Much like the actual stock market, a players’ value rises and falls with each passing week. The Rams got destroyed this past Sunday, at least on the offensive side of the ball, after tearing apart the Washington Redskins in Week 2. So, with the loss to the Chicago Bears, whose stock has dropped or rose?
Cortland Finnegan: Up
Finnegan put together another wonderful performance in the wake of a disastrous week for the rest of the St. Louis Rams. Finnegan led the secondary with 3 pass deflections, most of which were on deep balls from Cutler to Jeffery. He also interception a tipped pass in the secondary and returned it for a solid gain before “fumbling” it after being tackled. Finnegan has now intercepted a pass in three consecutive games, and is tied for 2nd most in the league, behind only the Chicago Bears’ Tim Jennings. It’s a long season, but he is already chipping away at the record for most consecutive games with an interception.
Barry Richardson: Down
I am not going to rip on the offensive line anymore than necessary, but they did play bad. However, poor play was almost expected of the makeshift unit against arguably the most dominant front four in the NFL. Bradford could easily be pinned for at least 3 of the sacks taken against the Bears, holding the ball for a couple of seconds longer than necessary, then eating the ball and falling to the turf. So, why is Barry Richardson singled out? Because, he allowed 2.5 sacks by Israel Idonije, who has averaged 2.3 sacks per season over the last 9 years, but topped that total in a single game against our star right tackle. The rest of the line was still subpar, but I thought that Wayne Hunter did a terrific job on Julius Pepper, at least in pass protection.
Marty Schottenheimer: Down
After the domination of the Washington Redskins, Schotty sure flipped the script in play calling against the Chicago Bears. Against the ‘Skins, St. Louis ran 64 total plays, amassing 452 yards of total offense, including 23 first downs. Against the Bears, the Rams narrowly got 58 plays off, only 12 counting for first downs. Worse, the offense compiled only 160 yards of total offense, the equivalent of Danny Amendola’s receiving yards from the previous game. The signal calling was poor, at best, shying away from the run in favor of the quick passing game, which also did not seem to be working against the various Cover-2 defenses the Bears ran. Even the other team was confused by the lack of running from the Rams. When Brian Urlacher was asked, after the game, how he felt about stuffing the St. Louis running game, he responded with,
“They didn’t try to run it. It was nice to get a couple of stops early and they just quit trying.”
Chris Long: Up
There is no doubt that Chris Long has been terrorizing quarterbacks thoughout the season. However, the pressures and hits on the quarterback do not pop up in your typical stats line in the box score. Long finally was able to beat Robert Quinn to the quarterback in the backfield, tallying two sacks against the putrid Chicago offensive line, while keeping the Bears offense off balance for most of the night.
Daryl Richardson: Even
Daryl Richardson has been the gem of the St. Louis draft class, rushing for 83 yards on 15 carries when handed the full-time role against Washington. Surprisingly, Richardson only saw4 carries against the Bears, and only caught one pass out of the backfield. Granted, the Rams only dialed in 15 run plays for the entire game, but many expected to see a much heavier dose of Richardson on Sunday. With those 4 carries, Richardson still looked explosive, ramming through the hole for moderate gains between the tackles and busting one open for 12 yards.
The “St. Louis Rams” team name: Down
After the Cortland Finnegan fumble following his interception, the play was reviewed, although the ground had clearly caused the fumble at the end of the tackle. When the head referee took to the middle of the field to announce the decision, he laid down a classic one liner that is sure to make for some satirical headlines in the coming week. After announce the reversal of the call on the field, the officiater proceeded to point the possession in favor of the Rams, referring to them as “St. Louie.” Classic line from the replacement refs, which may take the cake over Harvey Dahl dropping the F-Bomb into the ref’s mic last season.
Greg Zuerlein: Up
Even though “Young GZ” had booted three successful field goals in each of the last two games, he had still not split the uprights from 50+ yards. Luck for him, the St. Louis Rams offense could not move the ball down the field, which pressed Jeff Fisher to call upon the rookie for some points. With seconds left in the first half, Zuerlein blasted a kick from 56 yards, knocking through his 7th field goal of the young season. Zuerlein has been a bright spot each and every week, with the third most field goals in the NFL, and the second most from 40+ yards.