NFC West: Rams-Giants

Rams no match for early schedule

September, 23, 2008
9/23/08
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams could have used a little help from their schedule as they tried to gain momentum and confidence following their 3-13 record last season.

  • Opening at Philadelphia qualifies as a tough draw any season. I thought the Eagles would be particularly tough this season (they were my preseason pick for the Super Bowl). They have been even better than expected early in the season.
  • The Giants, basically an 8-8 team for much of the Tom Coughlin era, won a Super Bowl while becoming one of the toughest road teams in NFL history just in time for their Week 2 game at St. Louis.
  • The Seahawks, though wobbled by injuries, are almost always tough to beat at Qwest Field.
  • Next up for the Rams: a date with the 3-0 Bills. I figured Buffalo would improve this season, but never did I expect quarterback Trent Edwards to become this good this quickly. The Bills are perfectly suited for blowing out the Rams because they possess a physical running back and a big-play receiver in Lee Evans.

The Rams have now lost seven consecutive games dating to last season. They haven't scored more than 13 points during any of their first three games. They have scored 16 or fewer points in 12 of 19 games over the last two seasons. Things could get worse in St. Louis before they get better. And that is hard to fathom.

Silver linings: Rams vs. Giants

September, 15, 2008
9/15/08
10:37
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The facts: The Rams scored only one touchdown during a 41-13 home loss to the Giants, allowing 200 yards rushing and 441 total yards.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two. A quick look at things that went right for the Rams ...

  • Torry Holt proved he can still make the spectacular play. His 45-yard touchdown catch ranked among the most spectacular of his career.
  • Josh Brown converted two 54-yard field goals. His kickoffs traveled past the goal line on average.
  • Punter Donnie Jones had a 43-yard net average with two punts downed inside the 20.
  • Rookie Chris Long collected four tackles, including the first sack of his NFL career. Long is a work in progress. Getting the first sack out of the way allows him to proceed without hearing about going "X" number of games without one. Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie held Long around the neck on the Giants' first touchdown pass. Eli Manning might have been able to make the throw anyway.
  • The Rams appeared to avoid serious injuries.
  • The Rams converted 3 of 13 times on third down. That's terrible for most teams, but progress for a Rams team that failed to convert any of its 11 chances in the opener.
The Rams take an 0-2 record into their Week 3 game at 0-2 Seattle. Steven Jackson tripped on his way to what might have otherwise been a 66-yard touchdown run during the first quarter. Jackson has enjoyed big games against Seattle. He hasn't got much going so far in 2008.

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