After starting the season with a comeback win at home against the Arizona Cardinals, the St. Louis Rams flew south to take on Steven Jackson and his new team, the Atlanta Falcons. Once again, the Rams fell behind early and once again, they fought back to make it a game. However unlike last week, the Rams come back came up short and the Rams left Atlanta with a loss.
Sam Bradford - The interception return for a touchdown withstanding, once again Sam Bradford did enough to put his team in position to win the game. With no running game and the Falcons locking down Jared Cook, Bradford made good use of the other weapons at his disposal. This game had a chance to get ugly but Bradford and company made it a contest early in the 4th quarter. Once again, In Sam Bradford I trust
Tavon Austin - The rookie wide receiver finally broke through and scored his first two touchdowns of his career. The more Bradford can get the ball to Austin in space, the more plays the speedster is going to be able to make. I know a bunch of people were shocked to see the Rams trade up for Austin but I wasn't one of them. This team needed playmakers and this kid is one.
The offensive line - 2 games played against two very good defensive lines and the so far, the offensive line has yet to allow a sack. It's been quite a few years(think Orlando Pace) since the Rams can say that. Jake Long has done a fantastic job protecting Bradford's blind side and what a difference it makes to have a healthy Scott Wells under center.
Greg Zuerlein - Once again, Greg "The Leg" continues to be the Rams most consistent player. If the Rams can get across the 50, Zuerlein becomes yet another weapon for the Rams.
Secondary - I knew going in that the Rams secondary would have their hands full with the Falcons receivers but I expected at least a bit of a push back. Instead, the Rams secondary was soft and allowed Jones, Gonzalez and Douglas to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. With the Cowboys coming up next week, Jeff Fisher and company need to figure things out quickly.
Penalties - Another recurring problem reared it's ugly head and although not the personal foul type, the penalties once again put this team behind the 8 ball. The Rams can't continue to shoot themselves in the foot by being undisciplined, especially when it gives the opponent another chance to cause damage. The first drive of the game was prolonged because of an offsides penalty and the Falcons scored a touchdown. On the flip side, the Rams started every drive back from where they should've due to special teams penalties. If the Rams want to have a good season, they need to clean these little things up.
Running game - I know the Rams fell behind early but the lack of a running game so far really is alarming. Sam Bradford has thrown the 3rd most passes in the league through 2 games and while I'm sure he can handle it, a balanced offensive attack would make this team that much better. With Steven Jackson gone to Atlanta, the Rams chose to turn to 2 second year players and a rookie to try and carry the load. So far, they haven't responded well.
Passing attack - While I know Sam Bradford has been good, I'm still scratching my head over some of the play calls. The Falcons were beat up defensively in this game and yet it seemed the Rams playcalling didn't sense any urgency until they were in a big hole. I know Bradford is at his best when he gets rid of the ball quickly but it wouldn't hurt for the Rams to try and throw the ball down the field a little bit more. In fact, Bradford is 3rd in pass attempts but next to last in pass attempts 15 yards or more. With Chris Givens and Tavon Austin having the threat to take it to the house every time they touch the ball and the offensive line protecting Bradford they way they are, why not try and loosen up the other team's defense by at least threatening to throw the ball deep once in a blue moon.
Like most young teams, the Rams have trouble winning on the road so I'm not surprised they lost to the Falcons. That said, this game was there's for the taking early in the 4th quarter and they couldn't make the plays. This week, they travel to Dallas to take on a Cowboys team coming off a loss to the Chiefs. Although I expect Tony Romo to throw the ball all around the field, I also remember the last time this team was in Big D and DeMarco Murray broke the Cowboy's single game rushing record. The Rams need to survive the initial onslaught and hope not to fall behind too big to early. If they can hang around, I think they can steal this game.