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St. Louis Rams Prepare For Tough Indianapolis Colts D

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  • St. Louis Rams Prepare For Tough Indianapolis Colts D

    St. Louis Rams prepare for tough Indianapolis Colts D

    Understandably, much of the pregame buildup for Sunday's home game against Indianapolis has focused on Peyton Manning and the Colts' precision offense. But that's only half the problem for the winless Rams, because Indy's defense presents its own set of problems.

    In what falls into the category of well-kept secrets, the Colts come to town with the NFL's seventh-ranked defense. That's a higher rating than any of the Rams' previous opponents this season except for No. 5 Washington.

    "They're a fast defense," Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "We just got done playing a big physical style (Jacksonville), and this is the flip side of the coin. Very fast. Very explosive. They really like it when you're in passing situations, so they can just rare back and come after you."

    The Colts love playing with the lead. That's when they unleash what might be the NFL's best set of pass-rushing ends in Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. Freeney and Mathis have played side-by-side for much of the decade and have five Pro Bowls between them. Mathis has averaged 10 sacks a season over the past five seasons; Freeney has averaged 10 sacks a season over his entire seven-year career.

    They're up to their old hijinks this season, with a combined 10 1/2 sacks in five games. (Indianapolis is coming off its bye week.)

    "They've got the athletes over there, and the speed to make you try to beat 'em," Rams quarterback Marc Bulger said. "So we just can't let them get up big on us. If you play from behind against that team, it's very difficult because of their pass rush, and how well they play their (Cover 2)."

    Until Sunday's overtime loss at Jacksonville, where the Rams held a slim lead for most of the game, St. Louis had led for only 12 1/2 minutes all season. Of course, the easiest way to keep the score from getting out of hand Sunday is to keep the ball out of Manning's hands.

    "We're going to need to control the football," Shurmur said.

    Steven Jackson, that's your cue. Somehow, the Rams need to chew up the clock with a steady progression consisting of Jackson running the ball, combined with an efficient passing game.

    "They're really trying to put you in third down-and-long situations," Jackson said. "We have to be really good on first and second down. You don't have to get eight yards on first down. If you can keep getting four-yard gains, that puts you in third-and-2.

    "We just have to be good and manageable on first down. Switch things up. See what the defense is anticipating and try to do what they're not expecting."

    Indianapolis doesn't have a reputation for good run defense, but you'd never know it by what has taken place over the past three games. The Colts allowed only 163 yards rushing combined in victories over Arizona, Seattle and Tennessee. That's the second-lowest total over any three-game span in franchise history. Over that stretch, the Colts allowed only 3.1 yards per carry.

    That was done without the services of safety Bob Sanders, the Colts' top run defender. Sanders hasn't played this season because of a knee injury. But the Rams' run of buzzard's luck continues, because Sanders is expected to make his 2009 debut by starting Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "He's the life of that defense," Jackson said. "Not taking anything away from Mathis and Freeney, but he's a guy that fills the run pretty hard. He's a tough tackler. He applies the big hits. He gets the crowd into it. ... I really respect what he brings to that defense."

    With the departure of head coach Tony Dungy and defensive coordinator Ron Meeks, the Colts have more of an attacking defense than the bend-but-don't-break units of the past. Even so, they haven't strayed far from their Cover 2 roots under new head coach Jim Caldwell and new defensive coordinator Larry Coyer.

    "There are some things that are a little bit different, that you can tell," Shurmur said. "But for the most part, the base of their defense is similar to what they've been."

    Which means the safeties generally play deep in the Cover 2 shell, and the front four is asked to generate pressure on its own in passing situations.

    "They don't do a whole heck of a lot of things," Bulger said. "But what they do, they do well. They make you make mistakes, and that's a formula that's worked there for a long time."

  • #2
    Re: St. Louis Rams Prepare For Tough Indianapolis Colts D

    Playing a team like this can only make us better it’s a lotto long shot to win it but we can only learn from it.


