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Rams lose 45-35 to new orleans: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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  • Rams lose 45-35 to new orleans: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Despite a valiant comeback to overcome a 21 point deficit and pull even in the fourth quarter, the Rams fell short today on the road against a very tough Drew Brees led new orleans team, suffering their first loss of the season by the score of 45-35 in what could prove to be a preview of the NFC championship game. The offense certainly played well enough to win, but subpar red zone play, failure to take advantage of a crucial turnover in the first half, the weekly torching of Marcus Peters, lousy 3rd down play on both sides of the ball, and most importantly a horrific first half defensively were our our undoing today. The Rams were not going undefeated in any event and this game was likely the toughest one on the entire schedule, but the Rams will fly home for a really important division battle next week against the seachickens with a bad taste in their mouth of opportunities lost to win this game. The key will be what the squad learns from this and how they bounce back next week.

    The Good

    Jared Goff and the offense scored 35 points and gave 483 yards, punting only once. Gurley scored a td for the 12th straight game, although new orleans did a great job of keeping him in check (65 yards rushing and 11 yards receiving). The offensive line allowed zero sacks despite 40 passing attempts by Goff. Goff was 28-40-391-3 td's and one interception for a rating of 115.7. Unfortunately, he made one of his two horrible throws of the game with the outcome on the line late in the fourth quarter when the Rams had a chance to take the lead (see below in bad section on the miss to an open Woods). Goff made several terrific throws, including a couple that were not caught, such as the perfect throw that Higbee dropped in the end zone. The long ball to cooks was terrific and the out pattern to kupp was sensational. The 4th and 2 at the end hit Cooks in the hands. Sure, he got outplayed by Brees, but there is no shame in that. To take the next step, and if realistically we want to win the superbowl or for that matter get to the super bowl, goff is going to have to play his best with the game on the line, something he has not done in the last two weeks. Great catch and run for Malcolm Brown along the sideline for the td.

    It was nice to see the tight ends involved today (collectively 5-88 plus the two point conversion to Everett). Cooks played well with 6-114, Kupp was 5-89 with the 41 yard td catch and run and woods was very strong again with 5-71 including any number of really big catches.

    No injuries that i saw.
    Leg kicked a 56 yard field goal.
    The defense recovered nicely in the 2nd half holding new orleans to 10 points. Not spectacular, but potentially good enough to win if the offense hadn't died with the game on the line.
    Fowler showed a pulse with a couple of nice pressures and a rare hit on brees along with one tackle for loss. Can't wait for him to play more.
    Donald had one nice tackle for loss. That was his only tackle of the game. He missed brees a couple of times when it looked like he had him. Certainly mortal today.

    The resilency that the Rams showed coming back from a 35-14 deficit to tie the game at 35 was very impressive and something to build on despite the way it ended. The Rams have been finding ways to win games. Today, they found a way to lose one. Said another way, new orleans was too good a team and brees is too good to think you can play perfect football when you dig yourself that kind of hole, let alone on the road.

    The seachickens lost today at home to san diego, keeping our division lead at three games with a realistic chance to knock them out of the division race once and for all next week at home.

    I liked the aggressive play call on the fake field goal. I thought Hekker got the ball over the line for the first down, one of many calls during the game from the refs on which we did not get a break.


    The Bad

    MIssed opportunities were huge in this game. Ebukam caused a fumble that Donald recovered on the new orleans 22 when it was a 14-14 game. We came away with no points. We were 3-5 in the red zone in addition to not scoring after the turnover. Not terrible, but against a quality team like new orleans with our struggling defense, not good enough.

