In week 5 rookie running back Zac Stacy had the best game of any running back this season rushing for 78 yards off of only 14 carries. A lot of credit has been taken away from Stacy however due to the fact that he accomplished this against the worst run defending team in the NFL. Many still wonder if he is in fact the answer to the Rams running game and whether or not he can continue what he did against the Jaguars.
Against the Jaguars Zac Stacy brought back the physical aspect of the run game that Steven Jackson took when he left St. Louis. Stacy averaged 2.29 yards after contact against the Jaguars and in general averaged 5.6 yards per carry which is pretty impressive regardless of who the opponent is.
This week the Rams play the Houston Texans, who believe it or not have the 4th worst defense when it comes to stopping the run despite the fact that they have the reigning defensive player of the year, JJ Watt. The Texans are allowing the 4th most yards per carry with 4.2, and are allowing an average of 126 yards per game which is third worst in the league.
The chances of Zac Stacy continuing to be the answer to the Rams running game on Sunday is pretty good. Last week Frank Gore, who is of similar size as Stacy rushed for 81 yards on 17 carries against the Texans. Marshawn Lynch who is also only three inches taller than Stacy and 10 pound lighter, ran for 17 carries for 98 yards against Houston.
The Texans run defense is definitely not as good as what it has been and in order for the Rams to beat the Texans, finding the run game early is going to be key, as the Texans have one of the best defenses against the pass this season. The Texans are allowing only 6.2 yards per pass, which is the third best in the league. The Texans have also only allowed 671 passing yards this season which is the best in the league. In order for the Rams to win this next game, getting Zac Stacy going is going to be key which means the offensive line has to be able to be able to make some blocks and get some push.
The weeks after the Texans game are when things are really going to get interesting. After the Texans the Rams have to play three top ten run defenses in the Panthers, Bears, and Cardinals. Zac Stacy has quite the task ahead, but if he can just do enough to keep the defense honest, there is no doubt he will keep his job as the starting running back.
Stacy has a lot of pressure following Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk, but if he continues what we saw last week against the Jaguars, Zac Stacy may just have a chance of adding his name to the list of great Rams running backs.