The following piece is a guest article, written by Justin Becker, the owner and lead writer at FantasyFootballOverdose.
There may never again be an offense as dominant as the one that the St.Louis Rams ran out between 1999 and 2001. They finished first in points and yards in all three of those years, winning one Super Bowl and just barely losing another. With several players in the Hall of Fame from that side of the ball, and that infamous turf, the Rams were absolutely unstoppable.
It was unfortunately a slow decline for the Rams as they went from the Greatest Show on Turf to the Lamest Show on Earth. The Rams went from a Top 5 offensive team to a Top 10 team from 2003 to 2006. Last year they finished 25th in scoring and 23rd in yards, and those were actually their best rankings over the past seven years. This year they ranked a dismal 30th in total yards and 21st in scoring.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. But, with that being said, we present to you the top three players that did a very good job holding this team together during the 2013 NFL season.
Tavon Austin, WR
Tavon Austin did a great job as a rookie this season. He was the eighth overall pick out of West Virginia, and he recorded 40 catches for 418 yards and 4 touchdowns. Austin also had 9 rushes for 151 yards and one touchdown, and 51 kick returns (punts and kick-offs) for 678 total yards, including a 98 yard punt return for a TD in Week 10. With his height of 5’8” and his weight of 176 lbs, he established himself as a solid draft pick with tremendous upside.
Sam Bradford, QB
In his 4th season in the NFL, Sam Bradford was showing very nice improvement. During the St. Louis Rams’ first 7 games, Bradford completed 159 of 262 passes (60.7%) for just under 1,700 yards, to go along with 14 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. Four out of the first seven games Bradford threw for multiple touchdowns, and had a total passer rating of 90.9, which was a career high for him. Unfortunately for the Rams, the injury bug bit Bradford as he tore his ACL near the end of the game in Week 7 at Carolina, and was forced to miss the rest of the season. Injuries aren’t exactly something new to Sam Bradford. While at Oklahoma, during his Junior year he suffered a 3rd degree AC joint sprain one play after becoming the school’s all-time passing leader, and was forced to sit out 3 weeks. He later injured his right shoulder that same year, and had to undergo season-ending surgery. His sophomore year in the NFL (2011), he missed 6 weeks due to a high ankle sprain. The Rams can only hope that their former No. 1 overall pick can rehab and get himself ready for the start of the 2014 NFL season.
Jared Cook, TE
The Rams were very successful on deep throws this season, something that they might have envisioned when they signed Jared Cook to be their tight end during the offseason. It has been a long time since the St. Louis Rams had a productive tight end in terms of catches and yards, but its crystal clear that’s what they were going for when they added Cook. He possesses the athleticism of the “new tight end” form you see in guys like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. This season he was the leading receiver for the Rams, catching 51 passes, a career-high for him, for a total of 671 yards and 5 TDs, also a career-high. He averaged 13.2 yards per catch and started all 16 games for St. Louis.
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