1. Continue the offensive progression
WHAT NEEDED TO HAPPEN: By no means are the Rams close to what they strive to be on offense, but averaging 17.9 points per is a heck of a lot better than the touchdown and two safeties they averaged a year ago. (11.1) Fresh off his bye week, Sam Bradford showcased what he can do when he has time in the pocket as he finished with two scores, no interceptions and another clutch drive late, only to have it wiped away twice by penalties. Second-year pro Lance Kendricks is finally providing dividends and Brian Quick has checked out of witness protection after scoring his first touchdown on a 36-yard catch and run.
Let’s not forget a warm welcome back to the swiss army knife, Danny Amendola. Bradford connected with Amendola on 11 out of 12 targets on his first game back from injury. The offense will also look to welcome back speedster Chris Givens as he and fellow rookie sat out last week’s game for violating team rules.
As important as it is to continue the progression of the offense through Bradford, the Rams should ride on the coat tail of Steven Jackson after a breakout performance against the 49ers vaunted defense. After gaining 101 yards on 29 carries against the NFL’s 7th ranked defense, Jackson, Daryl Richardson and even Isaiah Pead should feast on the Jets rush defense who is giving up 145 yards a game.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: After racking up 458 yards and 24 points against the league’s number one defense in scoring (14.1) and 2nd in yards (292.1) only a week ago, the Rams took a step backwards by scraping up 289 and 13 points against a team who was in complete disarray. A little bit over a third of the Rams’ yardage came on a meaningless late drive and score when the game was already out of reach. The Rams were successful running the ball with Jackson and Richardson, but were unable to sustain any type of consistency falling behind 20-7 early in the 4th quarter.
2. Sack Sanchez
WHAT NEEDED TO HAPPEN: The Rams young and talented defensive line sacked Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick for a combined five times after netting zero in the debacle against the Patriots in London. It is imperative that Chris Long and company harass Mark Sanchez until the final blow of the whistle. Robert Quinn is tied for 7th among the NFL sack leaders with 8.5 sacks. He is proving he is the team best pure pass rusher.
According to ProFootballFocus, Sanchez has ranked at the bottom or near the bottom when he’s under duress. In 2010, Sanchez’ accuracy percentage under pressure was 49.1 percent resulting in 36th out of 36 qualifying quarterbacks, 2011 it was 49 percent resulting in 34th out of 36 qualifying quarterback, and last season he again came in last with a percentage of 49.2 out of 34 qualifying quarterbacks.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: St. Louis was credited with 3 sacks (2 by Chris Long), but they only resulted in a loss of 12 yards. Mark Sanchez was only hit three times, so besides the sacks, Sanchez virtually went untouched the entire game. I can’t place the blame entirely on the D-line. How come the Rams didn’t play more bump-and-run and press coverage against the Jets wideouts? Beside Stephen Hill, who was out, and an underachieving Chaz Schilens, the Jets do not posses a towering WR. If the Rams corners did a better job at containing, then maybe Sanchez would have endured more consistent pressure
3. Turnover Time Vault
WHAT NEEDED TO HAPPEN: Through the early portion of the season, St. Louis sat atop of the leader-board as one of the league’s leaders in takeaways by having multiple interception games.
Over the past 5 games, the Rams have gone on a dry spell by forcing a whopping total of zero interceptions.
Not to mention only two forced fumbles through the first half of the season. Terrorizing Sanchez will hopefully cause a few arid throws. Cortland Finnegan, Janoris Jenkins and the rest of the Rams’ secondary should have the upper-hand against a depleted and diminutive Jets’ receiving core.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: These boneheaded turnovers and penalties will continue to be the downfall of this young team. Stat wise, this game was pretty much even, but losing the turnover battle 0-3 to a team who is offensively challenged to say the least, will not gain any optimism. A badly thrown interception by Sam Bradford, along with a costly fumble that led to a touchdown on the Jets ensuing drive. Rookie running back Daryl Richardson fumbled early in the fourth that led to another easy score by the Jets.
4. Gang on Green
WHAT NEEDED TO HAPPEN: Even though the Jets are ranked in the middle of the pack, 16th in rushing, the Jets are still known as “ground and pound team.” The Rams’ rushing defense has been stopping opposing teams at the point of attack in recent weeks. The pocket Hercules, Frank Gore, was practically bottled up if you take his late 20 yard run. The return of rookie mammoth DT Michael Brockers, has been a force in his own right after coming back from injury notching 2.5 sack.
Stalwart middle linebacker James Laurinaitis is 4th in the NFL with 81 tackles. His running mate Jo-Lonn Dunbar has been a good acquisition thus far.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: The Jets only averaged 3.0 yards a carry, but with 41 attempts for 124 yards, New York deployed a variety of different back and controlled the tempo with the time of possession 33 minutes and 3 seconds. This wasn’t a bad outing for the Rams, (run defensively speaking) but if they would have leaped out to a quick lead and forced the Jets to lean on Mark Sanchez, this would have been a different game.
5. Tebow Time?
WHAT NEEDED TO HAPPEN: The Jets are stuck on trying to prove that trading up to the number 5 overall pick in the 2009 draft to select Sanchize, wasn’t a mistake. I can’t help but to think the Jets will deploy Tim Tebow more than we think. Colin Kaepernick slashed the Rams repeatedly on long 3rd downs. Tebow isn’t as nearly as quick or shifty, but he is just as strong of an inside runner, like Kaepernick who is used in goal line situations. It remains to be seen what the Jets will do at the quarterback position, but Sanchez nor Tebow looks to be involved in the future.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Tim Tebow was pretty much a non-factor in this game. Three touches for a total of -5 yards. The Rams were well prepared for the Jets fake punt shovel pass that resulted in a one yard loss.