Monday, November 21, 2011

Rams vs Seahawks: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The St. Louis Rams (2-8) fell victim to the Seattle Seahawks (4-6) with a final score of 24-7. It was an absolute embarrassment for the Rams in front of their home crowd at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. 

Prior to the Seattle game, the Rams had won two of their last three games, and even the one loss during that three game stretch came against the Arizona Cardinals in a close battle that ended in overtime. 

For a moment it seemed as though the Rams were done rolling over for second-tier NFL teams, but just when things began to improve, Seattle came to town to serve a big plate full of reality. 

The Rams, as a team, are completely lost. The offense they put on the field against Seattle was nothing short of an embarrassment to the fanbase and the entire city of St. Louis. 

Putting up only seven total points against a beatable opponent on your home field is unacceptable even for a high school team, but when it happens to a professional team it's just a shining example of how lost and incompetent the leadership really is. 

But for now, here is the breakdown of Sunday's game against Seattle...

The Good

The fact that Seattle scored 24 points might suggest the defense had a below average game, but that's not the case. They actually played an excellent game. 

The pathetic Rams offense can only have so many three-and-outs before the defense gets winded and starts coughing up points. If the Rams were capable of fielding even a half-competent offense then the defense would have likely held Seattle to less than ten points. 

Safety Quintin Mikell had a solid start to the game, recording a forced fumble and an interception on back-to-back plays. The other safety, Darian Stewart, continued to look like a rising star with eight tackles and a sack. 

James Laurinaitis was a madman with 13 tackles, while defensive ends Chris Long, James Hall and Robert Quinn each recorded a sack (Quinn had a blocked punt as well). 

Linebacker Chris Chamberlain had an interception early in the first quarter, but was very average for the remainder of the game.

Brandon Lloyd is the only offensive player worth mentioning—he had five catches for 67 yards, including a 30 yard touchdown reception for the Rams' only score of the game.  

The Bad

Sam Bradford had an awful game. It was just absolutely terrible, but that's not to say he was even given the opportunity to succeed to begin with. 

The pass blocking was atrocious. For every play Bradford had decent protection, there were three where he could feel Seattle's defensive line breathing down his neck. His blindside was completely vulnerable for the majority of the game. 

Also, the receivers struggled with dropped passes once again. 

You can't blame Bradford when his line is committing stupid personal foul and false start penalties (all while providing no protection), and his receivers drop passes and have zero physical presence. But it is fair to say he wasn't on top of his game.

Steven Jackson was another player that didn't play up to his full potential. He had 42 yards on 15 carries (2.8 yards per carry) and no touchdowns. But like Bradford, Jackson is only as good as his linemen allow him to be.

The Ugly

This doesn't necessarily involve the Seattle game alone, but here are some ugly thoughts concerning the current state of the Rams offense...

Josh McDaniels was brought to St. Louis because he was thought of as an offensive guru that ran an offense that was compatible with the strengths of Sam Bradford. 

The Rams refused to hire a quarterback coach to guide Bradford. The team was under the impression that McDaniels would take Bradford under his wing while simultaneously operating the entire offense. 

Not only has Bradford regressed under McDaniels' watch, but the entire offense has seemingly been reduced to debris. 

Bradford has only five touchdown passes in eight games, while the rest of the offense has been equally awful:

- Yards per game (297.9, ranked 30th)

- Total points (120, ranked 32nd)

- Points per game (12.0, ranked 32nd)

- Yards per play (4.5, ranked 31st)

- Third-down efficiency (29.1 percent, ranked 32nd)

- Penalties (74, ranked 24th)

Another offensive coach, besides McDaniels, who should not be overlooked is offensive line coach Steve Loney. Loney was the only coach retained from the Scott Linehan era, which is mind-boggling considering the line was equally bad during those years. 

Here's what old Steve has been given to work with...

Jacob Bell ($36 million free agent), Jason Smith (No. 2 overall pick, 2009), Jason Brown ($37.5 million free agent), Rodger Saffold (No. 33 overall pick, 2010), Harvey Dahl ($16 million free agent). 

Every lineman Loney has put his hands on has regressed dramatically. He should have been fired three different times by now. 

When you consider the less than brilliant moves made by the team, such as not hiring a quarterback coach and retaining Loney, it's really not that hard to believe how bad the Rams offense has been. 

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