Monday, September 12, 2011

Rams vs. Eagles Post-Game: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Well, the St. Louis Rams (0-1) failed to pull off an opening day upset against the Philadelphia Eagles (1-0), and their roster was bombarded with injuries to key positions, but on the positive side there were some positives.

The Rams came out in the first-quarter looking like a team capable of taking down the so called "Dream Team", but in the end the Eagles had pound-for-pound more talent. Combine that with the numerous mental mistakes that the Rams made and there was no way they were going to win the game.

So let's get started...


The Rams defensive line was clearly not up to the task of stopping the run given LeSean McCoy's 122 rushing yards and Michael Vick's 97, but they were not terrible. The pass rush was present—if they were playing against any quarterback other than Vick then they would've had six or more sacks, as oppose to three.

The defensive backs also had a good game. Outside of DeSean Jackson's 41-yard catch, as well as his touchdown catch, the backs kept the receivers relatively in check for most of the game.

Also, the running backs clearly get an A+ for this game. Steven Jackson had 56 yards and a touchdown on only two carries before injuring his quad and leaving the game, and Cadillac Williams did a phenomenal job substituting with 91 yards on 19 carries.


Where to start?

Sam Bradford wasn't terrible. He was able to avoid any interceptions, which is a difficult thing for any young quarterback to do when their team is getting manhandled, but he certainly wasn't at the top of his game. He missed a wide-open Danny Amendola in the end-zone, and he also had a fumble during a sloppy hand off to the running back, which resulted is a defensive touchdown for the Eagles.

The linebackers were also noticeably bad. Besides James Laurinaitis, who had five tackles and a fumble recovery, the linebackers were slow and completely incapable of containing either Vick or McCoy. However, the defensive line deserves their share of the blame as well for the pitiful run defense.

The offensive line had some success with their run blocking, but they looked like five children pushing back grown men whenever they dropped back to pass block. It's no surprise that Bradford couldn't make a difference with Trent Cole, Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins in his face all game, those three combined for four of the Eagles six sacks on Sunday.

But the group most blatantly terrible were the receivers—Brandon Gibson and tight end Lance Kendricks had two drops each (one of Kendricks' drops was a possible touchdown), rookie Greg Salas had a drop and even the sure-handed Danny Amendola let one slip by. They were never going to make a huge difference with Philadelphia's deadly trio at cornerback (Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), but there's no excuse for them blowing the few opportunities that were allowed by the Eagles secondary.


The Rams had a fairly healthy training camp, but they made up for it quickly by getting six of their starters banged up in the first game of the season.

- Sam Bradford (QB) injured his finger, but the x-rays indicate that there was no fracture. There's some concern regarding possible nerve damage, but he's expected to play next Monday night against the New York Giants.

-Steven Jackson (RB) left the game after only two carries with a strained quad. Reports are generally indicating that he'll be out until Week 3, but Jackson indicated on 101 ESPN in St. Louis that he's working towards getting healthy for next week's game, so there's hope.

- Danny Amendola (WR) dislocated his elbow and was initially thought to out for 8-10 weeks, but the latest reports indicate he might not need surgery, which will get him back in action much sooner than expected.

-Ron Bartell (CB) had the most serious injury with a fractured neck that will likely keep him out for the rest of the season. The loss of his coverage skills and veteran leadership will hurt.

-Jason Smith (OT) injured his ankle in what was originally thought to be a high ankle sprain, but it turns out it was a less severe low ankle sprain and he could be ready to play against Giants. He is considered day-to-day.

-Bradley Fletcher (CB) has a sprained toe and is day-to-day. He will likely be ready for the Giants—he almost has to be ready with Bartell's injury making the Rams conerback situation desperate enough.

-C.J. Ah You (DE) has an issue with is wrist that will require a brace, but he will still be able to play. The Rams will likely bring 2011 first round pick Robert Quinn into the mix as a result of Ah You's injury.

As you can see, the Rams bad luck with injuries from just one game is rather... excessive.

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