Big Plays & Big Decisions From Rams-Titans

 The second game of the preseason is in the books and the Rams are off to a 2-0 start. Preseason is preseason,  but fans and coaches will take it. The Rams put up sixteen fewer points against the Titans this Saturday than the previous week against the Colts but came away with the win.

As James Laurinaitis tweeted after the game “Not pretty but a W, a lot to learn from on the film Monday, busy off day tomorrow, crazy how that happens!” Not as pretty for sure, not as dominating…clearly, all together not as easy. As Laurinaitis pointed out they have a lot to learn from the game.

Perhaps the biggest lesson was learned during the game. An internal lesson for the Rams. The coaches and players need to know they can grind out a win. Last week proved the Rams can win. This week the Rams proved they can win ugly. If the Rams have their eyes on the playoffs they are going to need to win games they are not supposed to, to win games they do not have control of. To bend but not break.

Last night’s win proved just that. The Rams bent about as far back as a team can without breaking only to snap back for a gutty last second win. The defense parted like the Red Sea only to close right back up in the Red Zone. Multiple players can included in both the positive and negative in the post game notes.

This Friday’s game against the Chiefs, essentially a dress rehearsal for the season opener, will surely require and lead to many big decisions. My hope is the players step up and make the big plays needed to guide those decisions.

Seventeen points leads one to assume big moments weren’t present. If we look deeper we can see and appreciate the moments that stood out and earned the Rams a win.

  • On the 1st play from scrimmage Bradford hit Brandon Gibson for an 83-yard touchdown. Proof the Rams under McDaniels will take their strikes downfield.
  • Sam Bradford pass goes off the hands of Sims-Walker and is intercepted by Alterraun Verner.  Along  with a 15 yd penalty on Jason Brown gave the Titans the ball on the Rams 19. Titans scored a touchdown 4 plays later.
  • A 30-yard kickoff return Mardy Gilyard. Gilyard making all the right moves to earn a roster spot on the Rams. Special teams will help.
  • Rams Defense holds the Titans to a FG after a Jaime Harper 46-yard run gave them a 1st and goal from the 12-yard line. 
  • Sam Bradford pass to Mike Sims-Walker for 26 yards for a 1st down. Sims-Walker making up for his earlier mistake than lead to an interception.
  • After a Jake Locker 29 yard pass takes Tennessee to the 5 yard line for a 1st and goal. Rams red zone defense again proves strong holding the Titans to another short field goal.
  • Interception by James Butler and return for 33 yards to the 21-yard line. In my opinion the play that got the Rams back into the game and two plays later lead to…
  • A.J. Feeley 19 yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery. A great pass and great job by Avery getting on top of the Titans defense. When healthy Avery has game changing speed.
  • Rams get the ball back with 3:30 to go in the 4th quarter. Queue Thaddeus Lewis. The next 3 minutes and 25 seconds were full of big plays…and only one 3rd down.  Promptly starting the debate about who will end up #2 behind Bradford.
  • Lewis pass complete to Greg Salas for 12 yards for a 1st down.
  • Lewis pass complete to Greg Salas for 13 yards for a 1st down.
  • pass complete to Fendi Onobun for 12
  • On the only 3rd down of the drive Lewis pass complete to Mardy Gilyard who caught and ran for 12 yards.  Statement for Gilyard of how good he can be with the ball in his hands.
  • Enter Josh Brown to kick the game winning 42-yard field goal (twice…really icing the kicker in preseason). Brown is off to a great season showing a lot of confidence and more importantly…a lot of leg.