Nine quick thoughts on the Rams' offense
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Rams' offense made progress in the team's third exhibition game, a 24-10 victory over the Ravens on Saturday night.
Yes, the Ravens rested some starters, but Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Bart Scott were among the Baltimore defenders playing. The Rams were without Steven Jackson, but they still opened the game with a 10-play drive to a field goal.
A note on each of the nine plays before Josh Brown's 37-yard field goal gave the Rams a 3-0 lead:
- First play. The Rams are serious about using their tight ends in the running game. Randy McMichael sealed off Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson to spring Antonio Pittman for a 16-yard gain.
- Second play. Right guard Richie Incognito pulled to the right side and smacked Scott during Pittman's 5-yard run. A nice play by Incognito.
- Third play. McMichael and fellow tight end Joe Klopfenstein sealed the right side for another Pittman run, this one good for 8 yards. Again, the tight ends are active in the run game for St. Louis. Getting Anthony Becht healthy will make this group better.
- Fourth play. Receiver Drew Bennett isn't running away from defenders. Bennett thought cornerback Frank Walker interfered with him on a 30-yard timing lob up the right side of the field. Whether or not Walker interfered, he was all over Bennett. The pass fell incomplete.
- Fifth play. Remember the block Incognito put on Scott during the second play of this drive? I wonder if Incognito remembers it after Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis de-cleated him on this second-and-10 running play. Incognito pulled to his right again, but Lewis hammered him under the chinstrap on his way to Pittman. The play gained 1 yard.
- Sixth play. Bulger can count on finding Torry Holt for short gains on inside moves. An offside penalty had turned third-and-9 into third-and-4 for the Rams. Bulger's quick pass beat the pass rush as Holt, lined up wide left, led his defender inside. The ball was on Holt's back shoulder, but the TV commentators were right in saying Bulger can dial-up this play almost at will.
- Seventh play. Bulger and Bennett still aren't on the same page. They weren't close to connecting on this quick first-and-10 pass attempt toward the right sideline. McMichael, lined up on the right side in pass protection, held up against Suggs' initial punch. The ball was gone before Suggs had time for a follow-up move.
- Eighth play. Suggs beat McMichael and left tackle Adam Goldberg to disrupt Pittman's rushing attempt.
- Ninth play. Bulger lined up in the shotgun on third-and-10, a pass protector on each side. McMichael tried to push a blitzing Lewis upfield, but Lewis was relentless. The linebacker flushed Bulger from the pocket, turned upfield and sacked him.
This was an effective first drive for the Rams with a couple of exceptions. An inability to make plays with Bennett as the intended receiver short-circuited this drive. The same issues marked the Rams' previous exhibition game against San Diego.