Sunday, December 8, 2013
Three things revisited: Rams-Cardinals
By Nick Wagoner
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A look at how the St. Louis Rams fared in three key areas of Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Stopping the run the first priority
Although the Rams yielded 107 rushing yards Sunday, they mostly kept running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington in check as Arizona averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.
Playing with a lead for most of the game allowed the Cardinals to maintain balance and carry 32 times, though, and they did manage a pair of rushing touchdowns. It wasn’t one of the Rams’ best performances against the run, but it was also far from their worst. The pass defense on the other hand ...
Plenty of pressure
Using that aforementioned lead and playing a Rams' offensive line constantly rotating on the right side and using a first-time starter at center in Tim Barnes, the Cardinals got after quarterback Kellen Clemens early and often.
By the time Arizona had surged to a double-digit lead, the Cardinals were really able to fire a variety of pressure packages at Clemens. According to unofficial statistics, the Cardinals hit Clemens seven times and sacked him four more, but he was under fire for most of the day.
One late hit forced Clemens to have a quick test to see if he had a concussion. He didn’t and he returned, but remained under siege for the rest of the afternoon.
After posting 11 penalties for 105 yards last week against San Francisco, the Rams lamented their struggles with infractions. It didn’t do much good though as they racked up 11 more this week for 90 yards. There’s not much solace to take in those 15 saved yards from last week.
Quite simply, the Rams aren’t good enough to overcome all those mistakes, and though they might have disagreed with some of those calls, they were still made.
The Rams entered Sunday tied as the fifth-most penalized team in the league, and that number only figures to go up after this one.