St. Louis Rams: 2013 Week 16 Upon Further Review

Upon Further Review: Rams Week 16

December, 23, 2013
12/23/13
8:00
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ST. LOUIS -- A review of four hot issues from the St. Louis Rams' 23-13 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Crown him: In this space last week, we made a strong case for why Rams defensive end Robert Quinn should be the leading candidate for the NFL's defensive player of the year. Quinn only added to the résumé against the Bucs, racking up three more sacks and six tackles. In the process, Quinn became the franchise's single-season leader for sacks, besting Kevin Carter's previous record of 17 by one.

[+] EnlargeRobert Quinn
Jeff Curry/USA TODAY SportsWith three sacks of Bucs QB Mike Glennon, Robert Quinn moved into the league lead with 18 on the season.
Quinn's 18 sacks now lead the NFL in that category, and he remains tied with Indianapolis' Robert Mathis in forced fumbles with seven. Despite constant double- and triple-teams, Quinn kept battling against the Bucs and proved once again why he should be the leader in the clubhouse. Teammates William Hayes and Chris Long carried Quinn off the field to chants of "MVP, MVP" at the end of the game. No player has wrecked more offensive game plans in 2013.

Don't forget Ogletree: Rams rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree hasn't been as prominently mentioned in the defensive rookie of the year contest as Quinn has in the defensive player of the year battle, but maybe he should be. Ogletree added eight tackles, half of a sack and two forced fumbles to his tally against Tampa Bay.

For the season, Ogletree has 110 tackles, 1.5 sacks, an interception return for a touchdown, six forced fumbles, eight pass breakups and five batted passes. His half-dozen forced fumbles trail only Quinn and Mathis in that category.

Losing Long: Not all of the news from Sunday's game was positive for the Rams. They lost left tackle Jake Long to a knee injury three plays into the game, and coach Jeff Fisher said there's concern that it's a torn ACL. That would mean a long road to recovery for Long, leaving the Rams with even more questions on an offensive line that figures to have plenty in the offseason.

Rodger Saffold ably filled in for Long against the Bucs and continues to show his value through not only his versatility but also his ability. Saffold's pending free agency now becomes an even more pressing issue for the Rams as the offseason nears.

Rookie ramblings: The Rams have had no problem relying on rookies to produce all season, as they are the league's youngest team for the second year in a row. That production has been hit or miss from week to week but Sunday's game provided a glimpse into what could be when this year's group reaches its potential.

Ogletree is something of a given in terms of production at this point; so is running back Zac Stacy, who provided his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season Sunday. Now, others are starting to become more prominent. Receiver Stedman Bailey had three catches and rushed for a 27-yard touchdown. Safety T.J. McDonald had six tackles and a sack.

That doesn't even include top pick Tavon Austin, who didn't play because of an ankle injury. If the growth of this year's class from Week 1 to now is any indication of the future, this draft class might be the type of foundational group that leads to big things for the Rams in the future.

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