The second half: a blow by blow
red-light, yellow-light, green-light highlighting to describe whether I think the play was a bad, average, or good one for the Rams. There's more green here, but you can kind of get a feel for the inconsistency of the game, and ultimately, its disappointing end.
(14:18) 13-B.Berlin pass short right to 46-D.Fells to STL 32 for 17 yards (98-J.Anderson).
Fells, and later, Bajema looked decent as receiving options, playing the McMichael role. McMichael continues to look slow, like his legs are made of lead. It's such a shame we didn't get him three or four years ago, when he was still fresh.
(13:25) 19-D.Stanley left end to ATL 47 for 20 yards (71-K.Biermann). PENALTY on STL-89-R.Curry, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at STL 38.
kind of a bogus penalty, looked like a pretty good WR block to me. maybe engaged too early, had to hold it too long as the CB twisted sideways to pursue... but if curry lets go, the CB falls and the flag gets thrown anyway. this is why it's so tough to ask your WRs to block. they have to either hammer the guy, cut block, or get flagged.
(12:02) 44-J.Snelling up the middle to ATL 11 for 4 yards (58-D.Vobora).
93 thomas in now. getting good push, turns his man sideways, creates a massive plug. but just isn't going to get a lot of tackles, unless "tackling the buffet" counts.
(11:17) (Shotgun) 3-D.Shockley pass short left to 80-M.Booker to ATL 27 for 16 yards (35-T.Johnson).
thomas off on 3rd down, 71 gibson comes in and generates decent pressure, but is pushed aside and behind shockley.
(10:13) 3-D.Shockley sacked at ATL 22 for -7 yards (59-L.Grant). FUMBLES (59-L.Grant), RECOVERED by STL-93-H.Thomas at ATL 22. 93-H.Thomas to ATL 22 for no gain (74-W.Svitek).
big time overload by the rams, one of the few big blitzes all game. rams stack eight in the box, rush six, both grant and a DB (35 johnson?) come completely untouched outside the RT.
(9:34) 13-B.Berlin pass deep middle to 19-D.Stanley for 20 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
best throw of the game. he put the ball in a tight spot, as stanley had a man draped on his back like james brown's cape, and a linebacker 13 yards down the field in the flight path. i had berlin written off after his MCL, but he has really gutted it out since then.
(9:20) 3-D.Shockley pass short right to 36-V.Haynes to ATL 48 for 23 yards (20-J.Wade).
Rams are trying to overload the run, send all three linebackers against the strong side, where the fullback is lined up. Haynes cuts inside for a 'naked screen' -- he has no blockers, but there's no one to block. lots and lots of open space. Very worrying: these LB mis-alignments appear to be by design, and appear to be very easily read and countered. have yet to see a play where it worked.
(7:13) 44-J.Snelling left end to STL 13 for 16 yards (57-C.Chamberlain). FUMBLES (57-C.Chamberlain), RECOVERED by STL-43-C.Dahl at STL 13. 43-C.Dahl to STL 13 for no gain (74-W.Svitek). Play Challenged by ATL and REVERSED. 44-J.Snelling left end to STL 16 for 13 yards (57-C.Chamberlain).
92 eric moore gets an earful from spagnuolo ... looked like he missed a tackle right around the marker that could have made this whole play moot. laid into the runner's legs, but didn't wrap up. refs clearly made the right call - twice. first, to call it a fumble and allow it to be reviewed. second, to reverse it.
(6:47) 44-J.Snelling left end to STL 16 for no gain (59-L.Grant). PENALTY on ATL-89-B.Hartsock, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at STL 16 - No Play.
another big blitz, six men on the LOS, all of them rush, slanting toward the ball carrier. absolutely no hole, nor a cutback lane. unless he was barry sanders.
(4:55) (Shotgun) 3-D.Shockley sacked at STL 16 for -1 yards (97-D.Scott).
just persistent, hard work by scott, lined up as the NT. best up-the-middle push of the night.
(4:17) (Shotgun) 25-A.Pittman right guard to STL 40 for 12 yards (71-K.Biermann, 45-R.James).
A very nice cutback, behind Setterstrom and the LG (63 Allen?) -- the same hole that Gado ran through for 77 the week before.
(3:16) (Shotgun) 13-B.Berlin pass short left to 47-B.Bajema to ATL 49 for 16 yards (35-W.Middleton).