    A couple of really bad misses by Goff, the most important of which was the failure to hit an open Woods on the key fourth quarter drive when we were down 38-35 and had our only 3 and out of the day. This was a mission critical play in the game. Someone else made the point earlier this week and i think it is correct. While goff is generally hyper accurate from the pocket, he is not as accurate as he should be on the run. This is the second week in a row that he missed effectively the same throw to an open woods and this time it cost us bigtime. He HAS to make that throw in that situation. The interception before halftime was horrible, he just missed seeing the defender, a very costly mistake in a game like this one. He missed an open gurley on the wheel route for a td late in the game. Not a terrible throw, but off just a bit. Of course, there was an uncalled pass interference on the play that really hurt us. He backed up a couple of times late in the game throwing off his back foot when he had a couple of more seconds to step up and make the throw and woods or cooks open on the play.

    The officials did us no favors today, although i am certainly not blaming them for the loss as we had our chances on offense late and dug a huge hole with putrid defense early. No call on the clear interference on gurley on the wheel route. A number of holds on cooks, which i wouldnt complain about if the refs hadnt made some ticky tacky calls on us holding or interference wise on defense. Must importantly, i dont know how they missed Hekker holding the ball over the first down marker on the fake field goal and that was a critical play in the game. Even the announcers thought the call would be overturned. They also missed a face mask on kupp on the play where he was short of the first down and we had to punt. I get not calling the ticky tacky stuff if the refs are consistent, since when do they ignore major penalties. Sure, Saffold made a stupid move hitting the guy late for the personal foul, but then saffold got hit late. Should have been offsetting penalties.

    3-10 on 3rd down is simply not good enough in a game like this.

    I still want to know why we dont run more slants and wide receiver screens, in addition to quick throws, especially when they were controlling gurley. If we see new orleans again. McVay has to do a better job of figuring out how to get the ball into gurley's hands in a way that he can do damage with it.

    Leg can not miss 51 yard field goals in a dome. Game is too close against this kind of team.

    Cooks can not miss that catch on 4th and 2 at the end, it hit him in the heads. Also a very bad miss by higbee in the end zone on a great throw by goff.


    The Ugly

    Let's discuss the defense, which allowed 45 points. You are not going to win many games where you allow 45 points, even if you take into account that 7 of them came after the goff int in our own zone with a minute left before half. Overall, 31 first downs, allowed 5 td's in 5 trips to the red zone. Horrible on third and fourth down, allowing 9-14 conversions. No real functional pass rush, no sacks. Tons of missed tackles. Brees is great but you can not help him with countless missed tackles. Longacre stinks, Fowler has to work his way into a starting role. First half, we allowed over 300 yards of offense, 35 points and 24 first downs! That is the definition of ugly. Michael Thomas had 13 catches for 211 yards, most against Peters. There are no words to describe how poorly peters had played, and i simply can not believe he is healthy given how good he was in years past. Once again, Peters got torched for a long td, this time, it effectively put the game out of reach. If the Rams play new orleans again, phillips has to find a way to get a pass rush because its virtually impossible to stop brees if you dont get in his face. Seeing aaron donald be a non factor with one tackle and only a couple of pressures was very disturbing today, given credit to an outstanding new orleans offensive line. Again, the defense was much better in the second half, but the first half was simply a disgrace and the torching of peters with the game on the line was like a rerun of a terrible movie.


    Summary

    We all knew this was going to be a tough game. It is not a shock that we lost and we certainly are not good enough on defense to dream of an undefeated season. It is unfortunate that we lost a game that we had a chance in the 4th quarter to win, both by having our qb not play his best with the game on the line and our defense get torched by a long td after it settled down so impressively. However, these things happen and teams are always tested on the way to a championship run. The critical question is how the Rams respond to the adversity caused by today's difficult loss. It really was a play here and play there that made the difference and the comeback is certainly encouraging. As bad as it looked for a long time in this game, if Goff doesn't miss the throw to woods on the key drive or Peters doesnt get torched for the clinching td and we get the ball back, the game might have ended differently. As i said earlier, the Rams have been finding ways to win despite not playing their best. Today, the opponent was simply too good to find a way given that we could not play our best when it counted the most after digging a biblical first half hole with disgusting defense. Too many lost opportunities, you know brees is going to make plays, when new orleans makes mistakes you have to take advantage and while their defense certainly was not great today, they played better defense in the red zone than the Rams and they stopped the Rams after the turnover. They were also far better on 3rd down and those factors really decided the game because you can't really put it all on Goff for the bad throw to Woods when he played so well for most of the game and we did score 35 points. I think its clear that we are not going to win or get to the super bowl giving up 45 points and let's remember that after seattle, we have kansas city coming up and we will still be without Talib in that game. There is simply no question that if the Rams do not get a pass rush, without talib, their secondary is going to get beaten. Brees simply had way too much time to throw way too often.

