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Rams cream hapless Cardinals 34-0; The good, bad and ugly

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  • Rams cream hapless Cardinals 34-0; The good, bad and ugly

    In a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score indicated, the Rams pushed their record to 2-0 by clobbering the hopeless and hapless Cardinals 34-0 in our home opener. A dominating victory marred only by the pregame groin injury that knocked Greg the Leg out of action (prognosis uncertain), the Rams defense was in complete control the entire way, holding Arizona to 5 first downs and 137 total yards, 2 first downs and 50 yards of which occurred on the very last drive of garbage time against the Rams backups. The Arizona offense crossed midfield for the first time with 30 seconds left in the game, hard to believe the Rams could be some overpowering on defense despite having only one sack (Ebukam). Todd Gurley led the way with three running touchdowns, and perhaps most impressively, the Rams knocked Arizona out of the game completely with a 4th and goal touchdown as time expired in the first half on a tremendous block by Blythe. Not suggesting that Arizona was going to win anyway, but there was a big difference between 19-0 and 11-0 at half, especially with Arizona getting the ball to start the second half. Good teams knock teams they are supposed to beat out of the game and don't let them hang around, and that is what the Rams did today.

    The Good

    The defense, despite the one sack by Ebukam, allowed only 5 first downs and 138 total yards. Zero separation by the Arizona wide receivers and when Fitzgerald got hurt, they had no one to get to down the field. Kudos to Fitzgerald (3-28) one of the greatest all-time Rams opponents. Johnson led the way with 7 tackles, Donald looked strong in the first half, Talib broke up a couple of passes, you rarely hear Peters name called because no one seems to want to throw the ball in the same area code where he is covering. Some nice stops in short yardage and just no rhthym at all for the Arizona offense. If we keep our starters in for that last drive, Arizona may well have finished the game with 3 first downs and under 100 yards of offense, something you don't see very often in the NFL. I get it, Arizona's offense is just terrible, but its still great to see solid tackling and absolute domination by the defense. Great to see sam shields get the INT in the fourth quarter. Arizona was only 3-12 on third down, which included conversions on the garbage time drive at the end of the game.

    JOJO!!! They Egyptian may be on IR for a while, but JoJo Matson looked terrific averaging 22.2 yards per punt return on 6 tries including a 60 yarder. Quick, fast and elusive.

    Three TD's and 2 two point conversions was nice for the Gurley fantasy fans (including an 11 yard td run), but he was bottled up pretty well today before leaving with cramps and giving me a near stroke when he ran into the locker room in the middle of the third quarter with the game over. He was smiling, so my first thought was maybe he had to take a dump, but he was gone for a while and it was great news to hear it was nothing but cramps and no reason to bring him back with the outcome decided and Brown running hard (10-40 and a catch for a two point conversion). Gurley finished with 19-41 rushing and 3-31 receiving. Not his best day statistically but i am sure he will take the big win and the td's.

    Tremendous block by Blythe on the goal line 4th and 1 play before halftime to get gurley into the end zone. I think he may well keep the starting job, but at the minimum, he is outstanding on the depth side.

    Goff played well 24-32-354 1 td in garbage time to Higbee and 1 int that peterson made a great play on while goff was on the run. QB rating of 108.1. He had some terrific throws into very tight windows and i am not complaining, but there is still plenty of room for him to improve. His audibles are suspect. He is not recognizing the run blitzes and is running right into them too often. He often holds the ball too long in the pocket, both sacks were a result of him not getting rid of the ball. He missed cooks for an open td at the goal line when he didnt loft the ball over the defender and cooks was wide open. Nevertheless, the long ball to Cooks was nice (although if he gets it out sooner its a td) and so were a number of the other throws to Cooks, Kupp and Woods. I would like to see him look for the tight end more often on check downs and higbee was wide open a number of times. He missed a wide open woods for a td in garbage time. Didn't matter today, but with tougher teams ahead, his internal clock when receivers are not open has to improve. Solid game from a really good young qb who will continue to do really well as long as the offensive line continues to dominate defenses.

    Our receivers are terrific, great hands. Woods (6-83), Kupp (6-53) and Cooks (7-159) were sensational. Cooks is just blazing fast and he is really a playmaker. Nice to see everett with a catch for 17 yards and higbee had the td at the end.

