Timmerman and Alex Barron, breaking an ankle tackle. He got 14 right after Coakley’s INT with a great cutback, dragging a DB along. Late in the 3rd,...
    Travis Fisher
    18.18%
    2
    Jeff Fisher
    0.00%
    0
    Bryce Fisher
    45.45%
    5
    Carrie Fisher
    36.36%
    4
    Taje Allen
    0.00%
    0
    -11-14-2005, 08:38 AM
  • MFranke
    RamView, 9/11/2005: ***** 28, Rams 25 (Long)
    by MFranke
    RamView, September 11, 2005
    From The Couch
    (Report and opinions on the game.)
    Game 1: ***** 28, Rams 25

    The Rams open the 2005 season in the most unimaginable, embarrassing way possible and stake an early claim as the NFL's most disappointing team. The Martz Era just took a massive uppercut to its glass jaw.

    Position by position:
    * QB: Marc Bulger has been a good closer in the past, but not today, which was a big blemish on a big statistical day (34-56-362, 2 TD). The Rams turned the red zone into the "dread zone", settling for four FGs in four trips before converting for a TD late in the game. Whenever the Rams reached the dread zone, the whole offense fell apart. After a Tim Rattay fumble in the 1st, Bulger couldn't get the Rams in from the 11, hitting Torry Holt for only 1 against one of San Fran's persistent blitzes and throwing a 3rd-down incompletion. Bulger could beat the blitz as long as he wasn't in the dread zone. The second drive, Marc hit Holt for 15 to beat a blitz, but once in the dread zone, it's sack, deflected pass, end zone pass for Kevin Curtis batted away, FG. Bulger responded poorly with the Rams down 7-6 – a poor near-INT and a sack. Down 21-6 near halftime, Bulger leads the Rams into the dread zone with a spectacular 44-yard bomb to Holt and a 14-yarder to Shaun McDonald. The finish, though, is 4 to Holt, sack, short dumpoff to McDonald, FG. Down 28-9 after halftime, the Rams bog down in the dread zone for the fourth straight time. Bulger and Torry miss open connections in the end zone, and Bulger is sacked AGAIN the next play to force another FG. Bulger and Bruce connected for a pretty 32-yard TD to make it 28-18 (note: outside the dread zone). But Bulger is bad the next drive, ending it with three incompletions, one a near INT-TD, one a 3rd down pass into triple coverage. But down the stretch in the 4th, Marc looked ready to work some comeback magic. He slips a third down blitz to hit McDonald for almost 9 and converts the 4th down on a sneak. 15 more to McDonald, and after ANOTHER sack makes it 4th-and-9, a lovely sideline connection with McDonald for 20 more. In the dread zone again, Isaac Bruce gamely dives at the 5-yard line for a first down, and though Bulger struggles mightily, he hooks up with Brandon Manumaleuna for an easy TE screen TD on 4th down to make it 28-25. In the final minute, the choking ***** hand the Rams the ball at the 33, and all Bulger has to do is not screw up, but ack, his first throw is way behind Isaac, who flails at it one-handed, as Mike Adams pulls it in for a game-sealing interception. Bulger wasn't himself today. He held the ball too long on several sacks and made a lot of poor throws. He floundered in the dread zone and had two bad series in the 4th with the game on the line. The Rams really can't afford any slippage in Marc's play right now.

    * RB: Steven Jackson (19-60) got off to a strong start....
    The Blood Red Zone
    0.00%
    0
    The Pink Zone
    20.00%
    1
    The Dread Zone
    20.00%
    1
    The Neutral Zone
    0.00%
    0
    The Twilight Zone
    60.00%
    3
    -09-12-2005, 06:06 AM
  • MFranke
    RamView, 8/29/2005: Rams 37, Lions 13 (Long)
    by MFranke
    RamView, August 29, 2005
    From The Couch
    (Report and opinions from the game.)
    Preseason Game #3: Rams 37, Lions 13

    After looking thoroughly beatable last week, the Rams looked unbeatable in tonight’s regular season dress rehearsal, whipping a promising Detroit team. The Rams were sharp on both sides of the ball and are exactly where they want to be for the regular season, if not ahead.