Great play call and execution by Bajema, who runs like a downhill like a dumptruck. Got 8 yards after catch, running through two players, just enough for a 1st, and looked extremely determined. At the time, I tweeted: love how bajema runs with the ball... head down, eyes up and ready to unload
(14:55) (Shotgun) 3-D.Shockley pass deep middle intended for 14-E.Weems INTERCEPTED by 35-T.Johnson at ATL 45. 35-T.Johnson to ATL 43 for 2 yards (14-E.Weems).
It looked like this pass was tipped twice -- once at the line of scrimmage, and again off the intended receiver -- before it came to johnson. I tried to catch the initial tip, but never got a good angle. my guess would be DT antwan burton. It was not the other DT, 94 Adeyanju.
(12:19) 9-K.Null pass deep left to 47-B.Bajema to ATL 14 for 17 yards (45-R.James).
(11:30) 9-K.Null pass short right to 47-B.Bajema to ATL 5 for 9 yards (41-A.Harris).
on TV, they're saying that Bajema has 7 career receptions. you'd never know it the way he looks.
(10:47) 34-K.Darby right guard to ATL 6 for -1 yards (51-T.Gilbert).
Rams lined up in an offensive overload right, looked like they might have two tight ends to that side. just a massive line. darby tried to pick his way, then tried to go for the old standby cutback lane between center and left guard, looking for the home run. mistake. with one yard to get, and his natural speed, he should have flowed outside his block into the crease and let his linemen carry him forward, as they did on Null's previous 4th-and-1. instead, he stayed out in space, tried to cut against the grain and do it all himself, and got trapped.
(10:10) 3-Josh.Brown 24 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-45-C.Massey, Holder-5-D.Jones.
stupid play. no reason to kick here, especially in the preseason.
(8:33) 4-J.Wilson pass short middle to 82-K.Zinger to STL 47 for 15 yards (59-L.Grant).
wow. a Rams DT (either 93 thomas or 94 Ah You) got absolutely pancaked on this pass. just ran out of steam on the rush.
(5:34) 44-J.Snelling left end to STL 9 for 23 yards (53-Q.Culberson).
Rams had a standard 4-3 alignment and got gashed. Rams looked good against the run only when they cheated against the run (8 or more in the box) in this game. and they could only cheat against Falcons' 2nd and 3rd team QBs.
(3:26) (Shotgun) 4-J.Wilson pass incomplete short right to 44-J.Snelling.
Rams rushed 6 and still have two players covering the RB out of the backfield toward the front corner of the end zone. rush forced a quick decision and a poor throw, but a savvier QB must have known that only 3 defensive players were left to cover the rest of the end zone. somebody must have been wide open.
9-M.Koenen kicks 68 yards from ATL 30 to STL 2. 38-S.Gado to STL 35 for 33 yards (37-G.Sharpe).
D'Marco Farr: "john greco and cj ah you annihilated their men" on gado's return
(2:01) (Shotgun) 9-K.Null pass short middle to 18-N.Jones to ATL 38 for 8 yards (29-J.Fudge).
A heady play here by Null, who looks in complete command of the hurry-up. with the clock ticking toward the two minute warning, he not only gets the play off, but he also locates his easiest target in the middle of the field for the first down, knowing that the clock will stop automatically.
(1:54) 34-K.Darby up the middle to ATL 17 for 21 yards (42-E.Brock).
This was pure Darby. He burst through a very small opening between center (71 mattran) and right guard (65 sanders). So far, his only shining moment of the preseason. Not a good sign.
(1:03) (Shotgun) 9-K.Null pass incomplete short middle to 88-J.Klopfenstein.
Surely, if Klopfenstein had caught this pass for a TD, a season-ending injury would have happened to someone else, just to balance out karma. So be thankful he dropped it.
(:50) 9-K.Null pass short right intended for 49-E.Butler INTERCEPTED by 42-E.Brock at ATL -2. Touchback.
Still really hard to tell from the replay who was at fault, but I think ultimately it was Null. He was staring down that side of the field, so it wasn't a timing thing, but threw it in the worst possible place -- between the two defenders on the play. 86 Walker stopped short and turned to the outside, which would have been a good place to put the ball. 49 Butler kept going and curled inside, which also would have been a good place to put the ball. The patterns seemed to work ... but the announcers were kind in suggesting it was a wrong route.
Just like in my first half summary, I'm using a basic