    Related Topics


    • RamDez
      Powerful Rams' offense will reveal the real Colts' defense
      by RamDez


      South Florida Sun-Sentinel

      FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - (KRT) - No one knows better than Tony Dungy that his papier mache defense, which has given up only two touchdowns in the first five games, is going to come crashing down Monday night against the St. Louis Rams.
      That doesn't mean Dungy isn't going to coach Indianapolis to 6-0. There is a very good chance the Colts will remain the NFL's only undefeated team, playing an opponent that not only lacks adequate defense but which has an offensive line that can't consistently protect quarterback Marc Bulger.
      Still, this isn't the Ravens or Browns, to name two of the offensive stiffs the Colts have chewed up during the first third of the season.
      This is a Rams team that has three excellent receivers in Torry Holt, Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis even without injured Isaac Bruce. And Bulger, when he hasn't been on his backside, has completed 64.7 percent of his passes, 10 for touchdowns.
      The Rams are going to be scored upon, but they are going to score as well, and it wouldn't be surprising if the Colts slip away from this litmus test with a 38-34 victory that will surely put them in a more sober perspective.
      "We've played games where we knew we wouldn't be challenged and we wouldn't have to score a lot of points and could still win. This is a game where we're going to have to score some points," Dungy said.
      For those that don't understand the oblique language known as coach speak, what he's saying is, "The free ride is over."
      There was ample evidence of the fragility of the Colts' defense a week ago in San Francisco, where the Colts struggled for most of three quarters to knuckle under a very bad ***** team.
      If you're an apologist for the Colts, you can take a higher road by attributing key interceptions in that game to the great pressure that has been applied by defensive ends Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, and by defensive tackle Montae Reagor in the middle.
      But if you examine this Indianapolis secondary with a sense of balance, it hasn't profited nearly enough by the pass rush. No one is sending cornerbacks Jason David and Nick Harper to the Pro Bowl and free safety Bob Sanders is questionable to play this game because of injury.
      Meanwhile, the Rams' problems have been well documented. Coach Mike Martz is trying to recover from a very serious viral infection attacking the lining of his heart and the play-calling has been turned over to offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild.
      Fairchild, if he's given complete authority, will probably run Steven Jackson more than 15 times, which is his average. He should, given the sloppy tackling the Colts exhibited against Barlow.
      But Bulger remains the key factor in the St. Louis offense. He's been sacked 20 times, and that has forced the Rams receivers into shorter routes. Also, he's very accurate and on a fast track in a...
      -10-16-2005, 01:57 AM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Rams' Little, Colts Manning Share Long History
      by r8rh8rmike
      Rams’ Little, Colts’ Manning share long history
      11 hours, 24 minutes ago

      ST. LOUIS (AP)—In his home, St. Louis defensive end Leonard Little proudly displays a photograph of himself sacking Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning(notes).

      “I want to be able to show my kids that I sacked a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Little said after a recent practice.

      In fact, Little had two sacks in that Dec. 30, 2001, game in St. Louis, which the Rams won 42-17 en route to their second Super Bowl appearance in three years.

      Times have changed since then for Little and Manning, who were teammates for two years at Tennessee and will face each other Sunday. Manning is two years younger than Little—who turned 35 on Monday—and has lifted the Colts to an elite team that’s made the playoffs in nine of the last 10 years.

      Meanwhile, the Rams are 0-6 and suffering through a 16-game losing streak. The Rams are 5-33 since 2007.

      “Any win would be big for us right now,” Little said. “We need to get that first one under our belt.”

      Little, who has four sacks this season, was battling the effects of strep throat last Sunday against Jacksonville when he snared David Garrard’s flare pass and returned it 36 yards for a score with 4:36 remaining. Little ended the run by diving headfirst into the end zone pylon for his third career touchdown and first since Dec. 12, 2004. It was his first career interception.

      “I just made a play, but we didn’t win the game so that was disappointing,” Little said.

      Little relishes the opportunity to go against the Colts (5-0), who are coming off a bye week and have won their last 14 regular-season games. He said he knows the defense has a big job in trying to stop Manning and company.

      “We’re running into a great offense and a great team,” Little said. “Guys have been working real hard in practice and I hope we step up to the challenge.”