    Hekker kicked a field goal and an extra point, only punted twice, and did a nice job on kickoffs.
    We were 8-15 on third down today and had 432 total yards. We would have scored more points if the leg was active or if we needed them. 24 first downs.

    As i mentioned earlier, a very good signed that we finished them off before halftime and then held at the start of the third quarter and completely put the game away providing no hope at all to Arizona. We were 4-6 in the red zone and that made a big difference today especially without a field goal kicker. This kind of killer instinct is going to matter a lot as the schedule gets more difficult.


    The Bad

    Reynolds block in the back on punt return, kiser holding on a fair catch, Woods holding at the goal line, Goff failing to convert on 4th and 1 (although you have to give him credit for sticking his hand out as if that has anything to do with where the ball is spotted), some early failures to convert with gurley on 3rd and short (again, suspect audibles by Goff). The two goff sacks where he held it too long and goff missing the wide open woods for the td. The Goff INT at the goal line was a great play by Peterson, but bad judgment on the throw.


    The Ugly

    Saffold false start on 4th and one
    The pre game groin injury to The Leg leaving us without a field goal kicker. Status of next week unknown, Ficken may be back if The Leg can't kick. With San Diego and Minnesota up next, let's hope either The Leg is ok or Ficken is up to the task.
    While he is obviously fine, the sight of Gurley running into the locker room during a game will always qualify as ugly.


    Summary

    This was a game that the Rams should have won by a ton and they did. No looking past Arizona, no sloppy play to make it a close game. Close the book on this one and be happy we are 2-0, but two tough games are up next against San Diego and Minnesota both at home. These are really important early season games and we will see how the Rams respond, especially given the uncertainty around the status of The Leg, which is really the one dark cloud on an otherwise very sunny day today for the squad. San Diego is a high powered offense and Rivers is very experienced and has real weapons. Let's hope that McVay has the team 100% ready to play and that we are able to contain Gordon on the ground and get in Rivers' face, which may well lead to turnovers. Offensively, we may or may not miss Bosa, but either way, i would like to see us run the ball better than we did early this week and pass protection around Goff will obviously be critical because its quite clear that when Goff has time to throw, our receivers are so good that it's very tough for teams to cover down the field. For tonight, enjoy the route of Arizona, the shutout and the 2-0 start.


    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel

  • #2
    Dominate....

    Yet another game the Rams where expected to win and won they did handedly

    Only one knock against the Rams...it was too easy and they acted like it. If the Rams wanted to, they could have easily ran up the score. It was a simple, our guys are better then your guys and we will prove it--again which they did.

    Cardinals--saw them at the beginning of last season regressing and knew they where in for a tough year. Didn't see they would lose their HC, but his days where numbered--they just didn't or where not building for anything specific. They wanted to be average to good on all phases of the game but left themselves nothing particular to lean on...age and lack of depth have caught up with the Cardinals last season.

    It wouldn't surprise me if this is the last game Bradford plays for AZ....though tis not his fault; just AZ likely will be thinking they need a change of pace. What was AZ thinking going into 2018? No clue, but it wasn't about the stacked defenses in the NFC W...and most certainly getting play makers to make a difference

    Comment


    • #3
      If i was an Arizona fan, i would want to know how it was possible that Garaffalo was traded to SF for a 2nd round pick. How in the world did they not offer more than a 2nd round pick?

      Ramming speed to all

      general counsel

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by general counsel View Post
        If i was an Arizona fan, i would want to know how it was possible that Garaffalo was traded to SF for a 2nd round pick. How in the world did they not offer more than a 2nd round pick?

        Ramming speed to all

        general counsel
        After two games we are seeing the "magic" wearing off fast on Garoppolo (206 yards passing to Safford's 347). Caroppolo and company went up against the Lions--serious the same Lions that lost completely to the Jets and their rookie QB; whom this week against the Dolphins laid an egg. His winning streak last year game against mostly teams who had little reason to win. The second Whiner/Rams had the Rams already in control of the NFC W

        That second round pick to get Garoppolo... isn't looking so good for the 49whiners. Again from what I said last year--why would Belichick part with a QB with an aging Tom Brady nearing the end of his career give away the future of the Patriots, unless Belichick KNEW Garoppolo had no future

