With four wins and tie, the 3-0-1 mark against the NFC West have fans deciphering on two options:
1. The organization has made a tremendous decision in hiring Jeff Fisher by the obvious improvement from last year.
2. The Rams are still woefully inferior to teams outside the division. Are they not mentally prepared to face teams outside the west? Or does a good old-fashion rivalry game gets the motivative juices running?
A case can be made for either of these options, but I’m looking at it with an optimistic eye.
In the NFL, wins are hard to come by. I’m sure you won’t hear the Rams complaining about winning games no matter who the opponent.
Although, it is hard to ignore that two out of four of the Rams’ wins have come against an Arizona team with a battered offensive line and a team that is still looking for Kurt Warner’s replacement. Another win was a hard fault bout in the friendly confines of the Edward Jones Dome against Seattle with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson at the helm.
The home win against Seattle has to be pointed out because the Seahawks are day and night when it comes to playing at home and on the road (5-0 at home; 1-5 away). Not to mention the unforgettable tie at San Francisco.
The Rams’ upstart defense have reeked havoc upon divisional rival quarterbacks. In the Rams four games against the NFC West, they have faced Wilson, Alex Smith, Ryan Lindley , Kevin Kolb and the newest darling of the NFL, Colin Kaepernick. St. Louis forced seven interceptions and 18 sacks while yielding only one touchdown totaling in a passer rating on 62.7 percent.
Outside the division has been a different story.
Besides bottling up the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year, Redskins’ Robert Griffin III, and intercepting Lions’ Matthew Stafford three times on opening day, the Rams defense gave an abysmal effort against Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins), Tom Brady (Patriots), Mark Sanchez (Jets) and Aaron Rodgers. Although, the Rams’ defense did hold Jay Cutler (Bears) without a touchdown. That game was on the Rams’ offense.
Opposing quarterbacks outside the West have thrown 10 touchdowns and one interception.
Personally, I feel that Jeff Fisher and Les Snead are leaving their mark on this Rams’ team. You have to win your division first, and in the NFC West you have to grind out wins with physicality, playing hard-nosed defense and having a sound rushing attack. The Jeff Fisher way.
Even though the record of 3-0-1 resembles an area code, the Rams’ have dialed in on the fortune of winning in their division. The last time the Rams had a winning record in the division was in 2004, posting a 5-1 record. Their last playoff appearance I might add. Since then, the have gone 7-35 dating back to last year.
The record for the Rams finals opponents is 30-24-1. And of course, two of those five games are against divisional foes, the “tie-breaker” against San Fransico this week, and Seattle on the last game of the season, Dec. 30. St. Louis must take it up a notch if they wish to make a late playoff push. No more costly penalties, no more offensive inconsistency and the Rams cannot endure another five game stretch without a turnover.
As great as Steven Jackson is, Sam Bradford has to shake of the ever surrounding scrutiny, and prove why he was apart of Jeff Fisher’s intricate decision to turn around the franchise.