The St. Louis Rams‘ offense is starting to show signs of life and creativity in 2013. The lack of an imagination hurt them early in the season, as they were a pass heavy attack with no workhorse back. Since they gave Zac Stacy a shot to start, the rookie running back hasn’t looked back. Stacy has done everything he can to pick up yards on each play. His ability to gain 2-3 yards on a carry when nothing seems to be there continuously puts the Rams in a better position to make something happen. So far, the battering ram has gained 87 yards on 12 carries for an average of 7.3 yards per carry. He was able to break off a long of 35 yards in the first half and get a touchdown run. The Rams’ feature back is making things a lot easier on Kellen Clemens and giving his team a strong run threat on each play.
Clemens has been quietly effective in the first half, going 6-11 on pass attempts. His 85 yards have him averaging 7.7 yards per attempt, and a six yard strike to Jared Cook was perfectly thrown to the big tight end. Cook is the only Rams player to have two catches in the first half, so the ball has been spread out to five players. Clemens is moving well and avoiding pressure while making throws from awkward positions. He might not be as accurate as Sam Bradford, but Clemens is moving more and buying time like Bradford never did.
Tavon Austin is picking up where he left off in this one. A fake reverse led to a 65 yard strike for the Rams’ offense after a few key blocks from Chris Givens and Austin Pettis down field. When Pettis is able to shut off his mind and just play the game with his speed and agility, he is a difference maker with quick strike ability. The Chicago Bears haven’t given Pettis a chance on punts yet, but if they do, look for the exciting return man to break off a huge return.
The defense has been devastated by Matt Forte‘s rushing ability and pass catching. He has 10 carries for 58 yards to go with four catches and 24 yards at the half. St. Louis will need to pay more attention to him if they want to keep the lead. Brandon Marshall is leading the way for the Bears’ receivers with four catches and 32 yards. Other than him and Forte’s four catches each, the ball is being spread out well. If it wasn’t for a weak illegal hands to the face penalty on Brandon McGee, the Rams would still have a two touchdown lead. Janoris Jenkins made a heck of a play on a deep jump ball to Marshall, only to have the penalty give the ball back to the Bears.
Robert Quinn‘s first half wasn’t his most successful, but he was able to get to the QB and disrupt a few plays. The Quinn sack/fumble should be coming in the second half. On the other end of the defensive line, Chris Long was able to deflect a pass late in the first half and kill any hope the Bears had for a late half surge.
The second half will be an interesting one to watch, as these two teams continue to battle it out. With the score at 21-14, it is still up for grabs and neither team is going to let up. St. Louis will have to get after the Bears’ QB for a few sacks and shut down Forte in order to pull away. The offense will have to put together a few scoring drives in order to give the defense some breathing room.