Aug 8, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein (4) kicks an extra point against the New Orleans Saints at Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams Comeback Falls Short, Lose 26-24

The one player that the St. Louis Rams normally expect to be automatic, was everything but that in the final stages of Friday night’s preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints. Down 26-24, Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein missed twice in the final five minutes, denying the Rams the comeback victory.

This game had preseason written all over it as backup quarterback Shaun Hill got the start for the Rams and Luke McCown played in for Drew Brees. Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson, Kenny Britt, and Brian Quick were other notables that didnt see any action that weren’t already ruled out.

The Rams started the game well getting a turnover on defense right away and then the offense capitalizing on the opportunity with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Hill to Harkey to put the Rams up 7-0. Down 9-7, Hill threw his second touchdown of the night on a 24-yard laser to Stedman Bailey who will be suspended the first four games of the regular season. Hill finished the night five of seven for 84-yards and two touchdowns.

After a Mark Ingram touchdown run to put the Saints up 16-14, rookie quarterback Garrett Gilbert came in and marched the Rams down the field at the end of half. Greg Zuerlein completed the drive by nailing a 45-yard field goal to give Rams a 17-16 lead going into the second half.

Despite having a good first series, Gilbert struggled in the second half and the Saints took advantage scoring the games next 10 points, one being a 25 yard catch and run from rookie receiver Brandin Cooks.

The Rams finally got back on the board when Austin Davis, who lost the backup quarterback competition last season, came in, and lead the Rams on a 64-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 15-yard pass to Austin Franklin to cut the Saints lead to 26-24.

Davis lead the Rams on two more strong drives, both ended in missed field goals by Zuerlein. Before the final attempt with :11 seconds left, Davis bobbled the snap and then spiked the ball, causing an intentional grounding penalty turning a 49-yard attempt to a 59-yard attempt. With one second remaining Zuerlein came onto the field and missed the field goal wide left.

Obviously it is a preseason game, but there are still some things that we can take away from this game. For one, the Rams looked rusty in the tackling department, allowing some big runs. Part of this is due to the team not being able to tackle during training camp due to the collective bargaining agreement, but it is still something that they will need to work on.

Aside from that though and some other little things, the Rams didnt look to bad. They came away fairly healthy, the only serious injury being to Mason Brodine, and really thats all that you can ask for.

The Rams will be back in action on August 16th at 3PM CT against the Green Bay Packers at the Edward Jones Dome.

*Notes

Michael Sam entered the Saints-Rams game with 5:13 to play in the first quarter, according to Jim Thomas of theSt. Louis Post-Dispatch.  The Rams defensive end finished the game with a tackle as well as a quarterback hit.

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