If you feel like you’re on that Viking ship ride at an amusement park when you watch the St. Louis Rams this season – a.k.a. nauseous from all the ups and downs – then you aren’t alone. This team has been the definition of inconsistency with a performance that makes you wish you’d never bothered turning on the television one week followed by one that makes you regret missing any precious second the next. I guess that type of parabolic behavior can be expected from the NFL’s youngest team two years running, but it’s really mind-numbing just how stark the contrast has been.
Football isn’t supposed to be considered a so-called ‘extreme sport’, but the Rams are shattering the mold. The team has lost two games by 24 points where they didn’t even bother to show up and had two more losses in games where they were a minus-five in the turnover battle. In contrast, the Rams have also had two ridiculous wins where they were plus-seven in turnover margin and have chalked up two victories by 30 and 25 points respectively.
This discussion comes to fruition due to the Rams’ complete demolition of everyone’s chic pick to make some noise in the playoffs in the Indianapolis Colts. St. Louis throttled Indy 38-8 and rendered them inept in pretty much every single way. Head coach Jeff Fisher commented on just how lopsided the affair actually was telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“Yeah, every week’s a challenge. Yesterday, our defense against the run if you take the quarterbacks’ rushes away, the running backs had a total of one yard rushing. Granted, the game got out of hand and they didn’t have the attempts in the second half. But what you want to see is you want to see consistency. I don’t want 200 yards this week and one yard next week.”
Just like it seems logical the Rams would rather consistently win the turnover battle by a slim margin than get a bounty of takeaways one week and hand the ball to the other squad like free samples at Sam’s Club the next. Regardless of their 4-6 record currently, it’s totally within the realm of possibility that just a little more consistency would put the Rams at 6-4 if they had managed to slow down the Tennessee Titans’ rushing attack in a tight loss in Week 9 or if they had closed the deal on the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football in Week 8.
Obviously the defense is only half of the equation as the loss of Sam Bradford to a season-ending ACL tear in Week 7 was a seemingly devastating blow to this squad. But in reality even the offense has improved since then with their total offense ranking improving from 30th to 26th and their rushing rank climbing from 32nd to 22nd. That’s not to say Bradford was the problem, but with Kellen Clemens managing the game the team has turned into a ground based attack with Zac Stacy really carrying the load.
Trying to figure out the Rams is a little bit like trying to predict the weather. The majority of the time you are going to find that preparing for any and all outcomes is the best plan of action in this parabolic season.