It’s hard to believe the 2013 season is already over. It seems like just a month ago the season began. Unlike the three other major sports, football only has 16 games, rather than 80+, which makes the season go by what seems like much faster.
The postseason is just starting up with wild card weekend set to begin Saturday, but for the Rams, the postseason has become a foreign place, as they haven’t been since 2004.
The Rams finished the season 7-9, matching their win total from last season when they went 7-8-1. Here’s a full recap of the 2013 season
The offseason was quite eventful for the Rams as they tried to put in the final pieces to get over the hump and hopefully make the playoffs. The Rams did that by signing left tackle Jake Long from the Dolphins in free agency to shore up the offensive line as well as signing a big tight end, Jared Cook, from the Titans.
The Rams made even more noise in the draft moving up from 16 overall to eight in order to get the biggest playmaker in the draft, Tavon Austin, out of West Virginia. The Rams then added a talented defender to an already talented defense, Alec Ogletree out of Georgia, at number 30.
The rest of the Rams selections included, S T.J. McDonald, WR Stedman Bailey, OL Barret Jones, CB Brandon McGee, and RB Zac Stacy. All of which except for Jones, saw significant time on the field this season.
The Regular Season
The Rams came into the season with high hopes despite having the fourth toughest schedule coming in. The Rams had the pieces to have a dynamic offense, and with a potential top 10 defense, the Rams were hopeful that they could make the leap.
It didn’t start off so well in week one as the Rams fell behind to the Cardinals 24-13 going into the fourth quarter. Sam Bradford and the Rams didn’t give up however. Jared Cook made up for his fumble in the first quarter by scoring a touchdown, and the Rams converted the two point try to cut the lead to three. Greg Zuerlein kicked two field goals, including the game winner, to give the Rams their first 1-0 start since 2006.
The falling behind continued in the next three weeks to the Falcons, Cowboys, and 49ers, falling behind 24-0, 24-0, and 28-3. The Rams had no run game, and were forced to become one-dimensional too early, leading to big leads for their opponents.
In week five the Rams switched things up by trying Zac Stacy at running back. Stacy added a spark to the offense and lead the Rams to their first win since week one by defeating the Jaguars. Sure it was the Jaguars, but it was a big step for this team.
The Rams came up big once again against an AFC South opponent the following week by defeating the Texans on the road. to get back to .500.
The next week would change the complete outlook of the 2013 season. Down against the Panthers in the fourth quarter, Bradford was running out-of-bounds when he got hit in the knee. Bradford tore his ACL on the play and would be out the rest of the season.
Despite the absence of Bradford the Rams came out strong the next week against the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams lost 14-9, but the game came down to the last play on the one yard line.
The Rams lost the next week as well to Jeff Fisher’s old team, the Tennessee Titans, but got back on the winning track the week after by completely surprising the Colts at home and blowing them out.
This also happened to be Tavon Austin’s coming out party as he had three plays of 50 or more yards. After the bye, the Rams came out and did the same thing to the Chicago Bears in the Edward Jones Dome.
The Rams’ struggles in the NFC West continued the next two weeks as they got man-handled by the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.
The Rams would bounce back however by spoiling the Saints’ chances of taking home the number two seed by defeating them 27-16. The Rams then finished at home with a win in week 16 by defeating the Buccaneers.
With the win the Rams had a winning record at home and matched their win total from the previous year despite losing their starting quarterback eight weeks earlier. However, the Rams did lose their starting left tackle Jake Long with a torn ACL/MCL putting him out for the remainder of the season and more than likely a majority of the offseason.
The season would finish in Seattle as it had three of the past four seasons and unfortunately for the Rams it would end in with the same result, a Seahawks win. The Rams went 4-1-1 in the NFC West the season prior, but managed only a 1-5 record this season.
The Rams also found out that defensive end Robert Quinn and punter Johnny Hekker would be representing the team in the Pro Bowl. Both players set records in ’13. Quinn set the franchise sack record with 19 and Hekker set the NFL record for highest punt net yards average at 44.2 yards.
The Rams had high hopes coming into the season and had Bradford not gotten hurt, they may have reached those hopes. Either way though, 2013 should be considered a success, because even though the Rams didn’t make the post season they did match their win total from last year with their backup quarterback, leaving fans even more excited for 2014.
Its going to be a long nine months before the beginning of the 2014 season, but in the meantime the Rams will be preparing for free agency and the draft which could be just as exciting, if not even more exciting than last offseason.