Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rams vs Redskins- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Here is "The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly" concerning Sunday's game, just to give you a better sense on how the team did, other than just an article highlighting the main events of the game...

-As always, Steven Jackson was a helpful factor during the game. His 42-yard TD run was obviously the highlight of his game. Jackson continues to look fully recovered from his back surgery this past off-season.

-Back-up running-back Kenneth Darby had a solid game in place of Jackson. Darby's performance may be due to the fact that Washington was showing no respect for the Rams' running game after Jackson left, but regardless, Darby got the job done. Darby's highlight of the game was his 12-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. 

-Once again, quarterback Sam Bradford exceeds expectations. He had a couple of questionable throws (such as his interception), but he still continues to impress, as he threw for 235 yards and 1 TD Sunday. Bradford continues to look like the latest in the recent surge of successful rookie quarterbacks; such as Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlesberger, and (to a lesser extent) Mark Sanchez. But when you consider the quality of team Bradford is on, as oppose to those other quarterbacks, it is hard to not get excited about the Rams' future.

-Bradford was able to get some help from his receivers. Tight-end Daniel Fells had a couple of key receptions, including a touchdown. Wide-receiver Mark Clayton had another successful day, grabbing five catches, and racking up 85 yards. Receiver Danny Amendola continues to be a weapon in the slot, as he had over 50 yards on the day. It was also nice to finally see Brandon Gibson get involved (3 catches for 33 yards), as he has not played in the first two games.

-The Rams' defense continues to look like a solid unit, as they held Washington to only one touchdown. The solid young core of this defense is clear to anyone; this core includes defensive-end Chris Long, linebacker James Laurinaitis, and cornerback Bradley Fletcher (who had an interception Sunday). Those three players will be very good for the Rams, for a very long time. However, the veterans also helped out; safety James Butler had a fumble recovery (that he returned inside the 10-yard line), and that fumble was forced by linebacker Na'il Diggs. Defensive-end James Hall recorded the Rams' only sack of the day.

-It has been the same story with the defense ever since the preseason. The line is not getting enough pressure, which gives the opposing quarterback too much time, and that forces them to rely too heavily on the defensive-backs. A pass-rushing defensive-end, to play on the opposite side of Chris Long, should be a high priority this off-season.

-Steven Jackson made his contribution with the touchdown, but he did not perform particularly well the rest of the game. With his other nine carries, he only gained 16 yards. His 42-yard score kept his average above 5 yards per carry.

-Jason Smith is not impressing a lot of people. He had two penalties on the day, and when he wasn't getting flagged, he was on his back. What the scouts saw in him, I'll never know. But whatever they saw, I hope it shows up sometime soon.

-Special teams gave up a blocked field goal at the end of the first half. It was the second time this season that they've allowed a blocked kick, and kicker Josh Brown also missed a field goal against Oakland last week. The field-goal unit needs to get their act together, because this is absolutely unacceptable.

-Steven Jackson's groin injury could be trouble if he misses significant time. The injury is only a strain, and he is considered "day-to-day", which means it will likely be a game time decision whether he plays or not against Seattle. On Sunday, the Rams seemed to do fine without him, and it allowed them to experiment with passing schemes we haven't seen before, but it will only be a matter of time before opposing teams react effectively to those schemes. Jackson is still the core of this offense, and they need him back on the field.

-The red-zone offense was pretty brutal. The offensive-line has struggled to make holes for the running-backs during goal-line situations all season. At the end of the first half, while the offense was on the goal-line, they had about six opportunities to score a touchdown, and failed each time. It was actually pretty pathetic. And to make matters worse, the blocked field-goal was the end-result. This team has to do better with their goal-line offense.  

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