Monday, October 15, 2012
Around the NFC West: Dominant in defeat
By Mike Sando
We've seen Jeff Fisher's St. Louis Rams beat Seattle with 286 total net yards and defeat Arizona with 242. We've seen them push Detroit to the brink at Ford Field with 250.
This team scrambles. It hustles. It does more with less.
The Rams turned a season-high 462 yards into only 14 points. They fumbled the ball and blew pass coverages. The team that had put up 19 points against Seattle without even scoring an offensive touchdown missed three field goal tries during its 17-14 defeat to the Miami Dolphins in Week 6. It was the least efficient performance of the season, by far.
The vital signs were strong, however.
It's not clear whether a team can build on a defeat such as this one. That might not be the best way to phrase it. From a Rams perspective, however, there were definitely encouraging signs.
Outgaining the Dolphins by a 462-192 margin in total yards was one of them. Running 20 more plays than the Dolphins ran was another. The Rams averaged 6.7 yards per play on their 69 plays. The Dolphins managed only 3.9 on their 49.
The Rams are playing with a pieced-together offensive line featuring backups at left tackle, left guard and center. They are also playing without their most consistently productive receiver Danny Amendola. For them to produce so prolifically against a defense that had generally been solid shows the Rams have potential, at least.
Quarterback Sam Bradford was generally effective. He completed 26 of 39 passes for 315 yards and no interceptions. He improbably escaped injury after scoring on a 1-yard sneak that left his neck, back and legs contorted at seemingly dangerous angles. Bradford scrambled before converting the ensuing two-point pass to cut the deficit to three.
Bradford finished this game with a 91.3 NFL passer rating. His Total QBR score was 77.3 out of 100, the highest score Bradford has posted this season.
Based on how the Rams had played to this point in the season, it would have been inconceivable to think the team would lose a game while dominating in so many key areas.
At least they dominated in so many areas.