Thrilling. Exciting. Outstanding. What we’ve been waiting for.
All of the above are words that came to mind during the St. Louis Rams 24-22 upset of the Arizona Cardinals. The problem is there are other words that also percolated during the game, as the Rams moved to 2-2 on the season and 2-0 in the NFC West.
Infuriating. Disgusting. Pissed off.
How is it possible for St. Louis to dominate Seattle, embarrass themselves against Washington, let Pittsburgh off the hook then go to-to-toe with Arizona and earn a legitimate victory? The roller coaster Rams had me way up and way down throughout yesterday’s game, and I’m sure many other fans were along for the ride.
After the win over the Cardinals, it’s easy to not laugh as hard at Jeff Fisher’s comments from last week about his team being a few plays away from winning every game so far. Then again, St. Louis was a much different team than the previous two weeks. And, I’m skeptical that they will find any combined offensive and defensive consistency as the year continues.
Don’t get me wrong. I want to believe in the Rams. However, twelve years of horrible football have jaded me to the point that seeing is the only way I’m believing.
Throughout the entire game, I expected St. Louis to crumble. Yet, it didn’t. The offense actually provided the defense with help, not enough for anyone to rest easy, but enough to give the Mob Squad a little comfort.
So, here we are in Week 4 with a Rams team that might be able to win eight more games. That would give St. Louis a 10-6 record and a solid shot at making the playoffs. I can’t believe I typed those words. But, it’s true, so I’m putting the bar back up high where the big boys play.
Tick… Tick… Tick…
BOOM! If you follow me on Twitter, you know I was sarcastically counting down the days until Todd Gurley made his debut. Against Arizona, the rookie made a real entrance and a huge impact. Gurley carried the ball 19 times for 146 yards (106 in the fourth quarter). He impressed me the most on his final two carries of the day, when he stayed in bounds to run time off the clock.
If… IF, this was not a mirage, the Rams are in great shape for running the ball effectively on a consistent basis and opening up the passing game to create a powerful offense.
Nick Foles was back to being a good quarterback yesterday. While his yardage wasn’t impressive by today’s NFL standards (171 yards on 16 of 24 passes), he had no interceptions and made some great throws. All three of his touchdown passes were solid, but the one to Stedman Bailey and the second one to Tavon Austin were outstanding.
Line ‘Em Up
Credit must be given to the offensive line. They allowed only one sack by a very good Cardinals defense and gave Gurley a few monster holes to run through.
The complete game from Tavon Austin is what we’ve been waiting for, since he was drafted. Yes, he’s shown brilliance in the past, but he did the most damage yesterday by being a wide receiver. Austin finished with 6 catches for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. Plus, he ran the ball twice for 20 yards, and NEITHER WERE BETWEEN THE TACKLES! Kudos to offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti for that.
It’s time to realize Jared Cook is a blocking tight end who can’t be trusted to make catches. I counted three drops yesterday, which matches his total number receptions. A 50% reception percentage is inexcusable. Cook’s targets must decrease.
The Rams are not deep at linebacker, so the injury to Alec Ogletree could really hurt the defense. The third-year Georgia Bulldog left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury, but he still led the team in tackles with 9. That added to his already team-leading 44 tackles this season.
Ogletree will have surgery and could be placed on the IR – Designated For Return list. Even if everything goes perfect, Ogletree won’t return until December 6, when the Rams will host the Cardinals. That’s a nice quirk in the schedule.
Around The Horns
- Brian Quick was active, but had ZERO catches. I don’t recall him even being targeted.
- The only time I saw Kenny Britt targeted was in the third quarter. That makes no sense after last week’s performance. I need to watch the tape to see if Arizona shut him down.
- Honey Badger was praising St. Louis early last week, but his mind changed after the game. He gave the Rams no credit for playing well by Tweeting that the Cardinals beat themselves. That Tweet was deleted.
- The Rams were 5-13 on third downs for 38%. That poor statistic has been constant.
- Penalty yards totaled 66 on 7 flags.