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Rams Are ‘Frightening’ At Wembley

Well, Halloween came early for the Rams.  They did draw first blood with a 50 yard TD strike from Bradford to Givens to open the game, but after that things got pretty scary.  There was this big Frankenstein (or Gronkenstein) like guy no one on the Rams defensive secondary wanted to be around.  So they minded their own business and let him do his thing.  His thing yesterday resulted in 8 catches for 146 yards and 2 touch downs.  Scary…  Rookie CB Janoris Jenkins suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns over most of his body.  Just about everyone on the defense was torched as they allowed 152 rushing yards on 25 carries (6.1 yards per rush).   They also allowed 321 yards passing and 6 NE touch downs (four passing, two rushing).  Finally, CB Bradley Fletcher, like some kind of Vampire ‘friendly’ from the Blade Triology, served up three 3rd down pass interference penalties allowing NE to continue seemingly stalled offensive drives.  (There is nothing worse than having one of your guys working for the other side.)

Ok, I’m just about out of Halloween analogies.  I have to laugh or otherwise I’d cry.  On the biggest regular season stage of the year the Rams were embarrassing.  So far I’ve only looked at the defense, but I can assure you the stats for the offense are equally frightening.  The few times the Rams were able to create momentum and move across the field they were hit with ‘false start’ or ‘holding’ penalties.  The penalties resulted in extended and failed drives.  Sam Bradford played ok completing 30 attempts for 205 yards, a TD, and a QB rating of 88.9.  Problem is we were up against the highest scoring team in the NFL and playing ok just doesn’t get it done (Brady’s QB rating was 131.1).  In fact at the completion of yesterday’s game NE had at least 350 yards of total offense for the 17th straight game, breaking an NFL record set by the Rams in 1999-2000, back when Kurt Warner was leading ”The Greatest Show on Turf.”

Since we are getting a little nostalgic, let’s go all the way back to the beginning of the season.  No, let’s go even further… Let’s go back to our first exposure to Jeff Fisher in the preseason.  Fisher introduces us to the ‘New Look’ St Louis Rams.  A team whose foundation is an in-your-face running game backed up by an extraordinary special teams squad.  Has Fisher since succumbed to some Vulcan mind melt that went sideways? We knew going into the season, before key starters were injured, that our O-line was going to be weak.  They seemed pretty good moving forward (run blocking), but had big problems stepping back (pass protecting).  We knew this right?  So now why are we showing up against the Patriots employing basically the same passing game plan as they do?  What we are trying to do is not in our current DNA.  Remember the plan?  Rebuild this year… next year after using our great draft picks we try to take our team to the next level (playoffs).  I think Fisher might have been stung by early success and led us down a path which is a bad fit.

And what has happened to our special teams?  They were the best in the league in the first part of the season.  It was super nice to see a couple Rams players receiving awards and being at the top of Fantasy rankings.  Even in our losses I could always point to the mild consolation that our punt kicking was better than our opponent’s.  That wasn’t the case in yesterday’s match up.  Hekker, what’s up man?  And the one field goal we attempted yesterday was a complete disaster.  A slight tangent here, but I’m going to finish up and I want to throw it in…  Did you know we didn’t get a single sack on Tom Brady?  Ram’s coaching staff… are you alive?  THE ENTIRE WORLD KNOWS THAT IF YOU DON’T PRESSURE TOM BRADY HE WILL EAT YOU FOR LUNCH.  Rams defense should see this scream directed at them, but ultimately it’s something Rams coaching has to drive home as a pillar component of the game plan.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m super glad we’re going into a bye week so the Rams can figure some things out.  Here’s what I don’t want moving forward (which I kind of expect), the Rams come out all fired up against the 49ers.  They win the game because they had 2 weeks to prepare and then we go on to lose the rest of our games because we’ve forgotten what our core talent structure was or is and as a result are unable to make the appropriate critical adjustments.  Yes, I definitely want to crush the 49ers, but what I really want is a Rams team that is building towards the future versus a paycheck to paycheck (or game to game) style organization.  Clarity, improvement, and consistency of effort and design are crucial.

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