It seems like only yesterday that many of the so called "experts" picked the St. Louis Rams to be their sleeper team in the NFC, the darling out west that could give the 49ers and Seahawks a run for their money after going 3-1-1 against the rest of the NFC West in 2012. The NFL sat up and took notice, putting the Rams on prime time in week 4 against the defending NFC Champions, the San Francisco 49ers. With both teams coming off surprising butt kicking losses in week 3 and with the 49ers riddled with injuries to their star players, it was the perfect opportunity for Jeff Fisher's Rams to steal a win early and get back to .500. Instead, the Rams were outclassed, out muscled, out coached and whipped for the 2nd straight week, leaving many questions and not a lot of answers heading into week 5
Momma always said. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say nothing at all
Sam Bradford - I'm not ready to throw in the towel on Bradford but I can very easily see why he is quickly moving up the bust lists of a lot of experts. Bradford was awful against the 49ers. He missed wide open receivers, threw into coverage way too much and panicked too early and often while in the pocket. The Rams forked over a ton of money when they drafted Bradford #1 overall and so far, they have not received much of a return in the investment.
Offensive Line - Once again, what was suppose to be a strength for this team really struggled again. The 49ers were without All-Pro Aldon Smith and they still had no problem getting into the backfield. The offensive line allowed 6 sacks and less then a yard per rush attempt.
Offensive play calling - I should probably just copy and paste my same blog from last week's game because once again, the play calling was beyond awful. All preseason long the Rams hyped this up tempo, high octane offense and here we are in week 4, witnessing the same type of dink and dunk offense we've seen the past couple of years. The Rams have no running game but they do have play makers at the wide receiver position. Instead of utilizing those weapons say like an Aaron Rodgers does, the Rams just run right the defense on 1st and and 2nd down and then call a play where they need 8 yards and get 5. Last season, Chris Givens was one of the top deep threats in the NFL but this year, offensive coordinatro Brian Schottenheimer can't seem to call a play that goes longer then 10 yards.
Defense - Instead of breaking down each part of the defense, I'll just lump it all together into one big pile. For the 2nd straight week, this defense was god awful. They can't stop the run. They can't tackle and they continue to play too far off the opposing teams wide receivers. The 49ers had 2 threats offensively and the Rams did nothing to stop them. Colin Kaepernick wasn't spectacular but the Rams let him and the 49er offense do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.
Penalties - Another constant theme so far in 2013. The Rams continue to shoot themselves in the foot by hurting their own chances offensively or prolonging the other teams drives with unnecessary penalties. The Rams lead the league in special team penalties by a wide margin and are coming closer and closer to leading the league overall. When you have obvious deficiencies on offense and defense, you can't continue to allow the opponent chance after chance after chance to take advantage of your mistakes.
Inability to make adjustments - I have yet to see this team make any type of in game adjustment to counteract what the other team is doing. The Rams just seem ok with lining up and letting the other team have their way with them. The same can be said on offense. The 49ers, like other teams, know that the Rams have zero running game so they press the receivers and force St. Louis to try something different. While Sam Bradford is no Tom Brady or Drew Brees, the Rams could very easily use the same type of offense to try and loosen up the other teams defense. Short passes can be the same as short runs. Get the ball outside quickly to your play makers and let them make plays. Force the other team to play off a bit so you can attack the inner part of the zone with guys like Jared Cook and Lance Hendricks. The other thing I would like to see is the Rams taking some advantages of the mismatches. Jared Cook is a mismatch. Tavon Austin is a mismatch. Brian Quick is a mismatch. Get those guys into spots on the field where they can make a difference.
At the quarter pole of the season, the Rams are where I picked them to be. I thought they would go 5-11 this season but right now, I'm having a hard time seeing them winning more then 2 or 3. The schedule is tough and the this team right now is trending downward. They do have a winnable game on the schedule this week when the Jacksonville Jaguars come to town but after that, it's back on the road to Houston and then Carolina before entertaining the Seahawks at home. Hopefully Coach Fisher and company use these 10 days off between games to fix some of these problems that continue to plague this team. Otherwise this organization is going to be in for another long season.