Sep 19, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) falls into the end zone for a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams defeated the Redskins 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

The St. Louis Rams Like'em Young: Trouble For Colin Kaepernick And The San Francisco 49ers?


The St. Louis Rams’ defense has been called anything from “completely dominate” to “inconsistent” and “sub-par.” Call the unit what you wish, but, either way, they have been consistent in one particular area. A knee-jerk reaction would say that it may be due to lack of familiarity with each other, or to the game as a whole, but the St. Louis Rams defense has played “lights out defense” against “young” quarterbacks in the league. Unless your name is Andrew Luck or Brandon Weedon, if you are a rookie quarterback in NFL this season and have actually played in a game, you have gone up against the Rams. Here is  recap of those games:


Sept. 16 Washington Redskins @ St. Louis Rams

Robert Griffin III: 20 of 29 passing (68.9%) for 206 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 4-13 3rdD%, 1 sack, 4 hits, and a 72.3 QBR

Although analysts remarkably praised Griffin for this efforts against the Rams, citing his 82 yards on the ground and 2 rushing touchdowns, the fact remains that the rookie could not ice the game when it mattered. Griffin looked out of sorts for a majority of the first half, and memorably complained about the Rams defense being “too rough” after the game. He also threw his first career pick, courtesy of Cortland Finnegan, and was forced by the defense to attempt to win the game with his legs. Not counting the 68 yard bomb over the blown coverage of Craig Dahl to Hankerson with no defenders around, the rookie only managed 138 yards with his arm, on way to his first regular season loss.


Sept. 30 Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams

Russell Wilson: 17 of 25 passing for 160 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, 22.2 3rdD%, 2 sacks, 4 hits, and a 16.8 QBR

Wilson’s performance against the Rams had some in the media calling for Matt Flynn in Seattle, which in hindsight was a bit premature. Still, the St. Louis Rams defense completely took Wilson out of the game, and took the win over the divisional rival without the offense ever scoring a single point. In all actuality, outside of the opening drive by Seattle that ended with a Marshawn Lynch 18 yard touchdown run, the Seahawks were stuffed offensively, managing only 319 total yards on 61 plays, with Wilson converting only 8 first downs through the air.


Oct. 14 St. Louis Rams @ Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill: 21 of 29 passing (72.4%) for 185 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 25.0% 3rdD%, 3 sacks, 4 hits, with a 62.8 QBR

Don’t let the completion percentage or the touchdowns fool you, Ryan Tannehill had a bad time when the St. Louis Rams came into town. The two touchdown passes came on passes without a defender within 10 yards of the wide receiver, including the play with Janoris Jenkins seemingly memorized in a death stare into the Miami backfield. The game was filled with dump offs, screens, and one-step slant routes by Reggie Bush. In fact, only two wide receivers even caught a pass in the game, with the RB, FB, or TE catching 12 out of 21 completions. Miami converted only 12 total first downs, with 8 coming through the air, and managed only 195 yards of TOTAL offense. Had it not been for the weary leg of Greg Zuerlein and the untimely fumble by Brit Miller in St. Louis territory right before the half, the Rams would be undefeated against rookies this season.


Nov. 25 St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals

Ryan Lindley: 31 of 52 passing (59.6%) for 312 yards, 0 TD, 4 INT, 30.7 3rdD%, 2 sacks, 2 hits, with a 17.6 QBR

Yes, Ryan Lindely is a rookie, taken by the Arizona Cardinals with the 185 pick in the 2012 draft. In all fairness, he did vastly outperform Kevin Kolb in his game versus the Rams, but, then again, performance is pretty subjective. Lindley managed to attribute zero points to the Cardinals loss, but single handedly threw Janoris Jenkins’ name back into discussion for the Defensive Rookie of the Year after he intercepted two of the rookie’s passes, returning both for touchdowns. Lindley converted only 4 of 13 3rd down tries, and failed to convert on 4th down twice during the game. He also led the team to only 375 yards on 77 plays, good for under 5 yards per play; a putrid average.


Comp. Att. Comp% Yards TD INT QBR 3rd Down % Sack Hits
Griffin 20 29 69.0% 206 1 1 72.3 30.7 1 4
Wilson 17 25 68.0% 160 0 3 16.8 22.2 2 4
Tannehill 21 29 72.4% 185 2 0 62.8 25.0 3 4
Lindley 31 52 59.6% 312 0 4 17.6 30.7 2 2
Total 89 135   863 3 8     8 14
Average 22.25 33.8 67.2% 215.8 1 2 42.38 27.15 2 3.5


Clearly, the youth factor has played a role in the St. Louis Rams ability to win this season. The Rams are currently 4-6-1, with three of those wins coming against rookies, and the other against the Arizona Cardinals when Kevin Kolb was the quarterback. So, why would that all matter this week?

In case you are oblivious to the happenings in the NFL, Jim Harbaugh announced this week that Colin Kaepernick will be getting the start for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. The 49ers new signal caller is as much a rookie as any of the previously mentioned players, with the exception of Lindley, having “played” in only 3 games in 2011 and having only 79 passing attempts in his career.