    Position by position:
    * QB: The Ram offense partied like it was 1999, driving quickly for TDs on the team’s first two drives and never looking back. Now that’s how you open up a game. Marc Bulger (11-14-167) polished off a Steven-Jackson-powered opening drive by accepting a gift 7-yard TD run from a Lion defense that lined up as if to allow Marc a free run at the end zone. The Rams didn’t encounter a 3rd down the next drive, but Bulger converted two second downs, including a pretty touch pass to Brandon Manumaleuna for 27, en route to a Jackson TD, making it 14-0. Marc hit a dry spell after that. After a sack, he threw a terrible, what-the-hell-was-that? pass Isaac Bruce couldn't have caught if he was Plasticman, and Kenoy Kennedy got the INT. After the resurgent Ram defense minimized that mistake, Bulger fought through a hand injury inflicted by Shaun Cody on an almost-late hit and struck Bruce perfectly for a 31-yard TD just before the end of the half. Though he held the ball for about half an hour and got sacked on the Rams’ final play of the half, Bulger’s numbers and the team’s results show he is ready for real games. The football appears to have helium in it when Jamie Martin (6-8-94) throws, but he looked very sharp again, getting the ball out quickly and decisively and throwing more accurately than I remember him throwing before. Super pocket presence, too: on his TD pass to Madison Hedgecock, he threw maybe half a second before getting walloped by a rusher. This is the best Martin has looked in any of his many stints as a Ram backup. Ryan Fitzpatrick (2-3-25) finished the game and continues to show very good pocket presence and accuracy. Things don’t look so good for Jeff Smoker after a DNP tonight.

    * RB: Salivate away, Rams fans, because the rest of the NFL does not look ready for what Steven Jackson (14-108) is about to hit it with. Once again, Steven’s evening featured a long breakaway run, and he didn’t mess around tonight, blasting off for 64 on the Rams’ first play from scrimmage. He cut inside Tom Nutten’s key block at the line, easily broke the weak tackle of a late-arriving safety and capitalized on some nice downfield blocking by Bruce. The league is not ready for Steven’s downfield speed. This run was the second time this preseason he’s nearly outrun the entire secondary on a long run. They’re just not expecting that kind of speed out of him. He continued to show the entire package of skills with a graceful catch of a 12-yard pass well behind him the next possession,...
    Jeff Smoker
    11.11%
    2
    Aveion Cason
    27.78%
    5
    Bryan Barker
    11.11%
    2
    Kevin Garrett
    16.67%
    3
    Matt Willig
    11.11%
    2
    Mike's TiVo remote, thanks to McDonald punt "returns"
    22.22%
    4
    -08-30-2005, 11:03 AM
  • MFranke
    RamView, 12/31/2006: Rams 41, Vikings 21 (Long)
    by MFranke
    RamView, December 31, 2006
    From The Couch
    (Report and opinions on the game.)
    Game #16: Rams 41, Vikings 21

    The Rams close the 2006 season in style in Minnesota. Steven Jackson shocks the league's best run defense and the Ram defense benefits from Viking rookie QB mistakes for a win nowhere near as close as even the blowout final score shows. St. Louis finishes the season 8-8 and with an eye toward a bright future.

    Position by position:
    * QB: Marc Bulger had an efficient game (19-30-248, 100.4) that would have been a dominant game if not for several brutal drops by his receivers early on. A good throw that Isaac Bruce stabbed for a 23-yard gain on 2nd-and-20 set up the Rams' opening drive FG. The offense stopped moving for a while after that, thanks to ugly drops by Torry Holt, Aaron Walker and Bruce. Bruce's 3rd-down drop made you wonder if the Rams were just going through the motions today, but after that play, all aspects of the Ram offense got clicking. Holt made a nice scoop for 13, and Marc hit him again with a beautifully-timed pass on the sideline for 18 more, to put the Rams at the Viking 6 and set up Steven Jackson's first TD. Later in the 2nd, facing a 3rd-and-9 up 17-7, Bulger fed Kevin Curtis perfectly for 31. From the Viking 21, he hit Holt for 12 on 3rd-and-10 before shoveling to Jackson for a 10-yard TD. After halftime, the Rams scored for the 3rd straight drive to make it a 27-7 game, and Bulger led them to a 4th straight score thanks to a juggling catch by Holt, Curtis' dive for the 1st down on 3rd-and-7, and a 26-yard shot upfield to Walker. Marc wasn't called on to throw deep, but he did everything else. These last two weeks, he's been as strong in the pocket as he's been all season, unloading the ball on time and very accurately, pretty close to unstoppable. Scott Linehan's been pretty good to Marc Bulger. He wasn't sacked today, and has been protected much better than he was under Mike Martz's kill-Bulger scheme. In turn, Bulger's been very good to Linehan, with his second Pro Bowl season: 4300 passing yards, 24 TDs, just 8 INTs. A great formula to follow again next year.

