For a majority of the league, .500 is something that is expected, a place where you do not want to be during the season because it would mean you are losing too many games. For the Rams, it is a welcomed number, after so many season watching that number fall out of reach as the season progressed. Now, the Rams have their third win, topping the undefeated Arizona Cardinals for St. Louis’ second divisional victory in 5 days. Much like last week, the Rams won the game with brilliant special teams play, dominating defense, and rookie players stepping up to make big plays. Before the game, Ramblin’ Fan gave some predictions for Thursday Night Football, which is how it turned out…
1. Sam Bradford will throw for 250+ yards
Bradford’s box score will read 7 of 21 passing for 141, with 2 touchdowns and an interception. However, Bradford was on point for most of the night, putting the ball in a perfect position for the receivers to catch it, only to see it hit their hands and fall to the turf. Any receivers coach will tell you, “if the ball touches your hands, you can catch it.” That did not seem to be the case on Thursday. Amendola, Kendricks, Givens, and Gibson all had some big drops during the game, especially late in the second quarter. However, at the end of the day, Bradford and the receiving corps played well enough to get the win, which always will make up for a failed prediction.
2. The Rams will have more touchdowns than field goals
Although we all hate to see Greg the Leg not on the field, it is a sign of relief to see the St. Louis Rams offense converting for a touchdown or two against a tough, tough Arizona defense. The one high note of Bradford’s 7 completion game was that 28% of his completions were for touchdowns. Givens and Kendricks both caught their first touchdown of the season, with Bradford tossing one deep to Givens for the their second 50+ yard connection in the last two games. With Amendola out, potentially for the rest of the season, the Rams will need the rest of the receivers to continue to step up and make plays like they did last night.
3. The Rams’ secondary will have their third three interception game
Most teams will take 9 sacks over a couple of interceptions any week. They Rams were destroying the Arizona offensive line and laying a hit on Kolb on nearly every snap. Still, if there was so much pressure, why were their no turnovers? Well, Janoris Jenkins likely could have had two picks by himself in the game. One of those would have likely been returned for an uncontested pick-6, had it not been broken up by a blatant face mask by Larry Fitzgerald. The real reason for the lack of turnovers was Kevin Kolb and the defensive line. In the past, the line had put solid pressure on the quarterback, but had trouble getting him to the ground. Passing under duress led to bad decisions, which led to bad throws, which led to Cortland Finnegan catching a ton of balls at the beginning of the season. Against the Cardinals, Kolb was either getting dog-piled by a group of blue and gold, or was throwing the ball in places were there was simply no one to catch the ball, including his own team.
4. The Arizona Cardinals won’t get over 250 yards of total offense
If the Arizona Cardinals had not held the ball for 34:22 minutes or were not playing catchup from the St. Louis Rams’ opening drive, this may be a different story. Instead, the Cardinals OC had Kevin Kolb throw for a season-high 50 attempts and still called in 17 rushing attempts. The Rams absolutely shut down the sub-par running game of the Arizona offense, which forced even more passes, some of which turned into big gains later in the game against a soft zone. Still, with all of those factors considered, the Arizona offense only amassed 282 total yards in the games. Kolb averaged 4.7 yards per attempted throw, while Williams ran for a measily 2.4 yards per carry, which is not too far off of his season average. Again, at the end of the day the Rams will take giving up for extra 32 yards in favor of a win.
5. Greg Zuerlein from 60+
(insert anticlimactic tuba sound) Of course, Zuerlein did not boot a 60+ yard field goal on the night that Ramblin’ Fan predicted he would do it. However, Zuerlein did not really see too much of the field last night, which is a good thing. He was perfect on the night in extra points and made his 53 yard field goal look like a chip shot. He also booted 4 out of 5 kickoffs for a touchdown, eliminating the Arizona return game that has plagued the St. Louis Rams in the past. It is inevitable that Zuerlein will blast one from 60+ at some point his season, it is just a matter of when and where it will happen.