        Comment


        • #5
          Not going to derail this thread with a garaffalo debate, but bellicheat traded him because he was an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and he was going to get nothing for him so unless he wanted to cut brady there was no way to keep him. I think garaffalo is an excellent young qb, reasonable people can differ. 18-26-206 2tds, no receivers really that are very good.

          ramming speed to all

          general counsel

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by general counsel View Post
            Not going to derail this thread with a garaffalo debate, but bellicheat traded him because he was an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and he was going to get nothing for him so unless he wanted to cut brady there was no way to keep him. I think garaffalo is an excellent young qb, reasonable people can differ. 18-26-206 2tds, no receivers really that are very good.

            ramming speed to all

            general counsel
            there is a lot of truth what we both are saying...history is on our side because we all have seen QBs leave the Patriots not named Brady and just...fade away...am sure there has to be some other Patriot QB still out there on a team--just none at the moment come to mind; the league rules are different but all I can remember is the Montana/Young transition

            A team I haven't watched--the Chargers--no earthly idea what they are up to--but the Vikings--ya been studying them. Just think the Viks blitzed themselves into nearly losing against the Packers and got a gimme BS roughing the passer call against the Packers' Clay Matthews being the difference in that game. As to WRs difference between the 49whiners and the Rams (on par with the Packers receiving core), its either life or death for the Vikings blitzing the Rams--having to rely on the blitz, Vikings die--able to get pressure with 4 and cover the Rams--maybe a win. Rams able to get Donald, Suh and Brokers to get at Cousins, Rams win in a cake walk

            Comment


            • #7
              One of the best games Bradford has played for the Rams! Man, the Cardinals offense is really nowhere right now.

              It's going to be a pleasure to watch this D all season. It makes us a genuine contender.

              I would say you summarized Goff's play quite well. He has so many advantages with this HC, this OL, these skill players, this defense. He brings natural QB abilities, an excellent arm, and a calm demeanor to it. He's looking very comfortable out there at this point, the nightmare of being stuck in the mud of Fisher's futile offense now fully forgotten. He just needs to continue to develop his mental game and quicken his decision making during the play. He is definitely a tick too slow in anticipating and getting that ball out. It will come as his experience deepens, particularly when he he has to face tougher situations. It's kind of a magic carpet ride for him right now. I'm eager to see how he performs against tougher opponents for higher stakes.

              To me, these first two were our preseason. I trust McVay to make sure they all understand the work is just beginning this season. These next two should tell us alot.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ram Dragoon View Post

                After two games we are seeing the "magic" wearing off fast on Garoppolo (206 yards passing to Safford's 347). Caroppolo and company went up against the Lions--serious the same Lions that lost completely to the Jets and their rookie QB; whom this week against the Dolphins laid an egg. His winning streak last year game against mostly teams who had little reason to win. The second Whiner/Rams had the Rams already in control of the NFC W

                That second round pick to get Garoppolo... isn't looking so good for the 49whiners. Again from what I said last year--why would Belichick part with a QB with an aging Tom Brady nearing the end of his career give away the future of the Patriots, unless Belichick KNEW Garoppolo had no future

                We can't say anything definitively about Garappolo after two games. And we know things in the NFL change week to week. A team looks wonderful one week and stinks the next. Far be it from me to defend the Whiners, but to suggest Garappolo is a bum all of a sudden is ridiculously premature. And GC's comments regarding New England trading him before getting nothing for him at season's end were spot on.

                To state the obvious, the Rams losing Zeurlein for any length of time is a concern. And groin injuries tend to nag and recur. There aren't a bunch of proven kickers out there waiting to be signed. And the pool will get smaller since I'd be surprised if the Cleveland and MInnesota kickers have jobs tomorrow.

                After years of being on the receiving end of a beating, it's nice to be on the other side of a laugher. Nice to be 2-0; have to win the games you SHOULD win, and so far so good.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Complete team win. It wasn't enough beating the Cards 33-0 at "home" last year, we came out and put 34 on them this season! Great win all around.

                  Only things I saw that need to be cleaned up are special teams penalties (enough with the illegal blocks in the back!) and Goff getting his timing down with Cooks. He's cost him at least two TDs now by under throwing him. A bit nitpicky, but against better teams and in closer games we need those to go for six.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here to admit that I was wrong about being mad about not signing Sammy, but paying Cooks. He looks to be much more dynamic of a receiver than Sammy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A few more thoughts. They're kind of nitpicky, and what a luxury to be in that position.

