Sunday, October 16, 2011

St. Louis Rams Week 4 Report Card: Grading Every Unit

Another week and another loss for the St. Louis Rams (0-5) at Lambeau Field against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers (6-0). 

Despite 441 total offensive yards by the Rams, their only score came on a Josh Brown field goal. The final score was 24-3. 

Green Bay entered the game averaging 34.6 points per game, so the fact the Rams held them to 24 points was a positive. In fact, the Packers scored less points against the Rams than any other team they've faced in 2011. 

If you're a Rams fan and watched the game already at peace with the fact that they would not win, then you saw a lot of positives and some familiar negatives, but overall you saw a considerable amount of improvement. 

But if you were holding out hope that the Rams would somehow upset the Packers, igniting a juggernaut run to the NFC West title, then chances are you were emotionally crushed for the fifth time in a row.

The Rams did some good things on the field, but there was obviously some slackers as well, given the 21-point loss.

Here are the Week 6 grades for each unit...


Sam Bradford is on an 0-5 team and threw for 321 yards against the defending Super Bowl champs and has fewer interceptions (two) than the quarterback of that team, Aaron Rodgers (three).

It's pretty obvious that he's not a problem for the Rams. 

There's are unintelligent people from every NFL fanbase, so the Rams are no exception. You might find a Rams fan out there willing to throw Bradford under the bus, but it's completely unwarranted. 

However, he's not perfect either.

Despite his 321 yards, his grade get knocked down a bit for having no touchdowns as well as for under throwing Danario Alexander in the end-zone, resulting in an interception.

The Rams might be dying for weapons at receiver, or for lineman who can block. They may even be panicking a bit when it comes to finding Steven Jackson's eventual replacement at running back. But the last thing anyone should be concerned with is the quarterback position, the Rams have solidity at that spot moving forward.


The Rams offensive line gave up six sacks when they faced the Washington Redskins two weeks ago, so in comparison to that game they looked pretty good.

But then again, five shopping carts lined side-by-side would've performed better against the Redskins than the Rams' offensive line. 

All-in-all, they made some strides during the bye week and looked like a much more respectable unit, but they were still very average. Combine that with some false starts and holding penalties and the group is still leaving a lot to be desired.


Steven Jackson entered the game against the Packers completely healthy. It was his first time entering a game healthy since the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Jackson rushed for 96 yards on 18 carries (5.3 yards per carry) against a defense who's much stronger against the run than the pass. 

Cadillac Williams also had some success against the Packers in a relief role. He had 24 yards on four carries (6.0 yards per carry) as well as a nine-yard reception. 

It was a solid effort by the backfield, but their biggest gain was only 13 yards, and they failed to find the end zone (not that they were ever in a position to score), so there was some room for improvement.


The receivers had a solid outing when considering how poorly the Rams offense has been moving the ball at times this season. 

After some impressive moments in 2010, everyone knew Danario Alexander possessed some big-play talent. At 6'5" with a solid 4.3 second 40-yard dash, he was considered a potential weapon, but the major concern was whether or not his knee would hold up after numerous operations. 

Not only has his knee held up fine since starting the 2011 season, but he's been phenomenal in an offense that's been starving for more playmakers. 

Alexander had six catches for 91 yards against the Packers and is leading Rams receivers with 287 yards. He didn't play receiver during the team's Week 1 match-up against Philadelphia, but if he continues his production, he could eventually be on pace for a 1,000-yard season.

He wasn't the only one with a solid game. Rookies Greg Salas and Lance Kendricks both had over 70 yards. Salas led the team in receptions with eight.

Brandon Gibson also contributed with four catches for 43 yards.

It would've been a great outing if they pulled in a few touchdowns, but instead, they had none. Combine that with a few dropped balls, which is a recurring theme with them, as well as a false start penalty on Kedricks, and the group loses some points.


The Rams defensive line was incapable of pressuring Aaron Rodgers. 

The pocket was solid and edges were secure. When a quarterback as good as Rodgers feels comfortable, you cannot expect to win. 

Green Bay receivers were running wild, which is partially on the secondary, but the line is to blame as well. When Gary Gibson is the only one to record a sack, something is wrong. 

However, it wasn't all bad—for the first time in 2011, the Rams defense did not allow a team to rush for more than 100 yards. The Packers are not known for their running game, but holding them to under 100 yards on the ground (96) is a moral victory at the very least.


Throughout the first, third and fourth quarters, the Rams defense held the Packers to only three combined points. The difference was the 21 points scored in the second quarter. 

It was mentioned in the introduction to this article that the Rams defense held the powerful Green Bay offense to fewer points than any other team that has faced the Packers in 2011. 

Surely someone had to do something positive on defense to accomplish this. 

The answer: the linebackers, particularly James Laurinaitis. 

Laurinaitis and Chris Chamberlain, who started in the place of Ben Leber, were flying around the field. 

They are the primary reason the Packers converted only four of their 13 third-down conversions. They also played a major role in limiting the Packers run game and holding them under 100 yards.


The Packers produced very little offense on the ground, which obviously means the majority of their offense came through the air. 

Aaron Rodgers threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, and the Green Bay receivers ran wild.

Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings combined for 186 receiving yards. Throw in a 35-yard touchdown catch by James Jones and it's clear it was not the secondary's finest game. 

The only thing you need to see to get an idea of their performance is watch Jordy Nelson's 93-yard touchdown catch. Darian Stewart and Al Harris were in the area, but they collided with each other while attempting to make a tackle, which allowed Nelson to break free. It was very symbolic of the groups overall performance.

Safety Quintin Mikell, as usual, was an exception. He was solid, as expected, and he had a great tackle for a loss in Green Bay's backfield, which denied the Packers on a third-and-one conversion.

Safety Craig Dahl had an interception, which also does something to help the secondary's grade as well. 
Overall, the group is really hoping cornerback Rod Hood is ready to play as soon as he gets up to speed.

No comments:

Post a Comment