2014 Rams – High Level Analysis


It’s really hard to analyze the Rams. I’m not talking about comparing them to other teams, but looking for trends. Like how do they tend to perform on 3rd down when it’s late in the third quarter? The Rams have played such sporadic football this season that I’m not sure you’re going to see a lot of trends. When we look at the team comparisons or rankings, I think we get a pretty good picture of our Rams (although what’s glaringly missing from these numbers are turnovers).

Offense Ranking
passing 11
rushing 18
touch downs 23
total yards 13
Defense Ranking
passing 19
rushing 5
sacks 32
tackles 29

Our offense has seen an increase in both productivity and offensive (passing) output since Austin Davis has been at the helm. Our running backs (Mason and Cunningham) have come through for us in some key situations, but in general they’re still ranked below the median. Again what’s missing from our numbers and our view are turnovers. What QB Davis has brought to the table in terms of energy and bravado has at times been overshadowed by ill timed turnovers. At least 3 times this season we’ve had what appeared to be the final possession of the ball while being within a single score of tying or winning. On all occasions Davis has executed a turnover.

On defense we’ve been extremely tough on the running game which is not our historical SOP. This makes us extremely tough in the red zone and on third down situations. But if a running back breaks through our line, there is a good chance he’ll break at least 1 tackle. Our passing defense is below the median which is still higher than what I expected after seeing our secondary getting picked apart week after week after week. I was surprised to see WR Austin Pettis released recently. I don’t necessarily disagree with the decision, but with all the problems on the defense, I hardly see that move as being very important to the team overall. Getting back to the defense… the last 2 rankings (sacks and tackles) are where we are obviously getting killed. Going into the season our defensive line was ranked first in the NFL. We were expected to be a fearsome sacking machine. How many sacks do we have 2014 to date? 4 (last n the NFL)

So we have a lot of work to do. As far as talent I think we’re pretty much there (except the defensive secondary and I wouldn’t mind see Jenoris Jenkins sitting on the bench, how many times do we have to see him getting burned before we see a change at that position?). Most of what I see is what I’d label ‘under performance’ and that’s a coaching problem. But we have good coaching right? Once again it’s been a tough year for the Rams and for Rams fans. But with all this said, I’d still say our team is on the upswing. For now the main thing I’d like to see is consistency (stop missing tackles, do the fundamentals well) and solid performance during key situations (no more melt downs). There is still a lot of football to be played this season. Hopefully Fisher and company can get some things figured out. Go Rams!!!

Same Ole Rams Beat Seahawks 28-26

Seattle Seahawks v St. Louis Rams

Seems like the Rams have developed a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).   Our SOP is to play well in the first half, gain what seems to be a comfortable lead, come back from the halftime break and let the other team run all over us, wake up late in the 4th quarter, and then play valiantly for a short period of time at the very end of the game. Now we stray from this formula a little, but the trend is becoming clear.

Usually the outcome of this kind of play is negative and we lose. Today we followed our SOP to the letter and somehow came away with a win.

Just like last week against the 49ers we went up early against the Seahawks.  Two Austin Davis TD passes and an eighty yard punt return by Stedman Bailey and the Rams had an 18 point lead (3-21) with 7 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter.

Unlike last week’s game we did not cough up a last second half ending TD. Well, we did, but were saved by a Seahawks holding penalty which wiped it out. Instead, the Seahawks were held to a field goal and the Rams went into the half with a much more comfortable lead of 6-21.

Just like weeks past the Rams came out in the second half and displayed a typical meltdown. The Seahawks owned the play clock as they marched 82 yards and then 92 yards for back to back touchdowns.

After missing a 2 point conversion the Seahawks had closed to within 2 points of the Rams (19-21) with nearly 10 minutes left in the game. Straying a little from the formula the Rams then pulled off an impressive 80 yard drive that ended in another short Austin Davis TD pass.

This score had little effect on the Seahawks as they immediately returned the favor with their own 80 yard drive also culminating in a TD. The score is Seattle 26 – Rams 28. At 3:18 left in the game our SOP is to be a score down, have possession of the ball, and have barely time for 1 final drive. This time we lead by 2 points and have one final drive to run out the clock. We have to get a first down or we will lose this game.

The Rams run 3 plays, but barely burn 20 seconds off the clock. It’s fourth down and my jaw has hit the floor.   All we needed was a single first down and game over, but nooooo. We’re in punt formation and the ball is snapped. Hekker breaks out and passes the ball to Cunningham.

IT’S A FAKE PUNT!!! The pass is good and Cunningham has the first down. GO RAMS!!! This game is all but over when Tre Mason runs the ball off the left tackle. He busts through the line and fumbles the ball!!! Everyone scatters and the Rams have the ball. No wait… the ball is loose and the Seahawks have the ball in the middle of the field with a minute remaining.

