Sunday, September 8, 2013
Rams-Cardinals: Three things revisited
By Nick Wagoner
ST. LOUIS -- Looking back at three things worth watching from the St. Louis Rams' 27-24 victory against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
1. Getting vertical
Arizona did its best to keep a balanced attack and actually didn't take as many deep shots as you'd expect from a Bruce Arians' offense. Of course, that was mostly a product of the Rams' decision to back off and keep the ball in front of them.
Playing mostly soft coverage shells for most of the day forced Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer to get rid of the ball quick and, many times, in the short and intermediate areas.
The ploy worked in the sense that Arizona only hit one big play in the passing game (a 44-yard completion to Michael Floyd) but Palmer still threw for 327 yards.
2. A new look
Much of the buildup through this offseason has been centered on the Rams' revamped offense and how they intend to open things up a bit more.
Make no mistake, the Rams were more pass-happy, throwing 38 passes to 24 rush attempts, but it wasn't the spread-out, up-tempo attack that many anticipated. In fairness, coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has said the approach would be game-plan specific, and considering Arizona's propensity for blitzing, maybe this week was intended to be more run-heavy.
Bottom line, the Rams got enough out of the offense to get a victory as quarterback Sam Bradford threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for a rating of 100.7.
3. Under control
Maybe it's a sign of the upgraded talent on the Rams' roster that they won Sunday's game despite the continued onslaught of penalties.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher made it clear he believed his team would be able to move past the silly penalties that plagued them in the preseason. At the time, he pointed to the fact that many of the players committing the infractions would no longer be on the roster or serve as depth when the season starts.
The problem didn't evaporate with the exit of those players though, and the Rams committed seven penalties for 59 yards with three flags for unnecessary roughness and another for taunting.
After leading the league in penalties a year ago, the Rams didn't set a good tone to improve on that number Sunday.