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RamView: Week 11 – Defensive Line and Linebackers

Nothing the Ram defense tried today worked, as the one-time league sack leaders failed to get to Atlanta QB Matt Ryan at all. 4-man rush, blitz one, two, three, nothing got there. The Rams players credited Ryan after the game for getting the ball out quickly, but there were plenty of plays where he got a full seven-step drop and still had all day to scan the field. And when he rolled out, the Rams rarely even got a defender in the same zip code. The Falcons succeeded fabulously with extensive use of no-huddle offense. I’m guessing the Rams couldn’t always substitute when they wanted to and couldn’t always get the blitz calls in that they wanted to. Atlanta’s no-huddle was one of the key factors of the game. Had to be Chris Long’s least effective game of the season, rarely putting heat on the QB and being tied in knots by his man against the run. Michael Turner (28-131) just bounced off him for 6 one play like he wasn’t there. Then there was Turner’s coups de grace TD late in the 4th, bursting up the middle after fullback Jason Snelling clocked Long, James Laurinaitis got blocked in the middle and Larry Grant’s run fill proved to be the wrong one. Oshiomogho Atogwe topped off the rotten play with a sloppy missed tackle downfield. If the Rams had gotten a couple of those longer runs stopped, they might well at least have won the game on the ground. Fred Robbins shut Turner down a couple of times and ENGULFED Antoine Smith to blow up an early screen pass. Laurinaitis stuffed Turner a couple of times but also got blocked on a couple of his longer runs. Bradley Fletcher had a very nice game in run support, blowing up Turner a couple of times, including a flip-90 he and James Hall sniffed out for a big loss to force a FG in the first. Hall was fine at stringing out sweeps but is still tending to get caught inside on other runs. Jermelle Cudjo’s tendency was to get trapped in the backfield and lose Turner through the hole he left behind. George Selvie got one of the rare hits on Ryan and blew up a screen to Turner on their final FG drive. Na’il Diggs stuffed Turner a couple of times, too. In run defense, the Rams played a solid, physical game, and if you could take away that last, fairly-meaningless TD run, they got the job done against the Atlanta ground game. They’re going to have to recollect themselves in pass rush, though, where they were as ineffective today as they were in any of last year’s poor outings.

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