    Next week is going to tell us so much in my view about what kind of team the Rams really are this year. Can we come back super focused and play excellent football against a solid and improved chickens team that runs the ball very well and plays solid defense, or are we going to continue to have to "find ways to win when we dont play our best," because if its the later, we are seriously a risk for a three game losing streak with the chickens and KC coming up. You simply can't get away with winning ugly week after week after week, or counting on fumbled kickoff returns and the like. I really don't think its scheme on defense, the players have to play better (and they did in the second half, just not quite good enough). We MUST take advantage of our opportunities against the chickens with better red zone play and much better third down play on both sides of the ball. If we can do those things and avoid the turnovers, i think we win big and get our swagger back.

    This loss is not the end of the world and by no means does it clinch home field for new orleans, but it did expose our defensive woes against a top notch offense and there are plenty of good teams out there that can beat us in the NFC, its not just new orleans. All of this talk of the Rams as super bowl favorites should now stop and we can focus on playing our best football. New Orleans may be the favorite as of today, but if we see them again, assuming we are healthy, i think we will have a better shot to beat them. Said another way, if i told all of you that after 9 games we would be 8-1, i think everyone would have been perfectly happy with that result.

    In any event, bring on the seachickens and let's hope that McVay has the squad ready to recapture its winning ways.

    Ramming speed to all

    General Counsel

  • #2
    Tremendous write up as usual, GC. I always look forward to your thoughts after a game and appreciate your insightful commentary.
    Even though I am steamed at the way our defense played and especially how Peters got scorched again I find myself more concerned if not worried about J. Goff's lack of production in the 4th quarter. We had not had a 3 and out all game and yet we had 2 of them back to back with the game on the line. Jared needs to step it up as we can only assume we will be involved in many close games from here on out.
    Believe it or not I think this is even more important than getting M. Peters figured out. IMO, we will only go as far as Jared Goff will lead us.

    ~RAMarkable~

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    • #3
      I think an Ugly is that we continue to not utilize successful blitzes. We continue to rush 4 knowing that they are shutting down every one of our high-caliber d-linemen.

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      • #4
        Nice job, GC. I know you mentioned it, but more must be said about the balancing act performed by Malcolm Brown on his touchdown. What an amazing ability to stay in bounds.

        It's a shame Goff made a couple of critical errors at important junctures of the game that detracts from an otherwise great performance. if we'd played even mediocre defense, it wouldn't be brought up and we'd be having a much different conversation.

        Our line must give us more. You don't need 5 sacks per game- sacks are a bonus- but you DO need consistent pressure in which the QB's rhythm and timing are altered. When we don't get that pressure, it is all the more glaring given our piss poor secondary play.

        Our non-divisional schedule is brutal, so good performances by some of our opponents is expected. But giving up 211 receiving yards to Thomas and being torched by various non-stars over the previous weeks is not the mark of a good defense.

