Sunday, October 6, 2013
Rapid Reaction: St. Louis Rams
By Nick Wagoner
ST. LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 34-20 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
What it means: The Rams did exactly what they were supposed to do, defeating lowly Jacksonville, though they found a way to make it interesting, particularly early in the game.
Given the struggles of the Jaguars, it’s difficult to glean much from this in terms of what it means for the Rams big picture. They did many of the things they’ve been struggling to do better but again, the opponent clouds the picture.
Still, the Rams needed a win to break their three-game losing streak and they got it.
Stock watch, up: RB Zac Stacy. His longest run went for 12 yards and he finished with only 78 yards on his 14 carries but that’s not the point. The Rams’ running game has been nonexistent most of the season and Stacy at least showed the ability to keep piles moving, make an occasional tackler miss and actually gain yards after contact. He may have hit 100 yards if not for a late rib injury.
Stock watch, down: The special-teams units. It’d be hard for the stock of the return teams to drop much further but the coverage units had been strong most of the season. On Sunday, the Rams' special teams were responsible for six penalties for 53 yards, including one that wiped out a long return from Tavon Austin. Johnny Hekker also had a punt blocked. The Rams have more penalties on special teams than they do on either offense or defense through five games.
Turnovers key: The final score made it look like a fairly comfortable win for the Rams but the numbers actually tilt quite favorably to Jacksonville. The difference, as is often the case, was turnovers.
Safety Matt Giordano took a gift interception 82 yards for a touchdown and the Rams turned a Darian Stewart fumble recovery into a Lance Kendricks touchdown. That’s a step forward for a team that hasn’t often made the most of such chances this season.
The scarier thought for Rams fans is what might have happened without those takeaways.
What’s next: The vacation is over as the Rams have a difficult two-game road trip against Houston and Carolina. From there, they return home to play Seattle on Monday night to reach the midway point.