The first half: a blow-by-blow

I’m still waiting to get my DVR hooked up, will have something in place by the start of the season. In the meantime, here are my observations of the game replay, with the benefit of knowing the play’s outcome before it runs. Notations are from the gamebook.

As part of the play-capture, I’ll use a basic red-light, yellow-light, green-light highlighting to describe whether I think the play was a bad, average, or good one for the Rams. As you might expect, there’s a lot of Red in this half.

1st Quarter

(14:19) 33-M.Turner up the middle to STL 34 for 43 yards (37-J.Butler).

they ran inside 91, who started taking a very wide path, got crossed up, then stood there and absorbed a block from someone comnig over from the strong side

(13:00) 33-M.Turner right end to STL 18 for 9 yards (21-O.Atogwe).

terrible missed tackle by 52 draft. Rams LBs looked very lackluster, trying to hand-tackle. only players delivering hits are butler and wade. Laurinaitis did not register a tackle until late in the second period, after the gift INT fell into his hands.

(9:57) 33-M.Turner left guard for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.

Witherspoon came in to fill the hole, but the hole was two men wide. Couldn’t get a clean hit, again reached with the hands, came up empty. Bartell got completely blown up, creating the hole. why isnt a safety there?

(9:45) 39-S.Jackson left tackle to STL 25 for 9 yards (28-T.DeCoud).

not easy yards. falcons had five on line of scrimmage, 8 in box. playing “count the defenders”…

(8:00) 39-S.Jackson right end to STL 29 for no gain (50-C.Lofton). Penalty on STL-84-R.McMichael, Offensive Holding, declined.

Karney in, but can’t get to hole. his block is set three yards behind LOS, jackson has to edge around, gets blown up by LB. holding seemed completely unnecessary, away from the play.

(7:35) 12-K.Boller pass incomplete short left to 38-S.Gado.

on the radio broadcast, it sounded like the screen was well set up, but gado just droped it. not true. screen was not there yet, boller was rushed, play would have been a loss if gado caught it.

(5:53) 2-M.Ryan pass short right to 84-R.White to STL 43 for 15 yards (24-R.Bartell).

rams lbs shifted way left, bringing butler in as a 4th lb on the right … pass goes outside draft. ryan read it exactly right. no safety help on roddy white’s side.

(3:33) 2-M.Ryan pass short left to 88-T.Gonzalez for 14 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

as noted on twitter, tgonzalez makes a very savvy play here. head fakes outside, turns tye hill around as the pass goes inside. no chance for hill, who was defending a fade. mismatch anyway, atogwe or butler should be on him.

(2:39) (Shotgun) 12-K.Boller pass deep right to 11-L.Robinson to STL 36 for 19 yards (21-C.Owens).

Boller double-clutched, not a pump fake, more like he was hesitating. but may have been enough to draw a second white shirt away from robinson. hard to tell from the tv angle.

(1:22) (Shotgun) 12-K.Boller scrambles left end ran ob at STL 47 for 11 yards (28-T.DeCoud).

on the previous plays of this drive, 77 smith has been getting TE help. this play, he’s on an island, almost gets a false start. a half step early on the snap. he’s working against 92 chauncey davis, who has 8 career sacks in 4 years.

2nd Quarter

(14:56) 12-K.Boller pass incomplete deep left to 11-L.Robinson.

a good throw gets a TD for sure, robinson had his man beat. but, a well-timed throw to the opposite sideline has burton wide open for 15. looked like that was his second read — boller twitched his head that way before launching deep left. boller needs to look at his uniform number, and remember that he’s kyle boller. throw the easy throw, kyle.

(13:57) 3-D.Shockley pass incomplete short left to 87-J.Peelle (51-W.Witherspoon).

witherspoon and butler have been by far the best players on defense. this should have been an INT and spoon knows it. laurinaitis is not quite to game speed yet, but had the right read on the play as well.

