Monday, December 6, 2010
Around the NFC West: Rams in control
By Mike Sando
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the Rams found a way to win on the road despite not playing their best (or anywhere close to their best). Miklasz: "It was the kind of challenge that tests a team's resolve. The Rams were playing a bad team and got off to a slow start. But they never backed off. Not for one second, not for one inch. This performance may have been lacking in charisma and creativity, but the Rams took this game to the streets. And the Cardinals weren't going to beat them there."
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers a Rams report card with a B-plus grade for the running backs and a C-minus grade for Sam Bradford.
Also from Coats: Craig Dahl picked off a pass for the first time in his four-year NFL career. The Rams' secondary had problems Sunday, not that the Cardinals could take advantage of them. Coats: "Rookie cornerback Jerome Murphy sat out with a sore hamstring. Then Ron Bartell, the team's top cornerback, left early in the second quarter with a recurrence of a shoulder injury he initially sustained Oct. 24 at Tampa Bay. Bartell tried to return but had to bow out. That brought in Quincy Butler, who was on the game-day roster for the first time in a month."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams were finally able to coast to victory. They ran the four-minute offense expertly, running out the clock and preventing the Cardinals from trying to rally. Bradford: "That was nice. We've definitely had some games where I thought I was going to have a heart attack in the fourth quarter. But to be in control [was great]. And our defense did a great job. After the first quarter they just completed dominated that football game."
Also from Thomas: Rams kicker Josh Brown bounced back from an off performance.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com offers postgame notes featuring praise for right tackle Jason Smith, who threw the key block on Steven Jackson's 27-yard scoring run.
Also from Wagoner: Jackson churned out 102 yards on the ground. Jackson isn't happy about the Rams' decision to name fullback Mike Karney inactive over the past couple games. Jackson has taken quite a bit of punishment in those games. Might his path be a little easier if the Rams had Karney clearing the way a few times each game?
More from Wagoner: "Sunday’s win comes with plenty of intrinsic value both in terms of the big picture and in the short term. The victory evens the Rams’ record at 6-6 and keeps them in a tie with Seattle for first place in the NFC West Division. More important, the Rams remain in charge of their own destiny from this point on. In other words, if the Rams can find ways to continue taking care of business, they will be the last team standing in the NFC West when all is said and done."