      The Colts rank fifth in the NFL with 27.4 points a game and third in the league with 404.8 yards a game. Indianapolis is the best in the league at not allowing sacks.

      “There are a lot of sleepless nights,” defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said. “I could give you the old Lou Holtz line and say I sleep like a baby in that I get up every two hours and cry. They’re a heck of a football team. Everybody knows we’re facing a future Hall of Famer.

      “There’s no question they present some difficult matchup problems.”
      -10-24-2009, 12:06 PM
    • SwingOnDeez
      How to Beat the Colts
      by SwingOnDeez
      What I see for Monday Night is a next-to impossible situation for the Rams:

      A solid offense and a poor defense (Rams)
      A great offense and a solid defense (Colts)

      I say "solid defense" for the Colts just to be safe. Some would say that the 29 points we've given up in 5 games means that we're far better on defense than merely "solid," but I'll be conservative.


      This game is not impossible for the Rams, just darn close.

      In my humble estimation, the following must occur for the Rams to win:

      1) The Rams must get ahead early and make the Colts come from behind. "Duh," you may say, but seriously, you can't play catch-up against the Colts. Our D is good enough to slow you down, and our running and short passing games are good enough to keep the clock running.

      Furthermore, if you're behind, you must pass. Then Mr. Freeney comes to town. (FYI, Robert Mathis, our other speed rushing end has more sacks than Freeney). Getting yourselves into obvious passing situations is dangerous, because we have the best 4-man pass rush in the game. Bulger will have some passing yards, but they can't be in a comeback effort, or there's no hope.

      2) Bring your defense up and force Peyton to beat you long. No one has done this yet, and Edge has eaten defenses alive. Everyone plays bump the WR's, then get BACK. No one seems to notice Peyton's problem of overthowing receivers on long routes. They see the Indy offense and the great WR's and think that you have to allow the short pass and the run to take away the deep ball. I'd send the house and make Peyton throw long. He can self-destruct.

      3) Don't get forced into stupid turnovers. The Colts Defense is not the stiffling, pound you into the ground, iron monster that other successful defenses have been. The Colts have speed, and they force preventable turnovers. Take the sack, throw out of bounds, get down instead of risking a fumble. Our linebackers are STILL mediocre. Cato June has 2 INTS and 2 TD's. You can't tell me he's a Pro Bowler, but yet, offenses are making him look like he is. Granted, you have to take risks to beat a better team, but if Bulger can just get through the gae without throwing a stupid interception or putting the ball on the ground, he will GREATLY increase the Ram's chances.

      4) Don't miss field goals. Enough Said.

      5) Don't onside kick. The Titans and 49'ers thought this would be a good idea. It's not. All it does is tell your players, "Well boys, we have no chance of stopping them, so let's just throw in all our chips now and get out of here early."

      6) Throw Deep. Particularly if one side of our secondary is Jason David and Mike Doss, we aren't a shut-down secondary. Why the hell haven't the 1st 5 teams thrown deep on these guys? Challenge them. They will screw...
      -10-16-2005, 06:25 PM
    • RamsFanSam
      Puzzling....but Encouraging!
      by RamsFanSam
      Ever since last week, the Clan has sounded like we were getting dressed for a funeral on Monday night. Then, a few threads started popping up here and there about how the Colts were in for a fight. (thanks rambruce, GC, Rambos, RW and others!)
      This morning, I jumped into my Sunday clothes (Bulger Jersey and old comfortable pants), poured myself a cup of nuclear coffee (one-half step below expresso) into my Rams mug, and opened up the Clan home page.
      First thing I see:
      Powerful Rams' offense will reveal the real Colts' defense

      A few minutes later, I go to (I know, I must be a masochist....) I read this:

      ST. LOUIS RAMS (2-3) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (5-0) (Monday, ABC, 9 p.m. ET)
      Storyline: Harrison vs. Holt.

      Let the fireworks begin! It's high-scoring offenses with outstanding passers (the Rams' Marc Bulger and Colts' Peyton Manning) and two of the top three receivers in 100-yard games since 1999 (Indy's Marvin Harrison and St. Louis' Torry Holt).

