ST. LOUIS – A look back at three things to watch from the St. Louis Rams’ 28-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
1. Finishing drives
After the Rams failed to score a touchdown on four trips to the red zone against Seattle last week, they found a way to cure what ailed them this week against the Titans.
The Rams ventured into Tennessee territory three times and scored touchdowns on all three possessions with running back Zac Stacy racking up the team’s first two rushing touchdowns of the season and quarterback Kellen Clemens throwing a dart for a touchdown to tight end Jared Cook.
Of course, one miss that didn’t officially count against them probably should have and it was costly. Running back Benny Cunningham fumbled inside Tennessee’s 20 to kill the team’s first drive of the game, a missed opportunity that haunted the Rams late.
2. Doing it with defense
Without Sam Bradford at quarterback, the Rams are in position where they must lean on their defense to give them a chance to win games. That group was up to the challenge last week against Seattle but quite clearly not ready to string together stout performances.
Tennessee gashed the Rams with the run game, picking up 198 yards on 35 carries with four rushing scores. While the Rams managed to get a couple of takeaways this week to help mask the struggles against the run, it was another in a series of dreadful performances against the run. That it was the Titans’ 27th-ranked offense doing the damage made it that much more surprising.
3. Finding big plays
Asking the Rams offense to methodically work its way down the field isn’t as difficult these days with Stacy running the ball as well as he has. But that still doesn’t mean the Rams couldn’t have used a few more big plays, particularly of the quick-strike scoring type, against the Titans.
Stacy had a scintillating 32-yard run in which he bounced off multiple tacklers and sparked a late touchdown drive. Alas, that was the longest play of the day, as the Rams didn’t get a completion longer than a 25-yarder to Chris Givens.
The deep ball (or at least some big play for a touchdown) hasn’t been a consistent part of the Rams’ offense all season and it’s especially noticeable now when they need it the most.