                      I am certain that McVay is concerned that his offense is still not starting fast, particularly at home. It would take things to the next level if the offense would have good first possessions and get into a rhythm early, but they seem to struggle with it. I believe it is largely a play calling issue for McVay to sort out.

                      Notwithstanding the whomping of a pitiful Cardinals team yesterday, I am still concerned that we don't have a strong home field advantage. Again, to get to the next/championship level, we have got to get to where teams playing us in L.A. understand that it will be especially difficult to beat us at home. And it's a huge playoff issue. We play all season to get seeding and home field in the playoffs. So, part of the formula for a title is establishing that home field advantage. This will remain a challenge due to the physical dimensions of the Coliseum and the fact that it is a temporary home. A loss to the cross-town Chargers in the Coliseum would be a huge setback on this issue.

                      Got to get those TEs more involved. I know McVay and Goff have this in mind, and they have to stay determined about it. I loved the flash of speed and athleticism from Everett on his reception. I look for him to become a more significant element of the O as things go along.

                      John Johnson, a fantastic 4th round pick!

                      Go Rams!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If anything after this game, Jojo Natson has proven he needs a more permanent roster spot after Pharoh's return. Even though the ball is nearly as big as he is, it should matter little as long as the other team isn't even able to lay a hand on him.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bltkmt View Post
                          Here to admit that I was wrong about being mad about not signing Sammy, but paying Cooks. He looks to be much more dynamic of a receiver than Sammy.
                          He's what Tavon was supposed to be.

                          I love that he's taken on the Watkins role on the team, as well as the Tavon role (wr jet sweep on Rams 1st play from scrimmage). Hilarious.

                          If he and Goff can align even better, it's going to be awesome

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by general counsel
                            This was a game that the Rams should have won by a ton and they did. No looking past Arizona, no sloppy play to make it a close game. Close the book on this one and be happy we are 2-0, but two tough games are up next against San Diego and Minnesota both at home. These are really important early season games and we will see how the Rams respond, especially given the uncertainty around the status of The Leg, which is really the one dark cloud on an otherwise very sunny day today for the squad.
                            Agreed. Love the 2-0 start, but the next two games will be a true barometer of where this team is and how they stack up against playoff caliber opponents.

                            Originally posted by SavageRam View Post
                            If anything after this game, Jojo Natson has proven he needs a more permanent roster spot after Pharoh's return. Even though the ball is nearly as big as he is, it should matter little as long as the other team isn't even able to lay a hand on him.
                            I agree. He's lightning in a bottle on returns, and didn't look bad as a receiver during the preseason.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ram Dragoon View Post
                              ...
                              ...
                              ...
                              Cardinals--saw them at the beginning of last season regressing and knew they where in for a tough year. Didn't see they would lose their HC, but his days where numbered--they just didn't or where not building for anything specific. They wanted to be average to good on all phases of the game but left themselves nothing particular to lean on...age and lack of depth have caught up with the Cardinals last season.

                              It wouldn't surprise me if this is the last game Bradford plays for AZ....though tis not his fault; just AZ likely will be thinking they need a change of pace. What was AZ thinking going into 2018? No clue, but it wasn't about the stacked defenses in the NFC W...and most certainly getting play makers to make a difference

                              Well apparently they didn't just not see Arians retiring... they didn't foresee Palmer retiring either, even though he was already 38! It makes sense they paid for Bradford on a year lease and used a high pick on QB (Josh Rosen). AZ literally did not have a single qb on its roster back in January; i saw an article where the new HC and the new OC were talking about how instead of having to adjust to their players, they'd be able to go out and get the right players for their system. But then the exact same article was talking about how neither of them had a specific vision of what their offense would/should look like and that they were working on it. If THAT doesn't tell you the offensive mess they were going to have this year, nothing will.

                              I disagree with you on Bradford though. They payed him a lot. For now, I think they'll leave him in there to be fleeced while Rosen holds a clipboard and gets coached up. With that OL, I don't think they want to risk him too soon. Once the season is more than halfway over and playoffs are not possible, or Bradford is knocked out, (whichever comes first), I think that's when they'll throw Rosen to the wolves and let him sink or swim.

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