The St. Louis Rams came into the game against a divisional foe in the San Francisco 49ers with a gameplan on Sunday. That blueprint was laid out by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer earlier in the week when he said that the club would emphasize the running game in this contest. They held true to their word on gameday and gave the Niners a much stiffer challenge than many expected.
Steven Jackson began the game with four consecutive carries and it looked very much like the game the Rams envisioned early. The club believed that the only way to take on the 49ers’ dominant defense was to impose their will on them. As a result, Jackson finished the opening quarter with eight totes for 44 yards and a touchdown as the team held a 14-0 lead at that point.
Things got significantly more difficult for the Rams offensively as the game progressed however as the Niners stiffened up on defense. Not before there was finally a Brian Quick sighting though as the rookie from Appalachian State hauled in a touchdown for the first time after only having five catches during the other eight games all year.
What was most promising from this game was the impact that the rookies for the Rams had throughout the contest. As mentioned above, Quick finally found the end zone for the first time in his career. Michael Brockers had one and a half sacks and Daryl Richardson broke off a long run early in contest as well. This was a big time showing for the youth on the Rams’ roster and bodes well for the future of the franchise.
Where much of the focus will be when the Rams analyze this game over the next week is on the penalties that continue to doom the team. Undisciplined errors that show a lack of awareness and attention to detail reflect badly on Jeff Fisher and the Rams’ coaching staff. On the first play of overtime, Danny Amendola caught an 80-yard pass that was called back because of an illegal formation. An unspeakable delay of game call on the first field goal attempt in overtime (which was made) led to a retry which (predictably) sailed wide right.
While it could be seen as a moral victory that the Rams played a team considered by many as one of the five best in the league to a tie, the team cannot be satisfied. There needs to be a real drive and focus to eliminate the mistakes that have plagued this team so far this season. Using their youth as an excuse was fine early on, but now that we are more than halfway through the season, that just won’t cut it.
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