Sunday, October 17, 2010
Wrap-up: Rams 20, Chargers 17
By Mike Sando
Wrapping up the St. Louis Rams' 20-17 win against the San Diego Chargers.
What it means: The St. Louis Rams (3-3) have enough mental toughness to recover from a humiliating defeat (44-6 at Detroit), and quarterback Sam Bradford can make a cast of little-known receivers look pretty good. The Rams schedule gets tougher later in the season. It's important for them to beat flawed teams, particularly at home. This victory against the Chargers restores any lost confidence while keeping St. Louis solidly in the NFC West race, something the rest of the division isn't used to acknowledging.
Big Revelation: Rookie receiver Danario Alexander, signed only after the Rams lost Mark Clayton to a season-ending knee injury, caught a touchdown pass to help spark the Rams early. The Rams had suggested Alexander might contribute more on special teams in his first NFL game. Instead, Alexander's 38-yard scoring grab gave the Rams a 10-0 lead and the momentum against San Diego. Bradford helped make Clayton an immediate contributor after the Rams acquired Clayton by trade right before the regular season. Clayton was a polished veteran, however. Alexander is a raw rookie. Not bad.
What I liked: The Rams' pass-rush was dynamic, helping to neutralize the Chargers' strong pass offense. Chris Long brought pressure frequently and finally collected some sacks to show for his efforts. Also, kicker Josh Brown made a 48-yard field goal to produce a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. Brown has struggled some this season. He needed that one.
What I didn't like: The Rams still lacked that killer instinct. They had a 17-0 lead, then had to hold on for a victory. Some of that is understandable against a team with Philip Rivers at quarterback. And most would agree that San Diego has superior talent. Still, the Rams will become more dangerous when they can finish off opponents at home.
What's next: The Rams visit Tampa Bay in Week 7.