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Ram View: Week 10 – Part II

RamView, November 15, 2009
From Row HH
(Report and opinions from the game.)
Game #9: Saints 28, Rams 23

* QB: Marc Bulger (26-40-298, 93.5 rating) had a blockbuster movie type of a game. Very good numbers, a few thrills, but you’re left just a little wanting at the end. No doubt some were thinking of disaster movies after Usama Young, making it sound like the terrorists won, picked Bulger off in the end zone in the first. Keenan Burton (who blew out a knee on the play) was open for a split second, but Young played it perfectly and ultimately, Bulger tried to force a throw there he shouldn’t have. The Rams drive into scoring position again in the 2nd, and aagh, it looks like another disaster when Bulger fails about three times to unload to Steven Jackson, gets sacked and fumbles. But after Jackson bails him out, Bulger steps up with a dead-perfect 29-yard pass to Donnie Avery, running a corner route to the left pylon, for a game-tying TD. Bulger scrambled around forever in the 3rd before finding Daniel Fells in the middle for 19 to set up a FG. No thanks to dropped passes, the offense stalled several times after that. But with 4:25 left to play, Bulger drove the Rams 80 yards in 1:41 to pull them close. He hit Brandon Gibson (!) and Daniel Fells for 23 apiece before hitting Avery, this time at the right pylon, for a 19-yard TD. Again, it’s a pretty pass only Avery could catch, thrown to his back shoulder so he could come back for it. With about 2:00 left, Bulger got a rare-lately chance to win the Rams a game. He made up for his infamous lapse of judgment in Detroit by scrambling for a first down on 2nd-and-4, heading out-of-bounds upright. That and a clutch 4th-down catch by Gibson looked like rallying points. But lacking timeouts, the Rams didn’t manage the clock well. They followed an 11-yard pass to Randy McMichael over the middle not with a spike, but with a screen to Jackson for 4 yards, expending a costly 20 seconds. And on third down with 19 seconds left, another middle dumpoff to Jackson comes up short. The Rams rush a Hail Mary play with time expiring, and with Gibson STANDING ALL ALONE on the far sideline, Bulger’s bomb into the opposite corner of the end zone is barely even in bounds, and the Rams settle for close-but-no-cigar. Bulger did a lot of good today. He threw well, did a pretty good job of avoiding pressure, and the passing game had good rhythm even after the loss of another receiver. At the same time, the Young INT’s on him. The late passes to Jackson, though maybe not all on him, were still questionable. And it really stood out today that Bulger didn’t put Jackson in good position to run after the catch. Bulger did put up better numbers today than certain Pro Bowler Drew Brees did. But there were still enough mistakes to keep him from leading the team to a win.


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