The Hangover: Monday Night Football Edition

Good morning. Hope you don’t mind a few random thoughts while we pick ourselves up off the turf. 

Sam Bradford picks himself up off the turf at Giants stadium.

This loss is frustrating on so many levels, but it beats the truly sad losses of two or three seasons ago. The scoreboard indicates a blowout, but the Rams badly outplayed the Giants in most categories of the game. Giants fans are not at all satisfied with this win. “Relieved” is a better word. Here is just one example of a post-game take, by Giants beat writer Patricia Traina

    They need to come up with a better defensive plan or they will be sliced and diced by the better teams in the league…. A bad win is always better than a good loss, but tonight made it clear that the Giants have a long way to go if they are to have an impact on the NFC east and eventually the playoffs. 

We fooled ourselves into believing that the Rams were on the cusp of becoming one of those “better teams in the league.” We thought they had gold in them. You can see veins of the shiny stuff flecked throughout this team, without digging too hard to find it. But you also see a lot of slag, a lot of junk. Too much of the stuff. “The Rams need refinement” is a good way to close this little metaphor.

Random Thoughts:

  • Eli Manning is absolute garbage. Also, he’s pretty good. Eli Manning started the game completing 2 of his first 11 passes. He looked like a rabbit afraid of his own shadow. The Rams were able to spook him into the ground just by feigning blitz early. I feel like the threat of violence was more effective than the real thing though, as Eli appeared to get better after Robert Quinn’s big-time blindside hit.

  • Message for Josh McDaniels: Coffee is for closers. Josh McDaniels has had some great matchups against the Cover Two, notably against the Colts while coaching the Patriots’ offense, but he never attacked it the way he did with Bradford and the Rams’ receivers. At one point in the 3rd quarter, Bradford was averaging better than 16 yards per completion. The offense’s quick tempo had the Giants’ defense on its heels, faking injuries to stop the clock.

    But he didn’t deliver in the red zone. Based on the way they were moving the ball, the Rams should have put a 30 spot on the board, easily. McDaniels’ aerial assault plays havoc on safeties in wide open spaces. Inside the ten yard line, those wide open spaces just aren’t there, and the safeties have help from the out of bounds line. When the Rams offense gets into these tight spaces, they look out of sorts. Time to put the coffee down until you can figure this out, Josh.

  • Cut out the “Rams embarrassed themselves” talk. They didn’t. They made mistakes in a big game and those mistakes cost them the win. It was frustrating, infuriating, but you shouldn’t be embarrassed to wear your Rams gear this morning. The Giants’ soccer-style flops to stop the clock? Eli Manning’s complete inability to handle the rush? The New York crowd checking out, doing the Times crossword puzzle, while its team was holding onto an early 7-6 lead? That was embarrassing, in every way but the win column.

  • Those of you calling for “more Danario” are right. And wrong. On Twitter, @BBdaram made a salient point about DX’s playing time before the game kicked off. The Rams were playing on grass, which is much easier on his knees. And still his snap count was severely limited. Yes, he should be involved in the Rams’ red zone package, as his touchdown catch proves. But still, he’s a 15-20 play contributor, max.

  • Austin Pettis and Greg Salas are not feeling the love. After the game, 3rd rounder Austin Pettis felt the need to take to Twitter and defend himself, and 4th rounder Greg Salas, from the boo birds.

    I don’t understand people who get on here 2 say ignorant stuff n take shots at me for no reason? just be a fan! Or get off twitter #getalife

    For the record @GregSalas1 made some plays tonight. We all need support #ramsnation no 1 person to blame hopefully we can both play nxt week

    For the record, Salas did make some plays. He also caused a lot of wreckage in the homes of Rams fans watching the game. It’s tough to be patient with rookies when they’re pressed into action in big-game moments. It’s tough to remember that Torry Holt dropped a lot of balls when he was a rookie, and didn’t truly earn his “Big Game” moniker until the 1999 playoffs. But I don’t think it helps either player’s cause to play popularity contests on Twitter.

    This isn’t high school. That bullshit doesn’t carry weight. No one cares how many followers you have or don’t have, unless you’re building a media empire. People only care whether you caught the ball, made the first down, moved the chains. Do that in gametime, week in and week out, and the rest will take care of itself.