      Harrison leads the league with 44 such games since '99 (Holt's first year). Next comes Oakland's Randy Moss (40), and then Holt (36). In the only other meeting between the two, Holt had a career yardage day with 203 yards (and two TDs) on December 30, 2001 in St. Louis. Harrison was "held" to 96 yards.

      Outstanding stat: The Rams -- now led by interim head coach Joe Vitt -- lead the league in "big plays," those of 10 yards or more:

      Big plays -- 2005 (10 Yards or More)
      St. Louis 95
      Arizona 88
      Seattle 76
      Philadelphia 75
      Cincinnati 72

      Then I click on another link....and read this:

      "The Colts are overrated. Yes, I said it. Overrated! Their usually explosive offense has been seriously limited in the past few games, but more importantly, their supposedly awesome defense hasn't faced a potent offense yet this season. These guys are good, but not THAT great. I seriously think the Rams are going to put some things into perspective in a high scoring game on Monday night."
      -- Justin Ngai, New Zealand

      "We hear so much about the Colts defense this year. The last time I checked, four of five games this season were against Baltimore, Jacksonville, Cleveland and San Francisco -- all ranked 31st, 22nd, 23rd and 25th, respectively in points per game. So I ask myself, 'is the Colts "D" really that good?' No. It has been fortunate to have an easy schedule against some of the weakest offenses to start the season."
      -- Brian Kerns, Baltimore, Md.

      And, finally, this:

      Adam Schefter's "Around the League" reports and commentaries can be seen regularly on NFL Total Access.

      (Oct. 11, 2005) -- Don't look now, but the Colts have been more than the NFL's best defense this season. They've been one of...
      -10-16-2005, 06:29 AM
    • RamWraith
      Colts roll over the Rams on strength, discipline
      by RamWraith
      By Bill Coats
      Tuesday, Oct. 18 2005

      INDIANAPOLIS — It really wasn't fair, Rams defensive tackle Ryan
      Pickett grumbled. As usual, the Indianapolis Colts are dangerous on offense,
      able to strike at any time behind quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver
      Marvin Harrison and running back Edgerrin James.

      "Everything everybody says about them is true," Pickett said. "They're very
      impressive. They run the ball; they pass it. Peyton Manning controls
      everything. They're very good."

      Actually, the Colts had not been as productive to this point in the season.
      They came into Monday night's game vs. the Rams only 12th in the 32-team NFL in
      total offense.

      But complicating things dramatically for the Colts' foes this season has been
      their vastly improved defense. Last year, the Colts finished near the bottom of
      the league in defense. Before Monday, they were permitting a meager 5.8 points
      a game.

      Defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis had combined for 11 sacks, and
      tackle Corey Simon, a free-agent pickup in the offseason, had helped to
      solidify the middle.

      Indianapolis' sudden prowess on defense "puts pressure on our defense to hold
      them down," Pickett said. That didn't happen Monday, as the Colts cruised to a
      45-28 victory.

      Defensively, "they're incredible pass rushers," Rams running back Steven
      Jackson said. "Their defensive line, their team speed overall ... they're just
      playing fast football right now, and that's why they're undefeated."

      Wide receiver Torry Holt said: "There's not a lot of weakness in that defense.
      I think they're strong in all facets. Their front seven is very, very good;
      their secondary is sound. They're very disciplined, patient."

      The Rams, however, had little trouble moving the ball in the early going. They
      put together touchdown drives of 80 and 57 yards and led 17-0 after the first
      quarter. The Colts closed to 17-14, but Jeff Wilkins' 49-yard field goal gave
      the Rams a 20-14 edge at the half.

      The early outburst was just a tease, however. After quarterback Marc Bulger
      suffered a game-ending shoulder injury early in the second quarter and gave way
      to Jamie Martin, the Rams' attack stalled.

      Pickett pointed out - correctly, as it turned out - that it would be a mistake
      to underestimate the Indianapolis offense, even if it hadn't been hitting on
      all cylinders. "They've been driving the ball up and down the field," Pickett
      said. "They just haven't been scoring as many touchdowns as they have in the

      The Colts were averaging...
      -10-18-2005, 11:00 AM