These silver linings are getting tougher and tougher to find. After the back-to-back blowout losses to the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots, plus the dreaded tie with the San Francisco 49ers, fans in St. Louis likely thought they were getting a well deserved break this week against the New York Jets. That was clearly not the case, sending the St. Louis Rams to 3-6-1 and squashing any tiny, tiny hope of the team sneaking into the playoff hunt late in the season. However, there were some positives, believe it or not. Here are Ramblin’ Fans silver linings of the game…
1. Steven Jackson is back! The stud, workhorse has piled up 182 yards on 42 carries over the last two games, including a 6.2 yards per carry performance this week. To reach the 1,000 yard mark, Jackson will need to put up at least 69.2 yards per contest in the final six games of the season. That seems very “doable” at this point…
2. After giving up only two sacks against the San Francisco 49ers, the offensive line “stepped up” their performance against the New York Jets, at least in terms over raw numbers. Bradford was sacked only one time on Sunday, which is surprising given that the receivers were unable to get separation for a majority of the day.
3. Despite missing 3.5 games with a separated SC joint, Danny Amendola is still ranked within the Top 20 in receptions in the NFL. Amendola is also ranked 11th in yards per game! He has had at least 5 receptions in all but one of the games he has played in this season, with that one game being against the Arizona Cardinals when he sustained the injury right before halftime.
4. Chris Givens is the St. Louis Rams answer in the kick return game. Not only did he average 25.4 yards per return against the New York Jets, but he broke one for the house! Regardless of whether it was called back, the St. Louis Rams have not seen play making like that on special teams in a long, long time.
5. Chris Long seems to be hitting his stride in the pass rush, wrangling down the opposing quarterback 3 times in the last two games. That puts Long at 7 sacks on the season, which is tied for 13th with a handful of players.
6. Janoris Jenkins returned to form on Sunday, although he was not going up against very much talent. Jenkins name was mentioned very little on Sunday, which is a good thing for most cornerbacks…
7. Despite being completely outplayed by the Jets on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, the St. Louis Rams only undershot the Jets by 8 yards in the “total yards” category.
8. To be fair to the defense, the New York Jets only scored on drives where the team started higher than the NYJ 30-yard line. In fact, 2 out of 3 of the Jets touchdown “drives” starting within the STL 40-yard line, including one from the STL 28.
9. When the St. Louis Rams started inside of their own 20-yard line, their drives ended in the following: TD, INT, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Fumble, Downs
However, when starting at the STL 21-yard line or better: TD, Fumble, Down (in long field goal range)
Neither is good, but it does suggest that if the Rams can get better field position, they can put points on the board. On 12 drives, they Rams average start was at the STL 22, which is inflated by the 2 drives at that started around the STL 45 off of the Jets turnover on downs and a Givens kickoff return.
10. Craig Dahl was not a huge factor in the game for the first time in a long, long time. Dahl gets more blame than any single player should for a given game, but he has built quite the reputation among Rams Nation. Dahl had a very quiet game, playing relatively mistake-free football, but also not making any big contributions. Craig Dahl had only 1 tackle in the game, which matches the number of tackles that Harvey Dahl, the right guard, and Greg Zuerlein, the kicker, had on Sunday.