There were two bright spots in the St. Louis Rams‘ Monday Night Football loss. Zac Stacy has powered his way to the top of the Rams depth chart punishing would be tacklers along the way. In his latest showing he thumped his way through the Seattle Seahawks defense to the tune of 134 yards on 26 carries. Stacy runs with strength and a low pad level often dropping the hit on those who oppose him. It is impressive to watch his 5-foot-8 220-pound frame burst through the line making linebackers’ attempts feeble to stop him in his tracks. The rookie running back is making the most of his chances after basically getting looked over for the first three games of the season.
Everyone can see his ability to drive defenders back and gain yards after contact, but the most impressive thing is his vision. He isn’t hesitating to hit holes or trying to find cutback lanes. Stacy has been able to make one cut and go downhill with a full head of steam. He has that ability to hit the hole with authority and pick up yards when there seems to be no room for him to run. His style is similar to Jamal Lewis‘ when he was in his heyday with the Baltimore Ravens: Find a hole, hit it, and keep the legs going.
The Seahawks brought one of the most feared defenses in the league into St. Louis on Monday, but you wouldn’t know it by the number Stacy put up. It was his best performance in his short career against a stingy defense. If it weren’t for Kellen Clemens‘ three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble), Stacy would have played the role of hero alongside the Rams’ suddenly intense defense. Stacy is only the second running back to gain 100 yards or more against the Seahawks this year, and the other was Arian Foster who racked up 102 yards in Week 4. We all remember the day Foster had against St. Louis where he ran for 140 yards. This is something to be excited about in St. Louis with a potential future feature back found in a 5th round pick.
Daryl Richardson saw some of the productivity he had last year come back on Monday as well. He was able to gain 39 yards on eight carries. If Richardson can keep being productive as a change of pace back then St. Louis has found their running duo for years to come. One thing that cannot be overlooked is the fact that Stacy has missed time at the end of games twice this year. Both times have been unrelated injuries so it does not seem to be something nagging. First was bruised ribs a few weeks ago and Monday he injured his ankle on the second to last series. St. Louis needed him the most at that moment, but he wasn’t available to run the ball. With how he had been running all night they could have put him in the backfield to at least give the threat of a run instead of using the empty backfield.
Stacy will be asked to carry the load as long as he can this year to protect Clemens or whoever takes over the QB position. The game should not be placed in Clemens’ hands at the end. Clemens has been a career backup for a reason, and using Stacy as much as possible to control the ball will help limit the mistakes Clemens can make.