Another week, another failed opportunity for your St. Louis Rams, as they were dropped by the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon by a score of 16-14. Needless to say, there were far fewer positives today than there were last week.
As far as overall thoughts, I’m going to repeat my mantra from last week: This team has to take advantage of opportunities when they arise if they are going to win on a regular basis. If you watched the game today, you know that the Rams did not take advantage. They completely outplayed the Raiders for much of the first half, but they had only a 7-0 lead to show for it. Josh Brown inexplicably missed a chip-shot field goal, and the team came up empty after moving the ball fairly successfully.
The second half looked eerily similar to something the 2007-2009 St. Louis Rams would have given us. They committed several stupid penalties that cost them dearly, and the offense failed to make any adjustments. The defense gets a slight pass from me only because they game-planned all week for Jason Campbell, and they looked completely flabbergasted when Bruce Gradkowski took over. They don’t get a full pass, because let’s be honest… There’s really no excuse for getting torched by Gradkowski. But I can at least understand why it happened. One thing I won’t give a pass on are the dropped interceptions. I know these guys aren’t receivers, but you don’t have to be Jerry Rice to catch a pass that’s thrown right into your hands.
A quick look at the positives: SJ39 was the man in the first half, and I think the team needs to continue making an effort to give him as many touches as possible. Sam Bradford still showed us plenty to be excited about, especially early. He made some excellent throws, but I felt like he missed some throws that he made last week. Chalk that up to being his first road start in the NFL. Also, Mark Clayton made his presence felt again with two TD catches. This guy is quickly becoming the real deal.
On the defensive side of the ball, I was impressed with Bradley Fletcher and Jerome Murphy. I know they both got picked on a few times in the second half, but Fletcher has shown plenty of potential in the first two weeks. Murphy made his NFL debut today, and he recorded a pick in doing so. He made some mistakes, but gotta like the potential there as well.
Injury Report: The worst of the day was a concussion to safety Craig Dahl. who was playing very well up to that point. I would expect him to miss at least a week, but it doesn’t look like a long-term thing unless symptoms develop later. Rodger Saffold suffered a back injury, but it doesn’t look too serious. We’ll know more in the coming days. Daniel Fells tweaked the knee, but he fought through the pain. SJ39 also suffered a minor leg injury early, but he was fine for the remainder of the game.