Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

Rams Get a Reality Check

November 19th, 2017 · No Comments · Football, Golf, NFL, Rams

Whoa, there, Rams fans. Your team is not going to sprint to the Super Bowl any time soon.

That 7-2 start? Nice. But when the Rams stopped playing cupcakes and ran into another quality team, the Minnesota Vikings … well, it did not go well.

To the tune of 24-7, with the “highest-scoring-team-in-the-league” Rams on the “7” end of that.

What bits were scary for the Rams?


–The overhauled offensive line failed to protect Jared Goff or create space for Todd Gurley. The later was limited to 37 rushing yards, which was so 2016, and we lost track of how many times the quarterback was roughed up. Goff was sacked twice, and getting 15 yards for a “roughing the quarterback” flag on the Vikings wasn’t worth the shot-to-the-sternum Goff took.

–The Rams’ defense, thought to be the strongest part of the team, was pushed around, gashed for 451 yards. The Rams did not register a sack, and not all of that was about Vikings QB Case Keenum being nimble in the pocket.

–Injuries. Robert Wood, the team’s best receiver by some distance, left the field late with a shoulder injury. The Rams lost two veteran cornerbacks, Kayvon Webster and Nickell Robey-Coleman, in the first half, and it showed as the Vikings tore up their replacements — particularly undrafted rookie Dominique Hatfield. The Rams had done very well in the injury department, before this game. They do not have sufficient depth, however, to lose three starters and not be badly impacted.

–Questionable composure. The Rams knew it would be loud inside the U.S. Bank Stadium and, presumably, prepared for it — but they failed to execute in the crunch, taking one delay-of-game while trying to line up and burning two timeouts to avoid a penalty. The Rams looked a little frantic throughout.

–Questionable coaching decisions. Sean McVay likes to call pass plays that require a full three seconds for Goff to throw to receivers on medium or deep routes. Against a good defense like Minnesota’s, that got Goff hit a lot. Even more questionable was defensive coordinator Wade Phillips ordering up 20 (!) blitzes against the nimble Keenum, who was 15-for-20 for 191 yards — with no sacks. The blitzes also exposed the makeshift secondary, especially Hatfield.

–Shaky receivers. Woods has helped disguise this, but with him leaving the game injured … the situation looks troubling. Sammy Watkins is beginning to look like a bust; he cannot seem to get open against anyone. Cooper Kupp allowed himself to be stripped at the 1 yard line, when the game was 7-7, and couldn’t bring in a catchable ball when the Rams were down only 14-7. Also, it is not clear that the Rams have a tight end who can be counted on to catch a pass.

And this is key:

The Rams still have to play at least three teams that appear to be better than they are — the Saints in New Orleans next Sunday, the Eagles in Philadelphia on December 10 and the Seahawks at home on December 17.

If they lose all three of those games, they will be at risk of missing the playoffs. They would have six defeats and would need to win their other three games (home to the Cardinals and Titans, away to the 49ers) to climb to 10-6, which generally means a playoffs berth.

Granted, few observers expected this Rams team to make the playoffs or have a winning record, a few months back. Then came that 7-2 start and a giddiness that was unwarranted and, as the Vikings showed, easily exploded.



0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment