The self proclaimed “Dream Team” came to St. Louis on Sunday and did their best to live up to the hype. They outplayed the Rams in every fashion of the game and left with a 31-13 beatdown.
After a great start by the defense, the Rams’ first offensive play of 2011 went to Steven Jackson. SJ39 went untouched for 47-yard touchdown on the most exciting first play from scrimmage for a Rams’ offense since Warner found Bruce against the Vikings in the 1999 playoffs.
The Eagles would respond on the next drive. Mike Vick found DeSean Jackson for 41 yards, Jason Avant for another 20. The Eagles tied the game shortly after on a 7-yard touchdown pass to LeSean McCoy. On the ensuing drive, the Rams would march 53 yards to the Eagles 29. It is here where the game took a drastic shift. Bradford opened left, ready to execute a play action fake. Instead, he tripped on center Jason Brown’s foot, and fumbled the ball. Juqua Parker scooped up the football and ran 56 yards for a touchdown.
After trading punts, the Rams took over at their own 27. Again the offense, without Steven Jackson who strained his quad on the second series, proceeded to move the ball effectively, setting up 2nd and 10 at the Eagles 31 yard line. On the next two plays, the Rams offense would stall on two consecutive dropped passes. First, rookie tight end Lance Kendricks dropped a ball deep down the left side of the field. It looked like he was the only player in sight on the television I was watching. On the next play, Brandon Gibson followed suit. This ball was a little behind Gibson, but nevertheless a catchable ball. A 49-yard Josh brown field goal would bring the Rams within 4 points but that would be as close as it would get for the rest of the day.
The second half was dominated by the Eagles. Their defense was stout, getting to Sam Bradford often and eventually knocking him out of the game. Sam will have an MRI on Monday. The Rams managed only 3 points in the second half. On defense, the Rams began to come undone. LeSean McCoy was held to 27 yards on 11 carries. The next 4 carries would go for 95 yards, 49 on a 4th quarter touchdown that would close the scoring in the game.
More thoughts after the break.
The Rams let the Eagles off the hook.
Today I was reminded of Dennis Green’s epic press conference meltdowns that lives on forever in Coors Light commercials and in the world of Youtube. He said something along the lines as, “They were who we thought they were. If you want to crown them, then crown them. But they are who we thought they were and we let them off the hook.”
I couldn’t help to think about that quote today after the self proclaimed Dream Team came to town and handled their business. DeSean Jackson piled up 102 yards on 6 catches. LeSean McCoy made big plays in both the running game and the passing game. And of course, the orchestrator of deadly offense, Mike Vick did his thing. Despite completing only 46% of his passes, he managed to throw for 187 yards and added 98 yards on the ground. Most importantly, it seemed that whenever his team needed a big play, Vick got it done. The Eagles were who we thought they were.
Unfortunately, the Rams weren’t who we thought they were or at least they weren’t what that 4-0 record in the preseason made us think they were. There were drops, penalties, mental mistakes and poor execution. Last year it was known to most that this was a young team that fought hard, but lacked enough talent to beat the good teams. Today, the Rams did a good job in beating themselves. They’ll need to put it all together. It doesn’t get much easier for a while and with the injuries suffered today, they will be behind the 8-ball.
Worse than the loss itself is the loss of key personnel. The Rams were remarkably injury free this preseason. Karma caught up with them in a big way on Sunday, with Steven Jackson (quad), Danny Amendola (gruesome dislocated elbow), Jason Smith (ankle) and Sam Bradford (finger) all knocked out of the game. Just a brutal way to start the season.
The upside from week one is clearly the addition of Cadillac Williams. He was perhaps the lone positive on offense today. Finally, the Rams seem to have a productive backup running back.
Robert Quinn inactive for week one? I know there were some containment issues against Jacksonville, but I was certainly shocked when I heard he was inactive.
Congrats to AJ Feeley. AJ threw his first pass in a regular game since December 2, 2007. Feeley went 2 for 6 for 21 yards. And in other news, Ram fans flocked to talk radio and message boards crying for the return of Thad Lewis.
In the preseason, I wrote about the Rams struggles in the 2nd half of football games last year. 3 points today. This is something that is a concern for me.
Cam Newton threw for 422 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals. That’s 87 more yards than his career high in college. Yeah, the Cardinals’ secondary is that bad.
The 9-11 tributes were emotional. A job well done by the NFL. To add on to it, how about the story of Buddy Ryan? He puts off cancer surgery to watch his two sons, Rex and Rob, coach against each other Sunday night when the Jets took on the Cowboys. Best of luck to him.
Sam Bradford now has 1 touchdown in his last 6 games.
The banged up Giants just lost to Rex Grossman and the Redskins. They are very vulnerable for an upset on Monday Night Football next week.
Don’t give up your seat on the bandwagon just yet. Rams return to Monday Night Football next. I hope they’re ready.
I know I will be ready for some football.