Kaepernick played for a majority of the game against the Rams in Week 10 when the two teams tied at the 24-24 mark in extended play. He did complete 64.7% of his passes, which is right on par with the rest of the rookies, but only gained 117 yards and did not throw for a touchdown. Similar to RGIII, Kaepernick did rush for 66 yards, including a touchdown, but allowing the quarterback to win with their legs seems to be a game plan that Jeff Fisher is willing to live with. On offense, the 49ers converted only 2 of 11 3rd down attempts, and only moved the chains 11 times through the air. St. Louis also recorded 3 sacks on Kaepernick, and hit Smith and the sophomore 9 different times on drop backs on top of the takedowns.  If the rest of the season is any indication, the St. Louis Rams should have a great night on Sunday, especially considering Kaepernick will be on the road in the Edward Jones Dome this time around.

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  • Randall

    What a homer article. “the TD came on passes without a defender within 10 yards”. First off, this sounds like a common problem seeing how it’s occured more than twice. Secondly, these count. GOOD Defenses don’t allow WR’s, TE’s, etc to run down field free with 10 yard buffers. So siting these as instances that don’t count or as mulligans is ridiculous. It’s especially laughable that they are referred to as if it only happened once, only to keep reading and see that it happens again and again. The Rams have hardly had great success against young QB’s. You can sugar coat it all you want, but Tannehill played BEAT the Rams and accounted for all but 3 points (FG). RGIII and Skins put up 28, 3 of those TD’s were from RGIII. Had the Redskins defense provided any help, that would be another loss as RGIII clearly gave the Rams problems, as did Tannehill. Even that horrible rookie at AZ who got his first start ever threw over 300 yards. Granted he had 4 terrible turnovers, but my grandmother could have picked off 2 of those.


      Agreed, good defenses do not allow players to “run down field free,” and Craig Dahl is exactly what is not good about the defense; it was on his blown coverage, not an amazing deep ball.

      If you want to say that a quarterback is amazing for completing wide open passes down the field, then run with it, no one is here to argue against that. However, if you actually watched either of those games, which is doubtful, you would have seen that the quarterbacks were not the reason those teams were in the game:

      The ‘Skins started off the game with a fumble recovered returned for a touchdown, and were handed the their opening offensive touchdown on one “roughing the passer” call and a missed holding penalty on Cortland Finnegan in the redzone that allow RGIII to waltz in untouched. He barely threw for 200 yards and that includes the long ball. Tannehill played like complete garbage, and had Greg Zuerlein not missed 3 easy field goals and Brit Miller not fumbled to kickoff at the STL 25, the Rams would have trounced MIami, who put up less than 200 total yards of offense.

      You CLEARLY didnt watch any of those game, but that is OK; the St.Louis Rams can be hard to watch sometimes. But, the assertion that they “have hardly had great success” is hard for me to wrap my head around considering they are 3-1-1 against those players, if you include Kaepernick. You can take those 3 “gimme” touchdowns that were previously mentioned, because those where the only passing touchdowns in 5 combined games. I will take a 3TD-to-8INT ratio any day of the week, especially when 2 of those interceptions led directly to 14 points on the board.

      Maybe math wasn’t your subject in school, or maybe you have trouble understanding football terminology… but 215 passing yards per game, a sub-45 QBR, and a sub-30% 3rd down conversion percentage are complete garbage numbers for a starting quarterback; and that is exactly what they have averaged against the Rams defense.

      Oh, and did I already mention the 3-1 record against them? I think so, but I will say it again :)

      • Ram Durand

        Dude…did YOU watch the Miami game? Two of those “easy” FG’s Zuerlein missed were from 48 and 66 yards on a rain-soaked field. I’m a Ram fan but this article offered nothing whatsoever. Every TD pass was a defensive “lapse”. They still count. The author tells us to ignore the QBs’ completion percentages….even though three of the four performances were better than the best Comp % in the NFL to date. Kaepernick brought his team back from a two-score deficit in the fourth quarter to sneak out with the tie (which had the same effect as a loss for the Rams)….I guess that should be ignored as well. It was a nonsense, homer article and a homer attempt by you to defend it.

        • HAHAHAHA!

          Ok I grantly you and the 49er fan that they counted… And it looked to me like completion percentage was given for every since quarterback. However, completing 70% of dump passes, check downs, and bubble screens does not necessarily mean you are having an amazing game, hence the 3 TD total and 215 yard average over 4 games.

          They item that both of you seem to actually be ignoring is that the St. Louis Rams are 3-1-1 against these teams… So, are you trying to tell me those high completion percentages are a better indicator than the score at the end of the game? I sure hope not… Are you saying that completion percentage is a more telling factor that touchdowns, or third down conversion percentage? Again, I sure hope not…

          Bottom line, regardless of any of that statistics, the Rams have had success against these quarterbacks in terms of getting a win at the game!

          Oh, and from 48 yards, Zuerlein is has the most made field goals and a perfect make percentage, so “easy” could be a work to describe it for him. And, Alex Smith was 7 for 8 for 72 yards and a touchdown before he left the game with a concussion… Kaepernick didn’t do anything that Amex Smith was not doing already. Isaiah Pead dropping fumbling on the STL 20 does not count as Kaepernick leading them to a score, especically when Frank Gore rushed for the touchdown on the next play.

        • HAHAHAHA!

          Still talking shit?! Looks like the Rams are, in fact, pretty good against young quarterbacks… High completion %, but no TD, leading the team to only 6 point in the second half and was solely responsible for the safety and the Rams defensive touchdown. Oh, yea… and NO WIN. 4-1-1 against

  • Saddam Khan