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Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Rams-Falcons study session: Defense

By Nick Wagoner

EARTH CITY, Mo. – A look back at the St. Louis Rams’ 31-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday after reviewing the coaches’ film.

The Big Play: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan hits wide receiver Julio Jones for an 81-yard touchdown.

Jones’ touchdown gave the Falcons a 14-0 lead early as he gets past cornerback Janoris Jenkins for the game’s biggest play.

The Rams had their four defensive end alignment up front with William Hayes and Eugene Sims on the inside and ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long standing up on the outside. Long and Hayes are bunched on the left side of the line over the right tackle. Linebackers Alec Ogletree and James Laurinaitis creep to the line of scrimmage pre-snap.

Julio Jones
Julio Jones got away from Janoris Jenkins on this 81-yard touchdown catch.
On the back end, Jenkins is in the slot against Jones, playing about 7 yards off the line of scrimmage. The Falcons are in a four-receiver set with two to the left and two to the right with Ryan in the shotgun.

At the snap, the Rams blitz with Ogletree and Laurinaitis. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers picks up Laurinaitis and Ogletree seems to take a step in the wrong direction before getting going at the quarterback, preventing him from getting to Ryan.

Playing outside leverage with safety Rodney McLeod inside of him, Jenkins gets caught flat-footed as Jones runs an option route. As Jenkins sets his feet, Jones opts to go outside of him while McLeod sneaks toward the middle.

Ryan drops in a perfect throw, and with McLeod taking one misstep inside, he’s unable to help over the top. Jones takes it the rest of the way for the score.

Hidden Play: Ryan hits running back Jason Snelling for 22 yards on third-and-1 at Atlanta’s 29 with just under two minutes to go to seal the Falcons’ win.

The Rams have their normal front four in with their hands on the ground and Ogletree on the line to the left. Safety T.J. McDonald is also lined up to the left, just outside of Ogletree opposite tight end Tony Gonzalez.

The Falcons are in an offset I-formation with Snelling in the fullback role and Rodgers at tailback. Two receivers are aligned left with Jones in the slot before he motions back to the right side with Jenkins shadowing.

At the snap, Ogletree and McDonald blitz from the left side as Ryan fakes a handoff to Rodgers, who makes the play happen but diving into Ogletree, who subsequently runs into McDonald, nullifying two blitzers with one block.

Meanwhile, Laurinaitis reads the play and sees Snelling sneaking out into the flat but just isn’t quite able to get there. Snelling hauls it in and gains 22 to move the chains and effectively put the game away.

Other Observations: