Monday, October 1, 2012
Around the NFC West: Rams' rookies shine
By Mike Sando
The St. Louis Rams would not have beaten the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4 without a couple things.
They were far more efficient at maximizing points when their opponent gave them openings. That is the sign of a well-coached team.
The Rams also got significant contributions from their 2012 draft class.
Second-round choice Janoris Jenkins pressured Seattle's Russell Wilson into an interception. Another second-rounder, Brian Quick, put the Rams in position for a go-ahead touchdown with a 19-yard reception on third-and-10. Third-rounder Trumaine Johnson set up that scoring drive by intercepting Wilson on third-and-8. Fourth-rounder Chris Givens had a 52-yard reception. Sixth-rounder Greg Zuerlein set franchise records with 60- and 58-yard field goals -- kicks that provided the difference in a 19-13 victory.
Another rookie, undrafted punter Johnny Hekker, threw a touchdown pass on a fake field goal.
These were the sorts of contributions St. Louis needed to see from its young players. Getting them in the course of a victory over a division rival had to make Sunday a special one for the Rams' new leadership.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams never would have won a game like this one in the past. Burwell: "There were at least 25 or 30 plays against the Seahawks when the Rams could have and probably should have done more than enough to lose. There were so many physical mismatches and unsightly man-on-man defeats that could have provided the Rams with enough head-dragging emotional excuses to quit. But in the NFL's rugged world, losing is a choice that is always the preferred option of those who have been conditioned to that hopeless condition. Fisher has demonstrated an ability to change that loser's mentality and change it quickly."
Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com gives the Rams' coaches and special teams high marks on his postgame report card. The offensive line got a "B" grade. Gordon: "Sam Bradford only absorbed two sacks, so this makeshift group deserves considerable credit for that. Gaining 286 yards of total offense is usually nothing to celebrate, but the Seahawks worked over the Packers but good Monday night. Many of expected a sack party in this game. On the other hand, the Rams seldom cleared any running room. Those 2.8 yards per carry won’t get it done most weeks. But a victory is a victory."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that the Rams needed four games to match their 16-game victory total from last season.
Also from Thomas: First-round pick Michael Brockers appears to be OK after suffering an injury Sunday.
Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Bradley Fletcher was smart in falling to the ground after making a game-sealing interception Sunday.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the team has a shot at moving above .500 for the first time since 2006.