St. Louis Rams Still Have Hope for 2013

Zac Stacy

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Rams were expected to just bow out of the season once Sam Bradford went down. The Rams had other ideas when the Seattle Seahawks came into town. While they didn’t steal a win from the Seahawks, they certainly caused them a lot of trouble for a team that was supposed to roll over.

St. Louis managed to control the ball for 38 minutes, but couldn’t find the end zone when they were moving the ball. Zac Stacy was pounding out yards against the league’s second-best defense. Twice St. Louis saw their drives ended by interceptions on poorly-delivered passes by Kellen Clemens and another time by a Clemens fumble.

Clemens was a question mark heading into the game and his only real positive drive was the one that ended the game going 96 yards instead of the 97 they desperately needed. A bad play from  the start is what ended the series and the game for the Rams. Clemens was blitzed by an unblocked rusher and had to throw the pass before Brian Quick had turned his head to see where it was. Quick and Clemens are not to blame for the play call at the end of the game. Stacy had been injured the series before, but St. Louis could have easily put him in the back field just to pose a threat for a run play. He had ran through there defense on 26 carries for 134 yards. Just putting him in as a threat could have bought Clemens more time. Instead, the Seahawks knew it would be a pass play and drew up a blitz that left Clemens with little time.

The Rams’ defense got after Russell Wilson time after time for seven sacks. Robert Quinn destroyed the Seahawks line for the first half, churning out three sacks for another memorable performance. Quinn is starting to come into his own as a pass rusher and his level of production could prove to be the engine for the defense. Opposite of Quinn is DE Chris Long, who also racked up three sacks for St. Louis. He isn’t the pure athlete that Quinn is, but he is plays the game with a drive that is unmatched by many players. St. Louis has a lot of young parts on defense that are only going to gain experience with each game.

T.J. McDonald and Bradford’s injuries can give them something that is often overlooked when a player suffers a serious injury. As a player, when you are forced to miss time with an injury, you can often come back with something to prove. I don’t doubt that these guys love the game, and if they do, they should come back better than they were before with plenty of time to recover.

Even more important, a lot of time to miss the game they love. Bradford has been sticking around to build relationships with his receivers. A lot can be said for someone that wants to be there for his team when he isn’t being asked to. It’s tough to watch a game when you have no control over what happens. This should be the driving force for Bradford to return stronger next year.

Former-Ram legend Isaac Bruce has come out and said that St. Louis should have hope with the talent they have. He worked with the receivers during training camp and still talks with them. He also said that with rookie Tavon Austin, they need to have patience with him, much like Bruce, he hasn’t come in and tore up the league in his first few weeks. Bruce said that it took him about eight weeks into his rookie season to just play the game and stop thinking. The same thing could happen for a player like Austin who came into the league with a ton of hype and is trying to force himself into the action.

The play calling for Austin seems to be hurting his ability to be a game changer and Bruce acknowledged that, as well. With Austin coming into the NFL with so much hype, teams are aware of where he is on the field at all times. Chris Givens and company need to start beating the defense deep to pull safeties away from the line of scrimmage. If teams are forced to cover deep threats with multiple guys, then the underneath routes will open up for Austin.

Roy Whitehead is a St. Louis Rams writer for rantsports.com, follow him on Twitter @roywhitehead1, or add him to your network on Google.


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