After 18 missed passes, after a mess of ridiculous penalties, defensive breakdown, offensive playcalling snafus, even after a pair of blown pass coverages led to the Lions tie the game (with their only offensive points of the day), the Rams finally went back to the one thing that works: Give the ball to #39.
And behind Jackson, they were able to turn a mountain of suck into a sweet, sweet diamond of a victory. Here are some quick thoughts, tweets, and observations:
- Quincy Butler was our best cover man today, by far. He combined with James Butler put a huge lick on breakout rookie TE Brandon Pettigrew early in the game. Pettigrew had only two catches for 17 yards, and I didn’t see him make another play after that hit.
- By contrast, Ron Bartell has really been suffering, and now opposing offenses are looking for ways to single him up. The Lions tied the game on a rare big-play call from Linehan, that had Bartell isolated on a sideline pattern — led to a first-and-goal.
- To that end, this is probably a different game if Calvin “Megatron” Johnson had played.
- The Rams’ defensive gameplan early was flawed. They were bringing big blitzes, mostly from linebackers, which are easy for QBs to spot and pick up, and Stafford showed a cool head, backpedaling to buy time and finding his running backs — always wide open — for big plays. If the Lions hadn’t killed their own drives early with penalties, they could easily have led.
- That said, once the Rams backed off and rushed four, the weaknesses in Stafford’s game became apparent. Despite his strong arm, he is not an accurate thrower at all, and had a hard time dissecting some vanilla pass defense by St Louis. I’d be very worried about my $41 million dollars if I was a Detroit fan.
- The Rams were able to score on their opening drive, an 11-play number that was iced with a field goal. Twice in their last three games, the Rams offense has scored in its first possession. That’s an encouraging trend for first-year playcaller Shurmur.
- We all lamented the bone-headed play by James Butler to bring his INT out of the end zone, then retreat back in for a safety, but the bottom line is that the play saved the Rams from giving up at least a field goal.
- Even though Louis Delmas might wear the goat horns for his ill-timed pass interference on Randy McMichael, the rookie safety is an emerging big-time player for Detroit. In a sloppy game, big hits like his — and Zach Follet’s monster shot on Danny Amendola — were the only thing that fired up a very tame crowd in Detroit.
- I’d love to see the Rams draft a big hitter this year. DE Ndamukong Suh’s name is making the rounds at TurfShowTimes. Add it to your spellcheck.
- Bulger has absolutely no touch on screen passes. How can this be true of an NFL quarterback? It’s like a pitcher not having a change up.
- To that end, Bulger had a really terrible game bailed out by the big blue W. In the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, he tossed two consecutive incompletes on 2nd- and 3rd-and-3, two more on 2nd- and 3rd-and-5, and another on 3rd-and-3 … but that last one was bailed out by Delmas’ pass interference. (No way was McMichael catching that pass.)
- We give much props to Jackson for keeping it classy this season, and continuing to lead a weak team by his strong example. Last week, at the peak of his frustration, he refused to bite on Jim Thomas’ questions, always staying “team first.” This week, with the team at the outer fringe of Josh Brown’s field goal range, he refused to let the team settle for a low-percentage 50-yard attempt. When he got the ball at the 25, his feet were churning as though he could taste the end zone from there.
- Oh yeah, and he ran that ball behind a massive off-tackle blocking wall of Jason Smith, Randy McMichael, and Daniel Fells. Some of the best Rams plays have come behind the TE overload. Add this one to the list.
You said it. Go Rams!