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Ram View: Week 10 – Part IV

Update: I don’t know why I put up Part 4 ahead of Part 3, but I’m going to leave it as is. Whoops! -JR

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

* Offensive line: Even with the starting RG out injured and a rookie manning RT, the Ram offensive line is jelling into a capable unit. Bulger was sacked just twice and Jackson had running room on almost every handoff. Both sacks came in the 2nd quarter. Will Smith stripped Bulger for a fumble early in the quarter after eluding Alex Barron, but Bulger had a couple of chances that play to unload to Jackson. The other sack came late in the half with the pocket breaking down after Jacob Bell appeared to miss his assignment. Not to worry, both drives where Bulger was sacked ended in Ram TDs. Protection was good enough most of the game; the time it needed to be better was the Rams’ very last drive, where Bulger was flushed once and hit as he threw a couple of times. That wasn’t the line’s only difficulty down the stretch, as a series of 3-and-outs threatened to drop the Rams out of contention. Barron false started to kill a late 3rd-quarter drive. Charles Grant punked Jason Smith a couple of times to stuff Jackson and slow up drives. Though timely for New Orleans, those were anomalies. Jackson started the game busting off for 30 off blocks by Karney, Avery and Barron, on the right side in a “heavy” alignment. (That drive ended when Kenneth Darby couldn’t handle a Jonathan Vilma blitz.) A big block by Barron got Jackson 14 to start the 2nd. More strong blocking by Barron, and McMichael, helped Jackson convert a 3rd-and-9 late in the half. Jason Brown had a strong game. Anthony Hargrove was not a factor, and Brown threw some good blocks on the Rams’ 2nd TD drive. His and Adam Goldberg’s surge was key to Jackson’s TD plunge. The Ram linemen all blocked well. Bell and Smith had some good moments. Brown and Goldberg impressed in the middle. And Barron is starting to scare me, because his run-blocking has been so eye-opening lately, chances are improving that he’ll be back in a Ram uniform next year. Let’s also not overlook very solid supporting efforts by McMichael, Karney and Fells. The Ram offensive line is improving to the point now where they can dictate the tempo of the game, and that can only lead to good things.

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