Nov. 25, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA: St. Louis Rams cornerback (21) Janoris Jenkins returns an interception for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams vs. NFC West Review: Arizona Cardinals

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

The St. Louis Rams swept the Arizona Cardinals this season in impressive fashion, picking up their first victory over the then undefeated Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football in week 5.  That victory in week 5 was a big moment for this young football team as they improved to 3-2 with a resounding win over an undefeated division rival on the national stage.  The Rams showed that they could win ugly with a dominating defensive performance, something that would become a recurring theme in the NFC West this season.  The offense did just enough to help the defense secure the win as they were only able to muster 242 yards and 12 first downs.  The Rams defense absolutely shut down the Cardinals running game in both contests, allowing a total of 119 rushing yards at 2.98 yards per carry.  The defensive line really controlled that first game especially as they also collected 9 sacks and forced a fumble to secure the win at the end of the game.  The defensive line was less dominant in the second game as the Cardinals offense appeared to be having their way with the Rams in the first half, Janoris Jenkins’ pick six in the second quarter was a huge play that kept the Rams in the game.  The second pick six that Jenkins had late in the 3rd quarter helped to ice the victory for the Rams.  The second game also featured a breakout by Chris Givens as he pulled in 5 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. Steven Jackson also had an impressive game as he rumbled for 139 yards on 24 carries for 5.8 yards per carry, easily his best game of the season in terms of production.  It isn’t all good news for the Rams in spite of winning both games by two touchdowns, as the statistics show that the same things that haunted the Rams all season long affected them in these games as well.  The first and most important issue that needs to be addressed between now and next season is the teams 3rd down problems, they converted only 28% of third down chances against the Arizona Cardinals this season.  Yes the Cardinals had the second best 3rd down defense in the NFL allowing only 32.9% of all chances to be converted, but picking up less than 30% of third downs is going to get you beat in the NFL.  On the season the Rams averaged only 32.1% third down conversion which was good enough for 29th in the NFL.  The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, two teams hosting Championship weekend, averaged 48.7% and 45.1% respectively.  Of course the Rams offense will probably improve on 3rd down next season as their young roster becomes more comfortable, and as Sam Bradford plays in the same system for the second season in a row.  The second problem that constantly plagued the Rams this season was penalties, as they notched 17 penalties for 144 yards and gave the Cardinals 5 first downs via penalties over the course of their two games.  If the Rams want to be a playoff caliber team they will need to cut those penalties down considerably, and preferably reduce them by 50% to be able to beat other playoff level teams.  I am sure that fixing the penalty issues is going to be a priority for the Rams at the start of next season, and for the most part the are correctable penalties.  Jeff Fisher’s teams have always played with an edge, and because of that have had a tendency to pickup personal foul penalties in the process, but the types of penalties that the Rams were picking up in bunches this season were of the pre-snap (a.k.a mental error) type of penalty which is something Fisher will work hard to address.  The Rams front office has their work cut out for them this offseason keeping pace with the teams in the division, at the start of this season I would have guessed the Rams were 2 years behind the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in their rebuilding effort.  After this season I would say if they have similar success in the draft and the offseason they could be challenging for the NFC West crown in 2013, after coming up one fumble recovery short of going undefeated in the NFC West the Rams and their fans have to feel good about the future in St. Louis.

Arizona Cardinals

St. Louis Rams

Total Score

20

48

1st Downs

44

27

Passing

29

14

Rushing

10

12

Penalty

5

1

3rd Down Conversion

11/32 (34.38%)

7/25 (28.0%)

4th Down Conversion

0-4 (0%)

N/A

Total Plays

153

108

Total Yards

657

609

Yards Per Play

4.29

5.64

Drives

27

25

Passing yards

538

325

Attempts/Completions (%)

59/102 (57.84%)

15-39 (38.46%)

Yards/Pass Attempt

5.27

8.33

INT

4

2

Sacks – Yards Lost

11-63

3-21

Rushing

119

284

Attempts

40

66

Yards/carry

2.98

4.3

Red Zone Possessions

2-8 (25%)

1-5 (20%)

Penalties – Yards

12-91

17-144

Turnovers

5

2

Fumbles Lost

1

0

INT

4

2

Def/ST TD

0

2

Time of Possession

66:13

53:47

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

Next Rams Game Full schedule »

Tags: St. Louis Rams

comments powered by Disqus