(13:57) 3-D.Shockley pass short left intended for 80-M.Booker INTERCEPTED by 55-J.Laurinaitis at ATL 27. 55-J.Laurinaitis to ATL 27 for no gain (86-B.Finneran).

I thought 31 King had his hands on this one, but it went off the receiver. king had pressure, but no hands on the ball. squibbed right out of booker’s hands. a good piece of luck.

(13:14) (Shotgun) 12-K.Boller pass incomplete short left to 11-L.Robinson.

again boller only has eyes for robinson. had a perfect rb screen open to the left, a much easier throw. he has had time … in particular, john abraham has been nullified by adam goldberg. maybe that’s an indictment on abraham’s age, but he was damn good last year.

(12:57) 32-J.Norwood left end to ATL 18 for -1 yards (58-D.Vobora). Penalty on ATL-89-B.Hartsock, Offensive Holding, declined.

finally, a chris long sighting. he completely blew up the run play, got held, made for an easy tackle for vobora

(12:08) (Shotgun) 3-D.Shockley pass deep right to 87-J.Peelle to ATL 44 for 23 yards (21-O.Atogwe). PENALTY on ATL, Illegal Formation, 5 yards, enforced at ATL 21 – No Play.

long was completely held again on this play, no call. he sat out the previous series, but has come in like a man on fire all of a sudden. falcons still have first team o-line, even with 2nd team qb and rb.

(11:37) (Shotgun) 3-D.Shockley pass incomplete deep right to 80-M.Booker (24-R.Bartell) [72-C.Long].

again long with the pressure, chasing shockley all the way to the sideline from the opposite side of the line. bartell should have had it, probably couldn’t believe it came to him. appallingly stupid throw.

(11:15) 38-S.Gado right tackle to STL 48 for 2 yards (50-C.Lofton).

D’Marco Farr: “Rams offensive line is having a tough time getting to the second level… that’s why these LBs are making so many plays”

(10:03) 12-K.Boller pass incomplete short right to 14-K.Burton.

smith now facing 98 jamaal answerson … and getting beat badly. held on this play, no call. completely whiffs on the next play, gets called. gets a break as anderson stunts on the following play.

(9:35) 38-S.Gado right guard to 50 for 4 yards (29-J.Fudge).

at the time, i tweeted: Beautiful draw play, could have been a big play but looked like Gado ran into his own blocker

(8:57) 12-K.Boller sacked at STL 42 for -8 yards (90-L.Sidbury).

hard to blame the running back … gado was already occupied on that side, just a complete overload as 50 lofton flies in underneath, and 90 sidbury sheds a block up the middle to nab boller as he steps up.

(3:29) (Shotgun) 12-K.Boller pass deep left to 11-L.Robinson to ATL 29 for 25 yards (71-K.Biermann).

the offensive highlight of the first half. falcons overload the left side again, but gado flies over to pick it up. boller steps into the throw, arches it over the rush. robinson goes high to make the catch, exposing the body, but spins away from cb (aw fudge!) and gets 7 yards after contact. very good all around effort.

(2:13) 12-K.Boller pass short right to 14-K.Burton pushed ob at ATL 19 for 9 yards (29-J.Fudge).

a close second. nice tapdance down the sideline by burton, who finally gets a look. this kid might be able to play a little. definitely has a big edge over the old dudes (carter, curry) for the #3 receiver.

(1:28) 38-S.Gado right end to ATL 17 for -2 yards. FUMBLES, touched at ATL 20, RECOVERED by ATL-21-C.Owens at ATL 32. 21-C.Owens to ATL 32 for no gain (11-L.Robinson).

this one’s mostly on the qb .. weird looking footwork, almost leaping backwards into the handoff, but gado’s hands have to be softer than that. He’s pissed at himself. A very frustrating half for him, the complete opposite of last week.

At this point, I tweeted: Who wants to be the Rams #2 RB? Gado – “not it!”