NOOOO. Disaster has shown his ugly face again, but wait… the officials step in and say the ball is dead at the spot of the initial recovery. From the replay it looked like the ball was still live, but the officials called it as they saw it. The Seahawks are out of timeouts and cannot challenge. The Rams kneel down and the game is over. The Rams win the game 26-28 and the crowd goes wild.

Although I’m extremely frustrated by the Rams sporadic style of play, hats off to Jeff Fisher for such a gutsy call. The fake punt (along with some lucky officiating) made the difference in the game. The Rams season record improves to 2-4 as we beat this very tough division opponent.   The scoring summary is below. Go Rams!!!

Team 1 2 3 4 T
SEA 3 3 7 13 26
STL 7 14 0 7 28

49ers vs Rams – Another Heartbreaker

charlie_brown_lucy_football(Ever felt duped?  Again, and again, and again?)

If you watched the first half of the game you were feeling pretty good. In the first quarter we took a 14-0 lead after a 80 yard drive completed with a 1 yard run (RB Cunningham) and another (55 yard drive) finished with a 22 yard pass to Kendricks. In the 2nd quarter the 49ers were able to score a field goal, but the Rams were still basically in control. So the half is about to end. There are 14 seconds remaining and the 49ers are deep in their own territory. The 49ers throw a deep pass to a wide open Brandon Loyd (covered by S Jenkins) who takes it all the way for a touch down. Bone crushing. Worse. It’s like someone ran their fingers down the chalkboard of my soul. Forever reverberating. The play changed the course of the game.

We come back out of the halftime break and I hope I’m the only one whose soul ‘s crushed with that last 49ers play. Maybe everything is fine? 12 plays and 80 yards later the 49ers score on another touchdown pass and S Jenkins is burned again. The Rams couldn’t recover. Up until 4 minutes remaining in the game the Rams had only gained 18 yards on offense (1 first down) in the entire second half. Where did the team go? Then in true Rams fashion we come up with yet another valiant (but futile) game ending effort. Our defense comes up strong with not 1, but 2 4th down defensive stands.   We score a field goal and with a little more than a minute left we are 7 points down and have the ball for 1 final drive.

I’ve already been searching Google for ‘Rams support groups’ and ‘sports induced depression’ when I find we’re kind of back in this game. So after suffering through nearly 2 quarters of miserable Rams football my heart (against my wishes) begins to bleed blue and gold again. Davis throws a quick 6 yard pass to Cunningham. My emotions leave the realm of depression and near the state of mania. The ball is snapped and Davis throws a short pass to the right which is intercepted (Johnson) and run back for a 49ers TD. And game over. (Final score: 49ers 31 – Rams 17) Is it possible to lose a game in a more painful manner? I used to say, “well, at least I’m not an Oakland Raiders fan”, but even that has lost its consolatory value as our season record just sank to 1-4.

Does anyone know where Janoris Jenkins lives? Is it still funny to toilet paper someone’s home? Next week we take on the 3-2 Seattle Seahawks. That should be fun right? Go Rams!

49ers vs Rams – Game Preview



I went back and looked at the last 4 contests between us and the 49ers.  I thought something might stand out as a key to the game, but nothing did.  All four games were uniquely different.  Here is my summary:

Date Site Commentary Score1 Score2
12/01/2013 at SF stats very close Rams 13 SF 23
09/26/2014 home completely shut down our run game and ran for over 200 yards Rams 11 SF 35
12/02/2013 home SF ran better 4.1 vs 3.1 avg, other stats similar, SF had 1 t/o and Rams none (we won in OT) Rams 16 SF 13
11/11/2013 at SF SF sacked us 5 to 2, STL had 1 t/o, we passed 150 more yards Rams 24 SF 24

 So we’re stuck talking about the basics: control SF RB Frank Gore, get pressure on QB Kaepernick and make sure he’s always accounted for (the man can run), don’t leave their receivers wide open… yada, yada, yada.  In other words play good.  Our games against the 49ers are always very physical and of course this game has the added dimension of being on Monday Night Football.  A national audience always gets the blood boiling.

Let’s be honest… we’ve been playing bad in just about every area.  Philly had its way with our o-line.  We can’t seem to stop the run for our lives, and we havent’ had an offensive run over 20 yards all year.  If we play this way next Monday, we’re gonna get hurt.  Now, can we win?  Absolutely.  We have the ability and playing on MNF gives us the motivation.  We have to want it more than the 49ers.  The 49ers have been sloppy and sporadic.  Their defense is not what it used to be and Kaepernick has been the poster child of confusion on occasion.  They are hanging just above .500 for the season and are prime for a take down.

So let’s do this!  Go Rams!!!


