For anyone who missed yesterday’s game and happen to glance at the box score this morning I am sure it was a bit confusing. Perhaps you were wondering just how Rams finished with more 1st downs, 22-20, better time of possession 30:41 to 29:19; and total yards 424 to 399. And lost the game let alone only put up 3 points.
In truth, for the first time since really week 1 or 2 of the season there were some big plays and decisions worth talking about. Sam Bradford was 28 of 44 for 321 yards, Rams running back Steven Jackson had 18 carries for 96 yards. While Alexander had 6 catches for 91, Salas chipped in with 8-77 and even Kendricks added 4 for 71 yards.
Unfortunately they did not come when or where the Rams needed them. And as has been the case for all 5 games the Rams also lead in penalties with 7-45 and red zone INEFFECIENCY going 0-3 (including a 1st and goal) with an interception.
Sure there were positives to take away from Sunday’s game against the Packers, but as the story below illustrates there is a long way for this team still to go. No use delaying it any further. Here are the big plays and decisions that resulted in a 24-3 Rams loss.
Benching Mike Sims-Walker and Ben Leber. This provided a good opportunity for Greg Salas and Chris Chamberlain to impress. Salas took full advantage of the chance pulling in 8 passes for 77 yards.
Coming out in no huddle/hurry up. Was a big fan of seeing this early. Granted the first possession did not result in any points Bradford has show he can run the no-huddle very effectively and move the ball.
2nd and 5 (14:27) (No Huddle, Shotgun) S.Bradford pass short middle to G.Salas to SL 39 for 14 yards (D.Bishop). PENALTY on SL-R.Saffold, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at SL 25 - No Play.
2nd and 15 - 45 yard catch and run by Kendricks huge stiff arm
2nd and 6: False start by Kendricks from the GB 23. Brings up 2nd and 11, Bradford pass to Gibson which would be the first of four drops on the day by Rams wideouts.
Can almost feel the offense start to stall as they get near the 20
****3rd and 11 and the play call is a run. Steven Jackson goes for -1 yards. Just goes to show they will settle for 3 rather than go for it. No confidence in team becomes evident.
4th and 12 Josh Brown 47 yard field goal attempt. No good, wide right.****
1st and 10. Rodgers to Finely for 20 yards to the Rams 32.
1st and 10 at the Rams 16 yard line. Huge sack of Rodgers by Gary Gibson brings up 2nd and long and 2 plays later would lead to a 32 yards Green Bay field goal. A great first stand by the Rams defense. Holding the Packers to a field goal inside the Red Zone is no small feat.
2nd and 1. After a nice 9 yard pickup on 1st down a holding penalty on Illini Mike pushed the Rams back 10 yards bringing up 2nd and 11.
2nd and 11: Bradford rolls out and passes to Kendricks….who doesn’t even turn around to look for ball. As a result it is almost intercepted and brings up 3rd down.
****3rd and 11. DX gets behind the defense deep for what would have been a touchdown. At worst a 35-40 yard strike. Bradford hits DX in stride but Alexander cannot hold on. The 2nd drop on the day leads to a Ram punt.****
3rd and 2 for Green Bay. Big tackle by Mikell on Kuhn for no gain forces a Packer punt and keeps them off the board.
After earning 1st downs on three consecutive plays the Rams found themselves at 3rd and 9. In what would become a trend on the day the Rams run the play well shy of the 1st down marker as Bradford bits Salas for a 6 yard gain to bring up 4th down.
4th and 3. In a move going against his conservative approach on their first series Spagnuolo decides to go for it. Rather than a run or quick hit to Kendricks, Spags calls for it deep to Alexander. Over thrown by Bradford the Rams turn the ball over on downs.
Through 1st quarter Rams out gaining GB in total yards and time of possession but nothing to show for it. Good game plan and Sam is actually getting some time to throw.
4th and 1…Packers decide to go for it. Starks runs for 15 yards and the 1st down. On the very next play Justin King burned deep by Rodgers to Jones for a 35 yard TD pass.
2nd and 10. Rams moving the ball well again until Bradford slips and takes a sack for a loss of 9. To bring up 3rd and 29. Of course , again, the Rams do not even act like they will try for a 1st down with a short screen pass to Salas for 2 yards. Punt
1st and 10 for Green Bay after a good Donnie Jones punt pinned them at their own 7 yard line. 1st play of drive and….boom 93 yard TD pitch and catch to Jordy Nelson.
