Rams at the bye: A look back

November, 15, 2013
11/15/13
11:30
AM ET
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams' season has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride, with ups and downs abundantly available. In short, the only consistent thing has been the Rams' inconsistency.

Before we look ahead to the six games left to play, let's take a look back at the first 10, what happened in those games and what could have happened as the Rams sit at 4-6.

Week 1 vs. Arizona
[+] EnlargeSam Bradford
Jeff Curry/USA TODAY SportsSam Bradford led the Rams to a comeback win in the opener. Six weeks later his season was over because of a knee injury.
The Rams staged a fourth-quarter comeback to pull off a 27-24 win as quarterback Sam Bradford caught fire in the final 20 minutes. What could have happened: For all intents and purposes, this is a game the Rams could easily have lost. If Arizona had found any semblance of a pass-protection solution for end Robert Quinn, it likely would have been able to escape with a season-opening victory.

Week 2 at Atlanta
The Falcons jumped out to a big lead right away, and though the Rams put together another second-half comeback, the hole was too deep to dig out of and Atlanta emerged with a 31-24 victory. What could have happened: A terrible call for an offside penalty on Rams end Chris Long extended Atlanta's opening drive and was the first domino in a string of events that led to the Falcons' quick start. The game could have gone a different way if the Rams had gotten the stop on that first possession.

Week 3 at Dallas
This one was never close as the Rams came out flat and Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray shredded them for the second time in three years as Dallas coasted to a 31-7 win. What could have happened: Once again, the Rams fell behind early, this time 24-0 early in the third quarter. There were no missed opportunities or chances here that would have drastically changed the game.

Week 4 vs. San Francisco
On a short week, the Rams returned home for a prime-time game against a struggling 49ers team. This game was close for about a quarter and a half before the Niners imposed their will and knocked the Rams out to the tune of 35-11. What could have happened: Although the Rams were in it early, again this was a simple destruction where one play here or there probably wouldn't have turned it another direction.

Week 5 vs. Jacksonville
After an early scare, the Rams settled in and took care of business against a struggling Jaguars team for a 34-20 win. What could have happened: The Rams fell behind early on a big play by receiver Justin Blackmon but got things under control right away with a defensive touchdown from safety Matt Giordano. Either way, it seemed the Rams weren't going to be the team to allow the Jaguars to get their first win.

Week 6 at Houston
The Rams came out and dominated in all three phases, getting touchdowns from the offense, defense and special teams for an overwhelming 38-13 victory. What could have happened: This was another game that was seemingly never in doubt as the Rams got off to a hot start and the Texans never really threatened.

Week 7 at Carolina
[+] EnlargeEugene Sims and Steve Smith
Sam Sharpe/USA TODAY SportsThe Rams were frustrated at Carolina, both during the game and by the end result.
A heated game left the Rams frustrated and disappointed in a 30-15 loss but lamenting the bigger loss of Bradford to a season-ending knee injury. What could have happened: The Rams probably would have been OK with the loss if nothing had happened to Bradford, but this one got out of control and, more frustrating for the Rams, it was a game there for the taking. If running back Zac Stacy gets a better block on Quintin Mikell on an early play, Bradford might have hit Brian Quick for a big gain, and there was also a tripping penalty that cost Tavon Austin a touchdown. The score doesn't show it, but this is one the Rams would probably love to have back for many reasons.

Week 8 vs. Seattle
The defense put together a dominant effort on "Monday Night Football," but it wasn't enough as the Rams came up a yard short in a 14-9 loss. What could have happened: The Rams could have at least showed the possibility of a run on fourth-and-goal at Seattle's 1 at the end of regulation or called timeout to get Stacy in the game for a run on the previous down. Either of those, along with countless other miscues and near-misses, would have given the Rams a huge win in their first game post-Bradford.

Week 9 vs. Tennessee
Another week, another near-miss as the bad Rams defense showed up again and the Titans emerged with a 28-21 win. What could have happened: The Rams' continued inability to stop the run wiped out a solid offensive performance, and a late fumble by quarterback Kellen Clemens left the Rams on the wrong end of yet another winnable game.

Week 10 at Indianapolis
Something about going on the road against AFC South teams agrees with the Rams as they thoroughly dominated the Colts in a 38-8 victory. What could have happened: The game may have been different if the Colts on their first drive had been able to keep Quinn from sacking quarterback Andrew Luck and stripping the ball, which Long recovered and returned for a touchdown. But it probably wouldn't have made that much difference as the Rams won all three phases.

So there you have it, the Rams sit at 4-6 and despite all of their issues -- be it the ups and downs of the defense, the poorly timed turnovers by the offense or the early-season woes on special teams -- they could realistically be sitting at 6-4 and squarely in playoff contention. Games against Arizona, Seattle and Tennessee were all coin tosses, and the Rams went 1-2 in them. Even one more win there and the Rams would be at .500.

Alas, a young, inconsistent team has mostly played like one, and the highs and lows that go with it have kept the Rams' record from improving in year two of the Jeff Fisher era.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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