Poll: MNF – Who Wins the NFC West Battle – Rams or 49ers?

San Francisco 49ers vs St. Louis Rams

NFL Week Six Capsule – San Francisco at St.Louis MNF



MON. RECORD 45-25 26-30
STREAKS 2 of past 3  
COACHES VS. OPP. Harbaugh: 4-1-1 Fisher: 3-4-1
LAST WEEK W 22-17 vs. Chiefs L 34-28 at Eagles
LAST GAME 12/1/13: Rams 13 at 49ers 23. San Francisco TE Vernon Davis has 82 receiving yards, including 17-yard TD catch. 49ers WR Anquan Boldin adds 9 receptions for 98 yards.
LAST GAME AT SITE 9/26/13: 49ers 35, Rams 11. San Francisco RB Frank Gore rushes for 153 yards & TD. Boldin catches 5 passes for 90 yards & TD. Davis adds 12-yard TD reception.
BROADCAST ESPN (7:30 PM CT): Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters (Field reporter). Westwood One: Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Hub Arkush (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 93 (SF), 92 (StL). XM: 88 (WW1), 225 (SF), 226 (StL).


PASSING Kaepernick: 97-150-1113-7-4-91.3 A. Davis: 97-143-1129-6-3-96.8
RUSHING Gore: 77-365 (3C)-4.7-1 Stacy: 53-223-4.2-1
RECEIVING Boldin: 25-303-12.1-0 Quick: 21-322-15.3-3
OFFENSE 352.0 392.8
TAKE/GIVE +5 (2C) -3
DEFENSE 282.8 (2L) 344.8
SACKS J. Smith: 3 Donald (R): 1
INTs Cox: 3 (T1L) 3 tied: 1
PUNTING Lee: 47.1 Hekker: 43.6
KICKING Dawson: 44 (3C) (11/11 PAT; 11/13 FG) Zuerlein: 30 (9/9 PAT; 7/8 FG)


49ERS:Have won past 6 on MNF, outscoring opp. 164-49…QB COLIN KAEPERNICK went 2-0 with 113.4 rating last year vs.StL. Is 3-0 on MNF with 6 TDs, 0 INTs & 126.8 rating. Has 100+ rating in all 3…RB FRANK GORE aims for 5th in row vs. StL with TD. Has 15 rush TDs in past 14 meetings…WR MICHAEL CRABTREE aims for 4th MNF game in row with 100+ yards or TD. TE VERNON DAVIS aims for 3rd in row vs. StL with TD. Since 2009 (incl. playoffs), is 2nd in NFL with 53 rec. TDs. WR STEVIE JOHNSON aims for 3rd in row with TD catch. WR ANQUAN BOLDIN has 97 catches & 1,326 yards in career vs. StL, his most vs. opp. Has 5 TDs in past 4 on MNF…In 10/4/09 meeting, LB PATRICK WILLIS had 2.5 sacks & 23-yard INT-TD. Is only player in team history with 2.5+ sacks & INT-TD in game. Since entering NFL in 2007, is only player with 20+ sacks (20.5), 15+ FF (16) & 8+ INTs (8). DT JUSTIN SMITH has 3.5 sacks in past 3 on MNF…RAMS: QB AUSTIN DAVIS has 300+ yards & 3+ TDs in past 2 starts. QB SHAUN HILL played 3 seasons with SF (2007-09). Played 18 games with 16 starts (10 wins) & had 87.3 rating…RB ZAC STACY rushed for 134 yards in only MNF game (10/28/13 vs. Sea.). Had 4 100-yard rush games in past 7 at home…WR BRIAN QUICK had career-high 2 TDs last week. Has 3 TDs in past 2. Had TD catch in last meeting. WR KENNY BRITT had TD last week. WR-PR TAVON AUSTIN has 6 career TDs (4 rec., 1 rush, 1 PR)…DE ROBERT QUINN had sack in last home meeting. Has 4 sacks in 3 career MNF games. Has 20 sacks in past 21. Since entering NFL in 2012, CB JANORIS JENKINS has 4 INT-TDs, tied for most in NFL. Since entering NFL in 2009, LB JAMES LAURINAITIS is only player with 12+ sacks (12) & 9+ INTs (9).

Rams vs Eagles – To Little Too Late


In performance management, sports psychology, and dog training you know you never want to reinforce the wrong behavior. A good example in sports media is when a fan runs on the field and TV crews don’t show it. I think we need to employ the same strategy with the Rams. Today the Rams exposed us to 3 quarters of terrible football. I was so dull and depressed I wrote this

In the first half there were 2 small boys playing air hockey right under the large projection screen showing the Rams/Eagles game. They looked to be about 8 and 10. The 10 year old was quite a bit bigger that the 8 year old. Neither one looked very good at air hockey, but to look at the expressions on their faces you’d think they were world champions.   They played with exuberance; laughing, giggling, playfully teasing, and joyfully dancing. They were much more fun than watching the Rams game.