Rams next drive goes nowhere. 3rd and 7 and the play is run 4 yards short of the marker. Rams continue to baffle with their play calling. 3 yard grab by Salas brings up 4th down.
2nd and 3 Rodgers runs for a first after scrambling around for 10 yards and the Rams couldn’t contain. On the very next play the Rams had Rodgers TWICE in the backfield for what should have been a sack. Instead Rodgers found Grant for 15 yards over the middle and a 1st down.
3rd and 8 Rodgers scrambles for 9 yards to the Ram 7 yard line. Two plays later hits Donald Driver WIDE FREAKING OPEN for the TD.
Rams put together a great drive before the half. Big 1st downs by Gibson, Jackson and Salas. Bradford 12-20 at this point. Going 62 yards in less than 2 minutes.
3rd and 10 Bradford to Gibson deep over the middle for 21 yards and a first down.
2nd and 10 Bradford short to Salas who took it for 16 yards and a 1st down at the Packer 43. Most importantly getting out of bounds to save a time out.
2nd and 10 Bradford again to Gibson. This time to the tune of 14 yards and a Ram 1st down at the Packer 29 yard line.
*****On 2nd and 10 a great one-handed catch by Jackson for 11 yards to get the 1st and out of bounds with 7 seconds to play. Then in what continued to be the tone of the game Spags continued to play call scared or with a lack of confidence. With 7 seconds to go before the half a time out Spags calls for the Josh Brown field goal.****
Most telling point of first half. Spagnuolo has no confidence what so ever in his O-line and only slightly more in his WR’s.
1st and 10 after three consecutive 1st downs a nice pass breakup by Darian Stewart on Rodgers. Helped lead to a 3 and out on GB’s 1st possession of the half.
3rd and 2Bradford finds Salas across the middle for 18 yards and a 1st down at midfield.
Then on the ensuing 3rd and 6 again the Rams run a screen pass for 2 yards to Jackson, short of the 1st down marker. On a positive note. Donnie Jones is having a great game.
4th and 1 on the next Rams possession. Spags plays it safe this time around. Handing off to Jackson who rushes for the 1st helping was a great block my Miller.
1st and 10: Keeping the momentum going. Bradford makes a great pass to DX for 21 yards to GB 29 yard line. Moving forward 2 plays later Jackson rushes for 8 yards inside the red zone to 10 yard line bringing up a 1st a goal.
***1st and goal…Horrible throw, just horrible throw by Bradford intercepted in the end zone. Had the matchup with DX on Shields that he wanted and under threw the ball. Red Zone woes continue.***
3rd and 13; Rams defense holds and forces a 67 yard Packer punt. Pettis with the nice catch over the shoulder and return of 17 yards out to the Rams 21 yard line.
After a nice strike to DX for 32 yards to move the ball to the Packer 31 yard line the Rams tripped all over themselves yet again. A Bradford fumble out of bounds followed by another Saffold penalty, this one for a false start. Brought up a 2nd and 31.
2nd & 31 Rams continue to defy logic, running a swing pass for 2 yards to Salas. Then on 3rd and 29 a short pass across the middle to Kendricks for 9 yards leading to 4th and 20. This coaching is making my head hurt. No guts…or course they also have no confidence.
After the Rams defense holds again, they were actually quite good against the run on Sunday. Pettis did his part with his best punt return on the year for 30 yards to give the Rams good starting field position.
***8 minutes to go. Bradford doesn’t see a wide open Salas in the End Zone. Setting up a 3rd and 9 which quickly became 3rd and 14 after Smith false start.
After an 8 yard pass to Gibson on 3rd down. 4th and 6 another drop, this time by Kendricks , and failure in the red zone. Lost in yet another drop is the fact that the Rams yet again run the play short of the 1st down marker.***
3rd and 5 for Green Bay and Craig Dahl earns some points for his IDP owners. Intercepting Rodgers as the ball goes through the hands of Jennings.
Rams move the ball to the Green Bay 29. 4th and 7 becomes 4th and 12 after a false start by Saffold and then a turn over on downs as Bradford is sacked for a 7 yard loss. At this point the game was well over but I though it telling that the Rams still continued to make mistakes even with no pressure on them.
Final Score: 3-24