        Marcus Peters should donate his game check to charity. What a colossal disappointment so far.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by RockinRam View Post
          I think an Ugly is that we continue to not utilize successful blitzes. We continue to rush 4 knowing that they are shutting down every one of our high-caliber d-linemen.
          I missed the majority of the first 3 quarters after mistakenly thinking we we're playing in the late Sunday night game. I turned the telly on late and got the shock of me life. The score was 35-24 when I tuned in so I can't accurately comment on the whole defensive performance. But I do remember a particular play on 3rd and 10 in the 4th quarter which highlights your point. I don't think the play call by WP was executed by the D like he was expecting, but it looked like the whole defense was playing zone, including the front 3. I don't care how good of a defense youve got, allowing Dree Brees ample time to survey the defense is never going to consistently work in this league. WE had them where we wanted them and shouldnt have let up at that point, especially late in the 4th quarter. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and the play which really capped it all off was the late TD by M.Thomas. Too lose the game on a play like that was gut wrenching for me. Atleast make the other team earn it.! How can you not be concentrating on a player like Thomas and too make matters worse, Peters only attempts to jump for the ball he was never going to get near to and lands flat on his face. Stop trying to be a hero and stay on your damn feet and go tackle the guy and make the other team earn it. But no, Peters gift wraps the ball game on a TD which wasn't even a particularly good route by Thomas.
          I hope this is a lesson learned for Peters but if his behaviour after the TD is anything to go by then I highly doubt it. Stop pointing the finger and take responsibility for your play and stop being so selfish. As a fan, I'm so fed up of seeing Peters getting turned around and stumbling all over the place trying to stay with receivers coming out of their breaks. Its becoming an embarrassment.!

          Comment


          • #6
            Great write up.
            I disagree with the fake field goal but in saying that Hekker made it IMO. You would think with today's technology in the NFL those type of reviews would be no brainers. I blame McVays late play calling as much as Goffs poor throws but hopefully both will improve. You can have a complete defensive backfield of pro bowlers and Breez is still going to torch you when he's sitting back there like its passing drills.

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            • #7
              Peters, in his post-game interview, took full responsibility for his play.

              __________________________________________________________
              Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RamDez View Post
                Peters, in his post-game interview, took full responsibility for his play.
                Given all the rumors and discussion that we've heard or had about his attitude since his acquisition, I'm pleasantly surprised that he owned up to his play. Now the next and more important part is correcting it and doing better on the field.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nick View Post

                  Given all the rumors and discussion that we've heard or had about his attitude since his acquisition, I'm pleasantly surprised that he owned up to his play. Now the next and more important part is correcting it and doing better on the field.
                  To be honest Nick, With the World watching, I don't think he had a lot of choice but give him a prop for that.

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                  Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nick View Post

                    Given all the rumors and discussion that we've heard or had about his attitude since his acquisition, I'm pleasantly surprised that he owned up to his play. Now the next and more important part is correcting it and doing better on the field.
                    What has been said about his attitude since he arrived? Or do you mean his attitude PRIOR to us acquiring him?

                    Now my curiosity is piqued. The last guy on this squad who should be acting cocky and being full of himself is Peters.

                    And as with all claims of "accountability" or "full responsibility" after lousy games, i'll wait to see if he backs it up with improved play.
                    Last edited by NJ Ramsfan1; -11-05-2018, 07:30 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
                      What has been said about his attitude since he arrived? Or do you mean his attitude PRIOR to us acquiring him?
                      I was referencing the reaction that a number of fans had with concerns about his on and off the field antics and attitude when he was acquired by the team.

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                      • #12
                        Doug Farrar of USA Today tweeted this out...

                        Saw three borderline uncalled holds on Dante Fowler in the first quarter alone. He also had a backfield stop of Kamara and a near-sack of Brees in which he shut down a pass play. The Rams put a ton on his plate, and Fowler responded.
                        So hopefully that pass rush help is coming so it isnít all on Donald.

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                        • #13
                          Also, it was quite unsettling to see the Saint's o-line shut down Suh, Donald and Brockers with ease. We usually get some interior pressure even if they don't translate to sacks. There was rarely interior pressure yesterday aside from the few times Donald managed to put a hand on Brees.

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                          • #14
                            So looks like two new fresh edge rushers that should take some of the blockers off the interior D line.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RamDez View Post

                              To be honest Nick, With the World watching, I don't think [MP] had a lot of choice but give him a prop for that.

                              Agreed. To plea an honest 'mea culpa' is important. Now coaches and Peters HAVE to come up with a plan and implement it. It would be a disgrace to see other teams keep taking advantage of this glaring weakness in our defense.

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