Sep 30, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams cornerback Bradley Fletcher (32) celebrates after making an interception in the final minute of the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Edward Jones Dome. The Rams defeated the Seahawks 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-US PRESSWIRE
As a Rams fan, having two wins in September feels so strange, but yet, so good. St. Louis is coming off of a hard fought battle in the Edward Jones Dome, which pushes the team back up to the .500 mark heading into October. Much the way it has been so far this season, the Rams were able to stay in the game through the outstanding play of the defense and special teams. Luckily, this time the “good guys” were able to pull it out at the end of the game, instead of falling apart like they did against the Chicago Bears. Anyways, Ramblin’ Fan made some bold predictions going into the game. So, how did we fare…
1. St. Louis secondary will cause more turnovers than Seattle
There is no doubt that the Seattle Seahawks secondary will, unjustifiably, continue to get more respect as a unit than the St. Louis Rams secondary. However, at the end of the day, the offensive coordinators around the league will be well aware of the Rams defensive prowess. After picking off Russell Wilson on three separate occasions, the Rams now have intercepted the ball at least once in every single game, and recorded three inceptions in a game… twice. They have completely taken away the passing attack from the opposing quarterback in nearly every game (aside from Matthew Stafford in the 4th Quarter), allowing only one game over 250+ yards passing, a measly two passing touchdowns, and eight interceptions in four regular season games. No team in the NFL has numbers anywhere close to those… no one! The Seahawks were able to capitalize on a miscommunication between Bradford and Gibson, where the quarterback clearly thought the receiver would be curling back to the ball deep. Still, the one interception was nothing compared to the two beautiful picks by the Rams secondary (the other interception was by OLB Rocky McIntosh), especially the one from Bradley Fletcher to ice the game.
Verdict: Pass (1-0)
2. The Rams will have doubled their sack count by the end of the game
No offense to Seattle’s front seven, but some had predicted they would come out and repeat their eight, first half sack performance against the Packers. Bradford, realistically, was only sacked once during the game as a result of the initial pass rush of the defense, the other coming from holding the ball for 7+ seconds inside of a beautifully formed pocket. However, that isn’t saying that the Rams weren’t beaten up front quite regularly, especially on the interior of the line. Seattle recorded nine tackles for a loss and three hits on Bradford, including two sacks. However, the Rams defensive line was just a potent, forcing Russell Wilson into uncomfortable situations, which led to big losses and turnovers. The Rams did not quite double their previous sack total, but should have been close. Officially, St. Louis tallied only two sacks in the game, including one from Robert Quinn which brings him to three on the year. However, the booth counted an attempted scramble by Russell Wilson, that got eaten up in the backfield, as a “rush,” taking away a should-have-been third sack.
Verdict: Fail (1-1)
3. Seattle will have more rushing yards than passing yards
Some might call me a prophet, but predicting weak play out of Russell Wilson is nothing to brag about if you have watched any of the Seattle games this season. The ‘Hawks offense is not only centered around the running of Marshawk Lynch, but completely dependent on it for any type of offensive success. Russell Wilson did complete 20 of this 25 passes (although 3 of them were to St. Louis Rams players), but only recorded 160 yards, which is actually above his season average. Marshawn Lynch and Robern Turbin, alternatively, had a field day running over the porous rushing defense of the Rams, leading to a combined 26 rushes for 163 yards, which was good for 6.2 yards a carry. Tack on an additional 16 rushing yards from Russell Wilson and Leon Washington, and the Seattle ground attack outperformed the passing attack by an astounding 19 yards.
Verdict: Pass (2-1)
4. Brandon Gibson will get back on track with a touchdown, Golden Tate will not
Head-to-head, the two players had similarly unimpressive performances. However, it was open season for the Rams receiving core, with Bradford targeting 9 different players throughout the game. Golden Tate, unsurprisingly, was shut out by the St. Louis secondary, contributing only a single catch for 7 yards. Gibson was only slightly better, recording two receptions for 28 yards, although both catches counted for 14 yard first downs. There is not much to say about the lack of production, so I will just jump on to the next one.
Verdict: Fail for Gibson, Pass for Tate (3-2)
5. Greg Zuerlein will be the leading scorer in the game
I would like to think that this prediction influenced the play of Greg Zuerlein on Sunday, but I highly doubt that his monster leg needed any help from anyone. At one point in the game, Zuerlein was trending on Twitter with three different nicknames: #GregTheLeg, #LegaTron, #YoungGZ. Cool nicknames aside, Zuerlein continued to impress in this rookie season, tacking on another 4 field goals against the Seahawks, bringing his season total up to 12 success attempts. Not only did Zuerlein lead both teams in scoring with 13 points (4 field goals, 1 extra point), he did it in record breaking fashion. LegaTron broke the St. Louis Rams record for longest field goal after a first quarter rocket from 58 yards, snagging the title from the beloved Jeff Wilkins. He then proceeded to break his own record, by booting another from 60 yards in the third quarter, which is the first time in NFL history that a kicker has successfully kicked two field goals of 58+ yards in a single game. Defensive secondary included, Greg Zuerlein may be MVP of this young St. Louis Rams team. Typically, a kicker being the best player would be an insult, but any of the Rams would happily take second place behind the monster leg of Greg the Leg.
My thoughts exactly…
Verdict: Pass (4-2)