    * RB: Steven Jackson hasn't just elevated his play this season, he's gone into orbit, to a place where not even one of the best single-season run defenses in NFL history can stop him. They allowed just 54.5 yards a game coming in, but the Viking defense was humbled today by Jackson, who rolled up 142 rushing yards and four TDs. Steven opened up with an 18-yard run, patiently waiting for a block, then popping it outside while breaking two DB tackles. That drive ended, though, with Steven getting stuffed running out of the fullback position on a 3rd-and-2. That would be about the last time Minnesota stopped Jackson at anything, though. He ran through three Vikings for a 4-yard TD that put the Rams up 17-7. He started up the next drive with a nice cutback left for 14. After picking...
    -01-01-2007, 02:42 PM
  • MFranke
    RamView, 10/9/2005: Seahawks 37, Rams 31
    by MFranke
    RamView, October 9, 2005
    From Row HH
    (Report and opinions from the game.)
    Game 5: Seahawks 37, Rams 31

    Well, the worm has turned in the NFC West, and in a bad way, as the Rams do an awful job of defending their home turf against the Seahawks. The 2005 season is getting harder and harder to pull out of the fire.

    Position by position:
    * QB: Going into the season, I'd have never thought I'd be saying by week 5 that Marc Bulger (26-40-336) needs to play more like Matt Hasselbeck, but it's true. Bulger is hurting the Rams with his season-long poor pocket presence. He was sacked four times today, most because he held the ball too long. Does Marc always have a release valve to go to when he's in big trouble? No, which I see as a major flaw of the Martz offense. But Marc also almost never chooses to run downfield, and today, he barely even dared to run outside the pocket. Damn, Marc, even a little scramble gives your receivers an extra beat to get open. Hasselbeck's no Michael Vick, but he beat the Rams' heads in today just by getting a little outside when he got in trouble. Bulger has become a cigar store Indian in the pocket, allowing opposing DBs to never worry they might have to come back upfield. Marc's voluntary immobility takes a big piece away from his game. Bulger is also killing his team with his now-trademark slow starts. He started 2-for-8, and by not scoring until their 4th possession, the Ram offense kept Seattle in the game instead of capitalizing on the momentum of Chris Johnson's opening kickoff return TD to put them in a big hole. Not that Marc isn't doing many things well. His field vision was impressive on first-half TD passes to Kevin Curtis and Torry Holt, passing up dumpoffs to make the big play downfield despite heavy pressure. And yeah, those plays fly in the face of what I was just arguing about. But at the same time, there were many times that Marc took sacks or threw dubious passes instead of hitting wide open (once by ten yards) Steven Jackson with the dumpoff. Certainly Steven's a better option than taking a sack or one-hopping a sideline pass. And Marc has to do a lot better than the awful pick he threw to Lofa Tatupu (my spell checker says that should be Loaf Taupe) in the 3rd. Not only did that pass look ten yards away from any Ram, it led to the Rams going down 34-21 when they could have been driving to go up 28-27. Despite his likely good fantasy numbers, Marc Bulger is slipping. He is far from a complete QB right now. He has to make better use of his feet under pressure, and he has to drive the Rams farther than ten yards at the start of games if the team still entertains playoff aspirations.

    * RB: Steven Jackson didn't have a bad game at all, 77 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving. He bulled his way in for a 1-yard TD in the 3rd to get the Rams within 34-28. He put the Rams in scoring position all by himself on their 2nd drive, taking a...
    -10-10-2005, 05:54 AM
Working...
X