In the second half a little league baseball team took over the table. This time the table was lined with spectators. I don’t think either player was really favored as both contenders were loudly cheered onward. There was some playful jostling for table position, but mostly there was just a lot of laughter. #15 had the best run, but his reign was cut short when the pepperoni pizza was served.”

Then they (Rams) played with efficiency and bravado in the 4th quarter. I’m sitting with a bunch of Eagles fans for the whole game. They treated me like an unwanted fly on the wall. Suddenly, I’m some kind of vicious creature that eats eagles. Everyone in the room looked at me with fear. “Could this hapless, penalty riddled, weak team make the greatest comeback in the history of the NFL (I’m not kidding it would have been)? I got to tell ya, I enjoyed the moment, but we didn’t. So I don’t want to be encouraged or to have Rams fans encouraged by this near comeback. We lost again. You can’t play 3 quarters of bad football and expect to win after playing a good one at the end. So, absolutely no pats on the back for this flailing final effort. I mean it.

St Louis Rams players… shame on you. St Louis Rams coaches… double shame on you. You started the game in an embarrassing way (punt blocked for an Eagle TD). Bad. Bad St Louis Rams! No! No!!! Then you came out of the half and what did you do? On your first offensive possession you fumbled the ball and it was run back for another Eagle TD. You’re grounded. Everyone of you. I mean it. Go to your rooms. This has got to stop. What happened to the disciplined Jeff Fisher teams of the past? Bad Jeff Fisher. Bad!!!

Ok… a little about the second half.

  • First drive of the half Rams fumble and give the Eagles 7
  • With 8:31 in the 3rd QTR the Rams defense make a great stop forcing the Eagles to punt. This was a clutch stop. Another Eagles score here and the game would have been over
  • Stacy fumbles the ball which is recovered by the Eagles
  • 2 plays later Nick Foles throws a TD pass to a wide open Jeremy Maclin
  • With the third quarter ending the Rams drive the field. The drive is punctuated with a 14 TD run/explosion by Rams RB Cunningham. Cunningham was the star of the game. He had 71 all purpose yards and a TD for the day.
  • With 12:03 remaining in the 4th, QB Foles runs for a first down and coughs it up. Rams ball.
  • 9:02 and Davis is under pressure, he rolls out to his right and hits WR Britt for a 30 yard TD pass. The score is 21-34. The Rams gain hope from this thrilling play.
  • Once again the Rams defense makes an important possessional stop
  • Rams come up with another successful drive that ends in a 5 yard TD pass to WR Quick. The score is Rams 28 – Eagles 34 with 4:41 remaining in the game
  • AGAIN, the Rams defense holds. The Rams have the ball deep in their own territory.
  • The Rams make a valiant effort, but on 4th and 13 their final pass is incomplete.

Ok, the end of the game was a thriller, but Bad Rams… Bad! We are now 1-3 and next week we play the very tough (and arch enemy) SF 49ers. Valiant near victories are becoming very cheap in my eyes. Let’s master the fundamentals baby. Master the fundamentals. Go Rams!!!

Rams vs Eagles – 1st Half Summary


We basically have to write off the 1st QTR. The Rams did very little in the first quarter other than a consolatory defensive hold forcing the Eagles to settle for a field goal. The game started off in the worst possible way. After 3 and out, the Rams’ punt was blocked and subsequently returned for an Eagles TD (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?). That really gives a solid feel for how the rest of the quarter went. I won’t even punish you by describing more.

In the second quarter things picked up for both teams. In their second drive of the quarter the Rams made their way down to the Eagles 5 yard line. The score was 13-0 Eagles so a score here would definitely have relieved the pain. It’s 3rd and 5 and QB Davis is in shotgun formation. The ball is hiked and Curry, an Eagles defensive lineman, shot past the line of scrimmage completely untouched and pounded Davis who coughed up the ball. A half dozen plays later Eagles QB Foles tosses a bomb that is intercepted by Rams safety Gaines. The Rams would then drive the length of the field and score their one and only TD of the half (8 yard pass from Davis to Quick). Its 13-7 and the Rams might be turning things around.

Umm, not so quick. The Rams are pushed down the field. The Eagles have been playing physically tougher all day and it felt like they manhandled us all the way down the field. This time there is no consolation as the Eagles finish the drive on a 9 yard TD pass to Eagles receiver Cooper.

So its halftime and with the score Rams 7 – Eagles 20, the Rams really need to toughen up and execute. Missed tackles and way more penalties than the Eagles were the watermark of the first half. It’s time to turn it around. Go Rams!!!