Nov. 25, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA: Arizona Cardinals fans sit in the grandstands following the game against the St. Louis Rams at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Ah, the joy of waking up in the morning and willingly cycling through the news in search of positive reads about the St. Louis Rams. Including the bye, the Rams have gone six weeks without much positive news, aside from the pity points given for their tie with the San Francisco 49ers. My silver linings are going to come later today, so, for now, here are Ramblin’ Fans’ 10 observations from the game on Sunday:
1. In all honesty, I do not feel overly excited about the win, and that is a good thing. The Arizona Cardinals are a team that the St. Louis Rams “should have” beaten… and they did. Rams Nations should cherish each and every win in St. Louis, but at some point, fans will have to adapt to the idea that there are some teams that should get beaten in the NFL. The Rams were the superior team on both sides of the ball, and this time they showed it (unlike last week).
2. Would anyone else gladly accept Bradford throwing under 25 passes if it meant Steven Jackson would get 23+ carries? On or off, Jackson and Richardson should be getting the majority of touches in any game. Sadly, that it took a half-healthy Danny Amendola and a 0-4-1 record to get back to that philosophy…
3. Those wide receiver screens to Chris Givens worked to complete perfection yesterday against a pretty above-average secondary. If there is a solid block on the corner, there isn’t a player in that stadium that should be able to wrangle Givens down in the open field before he gains 5+ yards.
4. Greg ‘the Leg’ Zuerlein’s first attempt was a textbook demonstration of a shanked kick. Wow! Still, I would trust his leg any day of the week from any range, and I am sure that the coaching staff feels the same way. Bright side? Mason Crosby in Green Bay looked a whole lot worse last night…
5. This team is not going to be able to win meaningful games if they continue to commit dumb, dumb penalties at inopportune times in the ball game. Not that there is ever a good time to commit a penalty, but it does seem as if the offensive line enjoys waiting until the team is in a critical position before jumping offsides. Giving up 84 yards on 10 penalties, including 2 first downs, is not a characteristic of a great football teams, although it may be a sign of youth.
6. Craig Dahl…
7. Not the biggest fan of Austin Pettis out there returning punts, but at least he didn’t fumble the ball on Sunday. A 4.5 yard average return will not blow anyone’s mind, but consistency is not necessarily a bad thing. Did anyone else think that he got face masked on a couple of those returns? Maybe he just looks awkward sometimes?
8. Bradford’s interception was ugly… real ugly. But, Matt Ryan is “supposedly” a much more polished, established quarterback in the league right now, and he threw 5 interceptions just one week before. Nobody expects a secondary to force massive turnovers in every games, but giving up only one to a team that can easily cause three or more in any given game is not too shabby.
9. The defense completely forced the Cardinals into being one-dimensional early in that game yesterday. Unless you are a first overall pick that is predestined to be the next Peyton Manning, there is absolutely no reason that any “quarterback” should be throwing the ball 52 times in their first start in the NFL. Didn’t LaRod Stephens-Howling put up 127 yards on the ground versus Atlanta last week? Why did he only get one carry? Wells did start off hot, so maybe the Cardinals should have stuck with what was working… no complaining here though.
10. Gibson, Quick, and Pettis… come on! Managing zero catches on 6 targets is impressive for anyone, but to combine as a group to pull off the feat; that is truly impressive. Givens and Amendola were targeted 7 times, catching 6 of those passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. Roster spots on the St. Louis squad are going to be in short supply next season, especially at wide receiver, so Gibson and Pettis had better find a way to get open if they plan on being in St. Louis coming 2013. Is Steve Smith even on the team anymore?
Bonus: The three most impressive players on the offense, not named Chris Givens, were Lance Kendricks, Steven Jackson, and Danny Amendola. All three of those players were severely limited in practice throughout the week, and Danny Amendola had to fight the training staff to get clearance to play in the game. That is the kind of fight that you see on winning ball clubs, and it is refreshing to see that on this St. Louis squad!