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RamView: Week 11 – Part V

RamView, November 22, 2009
From Row HH
(Report and opinions on and from the game.)
Game #10: Arizona 21, Rams 13

* Defensive line / LB: Despite Chris Long’s third sack of the season and a mind-blowing 16 tackles by James Laurinaitis, the Ram front seven was woeful and bears the brunt of the blame for today’s loss. Arizona gashed them for 183 yards rushing and the Rams mounted little pressure with their 4-man rush. They started out fast, with a fumble, then a sack, to kill Arizona drives. Leonard Little whipped Levi Jones and James Hall split a double-team to drop Warner for a big early play, but they were little heard-from the rest of the day, as Arizona commenced with the ground gashing. For all his tackles, Laurinaitis got erased from a lot of plays, too. Deuce Lutui knocked him back five yards on a 12-yard Tim Hightower run. Hightower (14-110) took off for 50 the next play, as Laurinaitis tripped over the feet of LaJuan Ramsey, getting thrown around like a nobody.  Arizona went on to a TD, got the ball back quickly and scored again. Beanie Wells (14-74) got 16 on a pitchout Paris Lenon never saw coming. Hightower beat a nickel package for 11 more, with the center knocking Laurinaitis back. Then TE Ben Patrick beat the rookie MLB for 27 to set up the TD. More of the same the next drive. Hightower counter left for 10. You know it’s a bad day when your defense is getting blocked by Dan Kreider and Anthony Becht, who couldn’t block to save their lives as Rams. The Rams burn themselves with a zone blitz a couple of plays later, leaving Little on Anquan Boldin downfield. Yeah, not a good matchup. Boldin gained 38 down to the 1, and Wells ran through Larry Grant for the Cardinals’ third straight TD, and even though the Rams had unknowingly knocked Kurt Warner out of the game that drive, game over. The bashing continued for another drive in the 3rd before the Rams realized that Matt Leinart is such an awful QB they could sell out against the run. Victor Adeyanju stuffed a run to start a 3-and-out. David Vobora stripped Becht to force a turnover. Long’s tenacious sack – he got knocked backwards at the start but never quit, re-collecting himself and making a beeline for Leinart – forced another 3-and-out. Only two sacks for the game, though, with Adeyanju, Hall and Long blowing golden chances. They couldn’t do anything against quick passes, usually just getting stood up.  Warner got enough time on some deep drops to start another charity. The Rams didn’t get anything going without blitzing. Granted they’re banged-up, but the tackles were useless for the second straight week. Little was a liability against the run again. OLB play was awful, with Grant blowing tackles and Lenon getting blocked out of plays. Vobora provided spark while he was in, and should have played more; the other OLBs sucked. Laurinaitis can’t do it all. Think they win this game with Will Witherspoon and Chris Draft? Or if they’re not playing flat for at least a half? Even Long said after the game that they came out too flat today. If the Rams are supposed to have a defensive identity right now, I can only assume it’s been stolen.

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