The St. Louis Rams (0-6) fell short once again in a 34-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys (3-3).
The Rams had a lot of factors working against them, such as quarterback Sam Bradford missing the game due to injury, as well as being on the road in Texas. However, excuses are getting very old for Rams fans and patience is running very thin.
The Rams needed a win, regardless of who was playing quarterback, and regardless of where the game was being played. But they failed to get it done.
Here are the keys to their loss against the Cowboys...
1. Incompetent Coaching
The game was not only a loss for the Rams, but it was flat out boring.
It was a snooze fest. You'd think that their 0-5 record would inspire the players to at least put up a thrilling fight regardless of the outcome, but that didn't happen. They continue to be by far the most disappointing team in the NFL this season.
The team was completely uninspired, but apparently the players deserved a trip to Disney Land (aka tickets to the baseball Cardinals' World Series game) for their hard work, because clearly the players on an 0-5 team (now 0-6) should be rewarded. At least that's what head coach Steve Spagnuolo believes.
The coaching staff also believes in running the ball for a third time in a row on 3rd-and-long, despite being down by two touchdowns.
And you'd think that a coach who's been labeled as a "defensive guru" in the past would be able to get his defense to hold a rookie running back under 250 yards, but apparently scheming is not the current coaching staff's strong suit.
Barring a spectacular second half to the season, Steve Spagnuolo will be one of two head coaches who will certainly be fired after the season (the other obviously being Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins).
2. A Career Journeyman Starting At Quarterback
Sam Bradford was held out of the game with a high ankle sprain, so the Rams gave the nod to backup A.J. Feeley.
Feeley didn't have an awful games with all things considered. He went 20-for-33 with 196 yards and an interception.
However, he frequently under or over threw his receivers, and the offense never showed the slightest bit of rhythm. Even their one scoring drive of the game was not a result of the offense finding rhythm, but rather the result of a big gain on the ground by Steven Jackson.
Feeley has a career quarterback rating of 69.3 and a career completion percentage of 55.7 percent. The Rams never really had a legitimate shot at beating Dallas with Feeley under center.
With Bradford's 328 yard performance against the Green Bay Packers last week, and not to mention the addition of Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Lloyd (who had a solid game with 74 yards), it's hard to believe that the offense wouldn't have gained some extra pop with Bradford in the game.
3. Inability to Stop the Run
James Laurinaitis and Quintin Mikell can only to so much on defense. They need support from the guys in front of them and beside them.
Outside linebackers Chris Chamberlain, Bryan Kehl and Brady Poppinga looked like the Three Stooges when it came to tackling.
Also, it's clear that defensive tackle Fred Robbins, despite his nearly Pro Bowl worthy 2010 season, has aged to the point of being useless. There have been plenty of fans commenting on how the Rams should use their 2012 first round draft pick on a cornerback or receiver, but the team will be getting relief at cornerback after their top three guys return from injury in 2012, and they are already seeing relief at receiver with Brandon Lloyd and Mark Clayton (who should be ready to play soon enough). Therefore, it's possible that defensive tackle is the biggest hole on the team.
Giving up 253 rushing yards to a rookie running back is nothing short of pathetic, and the members of the Rams' front eight should be ashamed for the further embarrassment they've brought upon their city.
Before the game got out of hand, the Rams were only trailing 17-7, and ten of the Cowboys' first 17 points came as the result of turnovers by the Rams.
A fumble by Cadillac Williams resulted in Dallas scoring their second touchdown of the game, while A.J. Feeley's interception resulted in a field goal.
It might not seem like much considering the final score of 34-7, but if the Rams entered halftime with the game tied at 7-7 (maybe even winning if they scored points on the two drives they turned the ball over), then the momentum of the game in the second half could have been entirely different.
5. Playing On the Road
The Rams are struggling to win a single game, regardless of where the game is being played.
It's not like the current Rams have a huge advantage at the Edward Jones Dome given their overall inferiority as a professional football team, but home field advantage could have helped them limit the damage.
The Rams are struggling to even be competitive in their games. Outside of their game against the Redskins, they haven't even come close to winning a game. So asking them to win on the road in Dallas was asking for the moon.