The atmosphere at the Edward Jones Dome last Sunday resembled that of a college bowl game, with fans of each team in seemingly equal numbers upping the volume after a good play by either team. The Rams can expect another divided "home" crowd this week in front of football-mad, but largely affiliation-free, London NFL fans.
That said, though, it is the Londoner's duty to root for the home team this week, and in order to do that well, it would help to know a little something about the team you're rooting for.
With that in mind, I've prepared a handy guide to the major personalities on this Rams team, and aligned them with well known characters from British pop culture and lore. You know how these things go. Ridiculous and faintly amusing characterizations after the break.
QB Sam Bradford = Sherlock Holmes
Specifically, Bradford compares well to the BBC's latest iteration of Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Massively intelligent but carries a prickly and often awkward social demeanor, he can't help but lead those around him with his talent. However, he often makes snap decisions without telling his fellow men, catching them off guard. For his receivers to keep up, they have to be able to follow his thinking at every step. Some do better than others…
WR Danny Amendola = John Watson
Amendola has become Bradford's right hand on the football field, able to anticipate his quarterback's needs and has a surprisingly tough and resourceful manner. He is an essential weapon on third down … and unfortunately will not be on the pitch on Sunday, having dislocated his clavicle from his sternum.
WR Brandon Gibson = Thomas the Tank Engine
With Amendola out, Brandon Gibson has been Sam Bradford's primary target. This is good and bad, as Gibby is not the strongest, the fastest, or the brightest of players, but like a certain blue train, he just wants to be really useful. He does some great things on the field. But however hard he tries, he often winds up inadvertently making a mess of things.
WR Austin Pettis = Ali G
For some, the swagger comes after the big play. For others, the swagger is born in and you hope the plays will come. Such is Austin Pettis, a potentially talented second-year receiver who is capable of making tough catches over the middle, but rarely gets (or perhaps earns) the opportunity. (Also, I really like to imagine Pettis rolling into practice in a bee-yellow Renault rocking Junglest Massive.)
WR Brian Quick = Curtis Donovan
Rookie receiver Brian Quick is much like the ill-fated sprinter on ASBO in the early stages of the Misfits series. He has been gifted with natural talent and potentially amazing powers, but has little idea what to do with them yet. As yet he is a minor character in the Rams' story, but could break out any day.
RB Steven Jackson = Idris Elba
Jackson is an NFL graybeard for a running back, but is still a formidable physical force with a magnetic presence. Defenses warp to contain him, which he invites. Rather than try to elude tacklers, Jackson attempts to run to – and through – them with the air of a man who will bend fate to his will. Jackson's presence carries off the field as well, as he is also one of the unquestioned leaders of this locker room. However, his time in St Louis may be shorter than he'd like.
OT Harvey Dahl = Vinnie Jones
Harvey Dahl is the centerpiece of the Rams' offensive line, even though he plays right guard. Big, nasty, and smarter than he looks, Dahl plays in the image of offensive line coach Paul Boudreau. He "plays to the whistle" as they say here, which in football speak means that he uses every opportunity to get under his man, as long as the ref isn't looking.
OT Barry Richardson = Paddington Bear
The starter at right tackle for the Rams is literally a guy we just found in the train station. Cut by the Kansas City Chiefs and looking for a home, Boudreau and the Rams brought him in out of the cold. Why? Because we didn't have anybody better. Now he's our every game starter, which could be a heart-warming story … but cuddly and soft like a teddy bear are not the attributes one looks for up front.
DE Chris Long = Sir Gawain
Sir Gawain was first renowned for being King Arthur's nephew; likewise, Chris Long could not avoid his father's shadow when he entered the league. He toiled in obscurity for two years before suddenly emerging as a force in his own right. Now, thanks to a motor that does not stop, he anchors one of the deadliest pass rushes in the NFL.
DE Robert Quinn = Guy Fawkes
Violence and overthrow are never more frightening than when they come with a smile on one's face. The irrepressible Robert Quinn, in his second year in the league, has become a dangerous bookend to Chris Long on defense. Opposing offenses can scheme their way to stopping one, but never both.
LB James Laurinaitis = Jason Statham
As the Rams' middle linebacker, Laurinaitis is a tackling machine, but plays with so much headlong energy that he seems to flag at times and need a recharged battery. The son of a professional wrestler, he knows how to project an air of reckless abandon, but he is quietly a very intelligent player who coordinates the movements of all around him.
LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar = Riddick Bowe
I'd like to say that Jo-Lonn Dunbar has some sort of marketable personality. All he does is hit people. Very hard. Where Laurinaitis is the coordinator of the defensive backfield, Dunbar is its enforcer. His physicality has changed games already.
CB Janoris Jenkins = Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog
The Rams' rookie cornerback looks mostly harmless. If you were to talk to him, you would be struck by the gentleness of his demeanor and the quietness of his voice. But do not be fooled, he is a killer on the football field. Jenkins has as much speed and ability as any defensive back to suit up for the Rams in a long time.
CB Cortland Finnegan = Vyvyan
There is no purer instigator in football than the Rams' Cortland Finnegan. He has a way of getting under everyone's skin, especially the man he's lined up against. He already put one win in the bank for the Rams by drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from an opposing receiver very late in the fourth quarter, snuffing a would-be comeback drive. He has contributed mightily to each of the other two wins by being one of the least-predictable chess pieces on the Rams' defensive board.
DB Craig Dahl = Neil
Every fan base needs a goat – Craig Dahl is ours. The Rams' free safety is considered the last line of defense on deep throws; slow-footed and not so quick-witted, Dahl can generally be blamed (fairly or not) for any big play that goes against us. However, like Neil, he has proven incredibly tough to remove.
Coach Jeff Fisher = John Cleese
The Rams' head coach has an iconic moustache, a sly wit, and an apparently unshakable confidence. He has surrounded himself with a troupe of coaching talent, some youthful and some veteran. While some coaches are power-mad, Fisher prefers to set the tone and then stand aside and let his assistants coach and his players play. While he is intelligent, he embraces the physical side of the sport with relish.
Outcast defensive coordinator Gregg Williams = Gordon Ramsay
Incredibly foul-mouthed with very little of value to say, Gregg Wiliams overspent his time in the spotlight thanks to the Bountygate scandal. He hasn't been missed, and we'd all be happier if he just stayed away for good.