Do The Dallas Cowboys And Philadelphia Eagles Wins Make The St. Louis Rams Look Better?


Oct 12, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; The Dallas Cowboys celebrate after Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) caught a pass for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The phrase “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades” is a reasonable idiom for the NFL, where every loss, regardless of the makeup of the game, casts a negative light on 6.25% of your regular season. For the Rams, that means that they will end the season with, at least, 18.75% of their year marred by loses; and likely much more, considering the upcoming schedule.

However, in darkness, there is often some light or, in this case, positivity that come in the wake of those losses.

Against the Dallas Cowboys, the St. Louis Rams stormed ahead to a 21-0 lead, and were able to hold off the high-powered Dallas offense until the 6:13 mark in the fourth quarter. After the Rams defense stuffed the Cowboys (even after a nonsensical holding call), Austin Davis had the ball on the final drive of the game, with an opportunity to take the win. Sadly, those efforts were not successful, with the Rams falling short by a mere three points. The silver linings from that contest were the Rams relative effectiveness against the run, Davis’ emergence as a throwing threat, and the mere fact that drops (i.e. Jared Cook in the end zone), penalties (fair or unfair), and a handful of mental mistakes (Davis’ late pick-six) were what cost the Rams the game; not a lack of talent.

Against the Philadelphia Eagles, it was a completely different ballgame. On the road, the St. Louis Rams failed to execute a poor offensive gameplan early. After a handful of boneheaded mistakes on special teams and some solid play by the Eagles defensive line, the Rams were staring down a 34-7 deficit with under 18 minutes left in the ball game. However, Austin Davis and the St. Louis Rams defense rallied, scoring 21 unanswered points, and handing the offense the ball at the end of the game with a chance to take the lead. Sadly (again), mental mistakes and drops would spoil St. Louis’ comeback dream. The Rams would finish the game trailing by a mere six points.

Any way you slice those games, they will still ultimately count as marks in the St. Louis Rams loss column. However, considering this past weekend, maybe those aren’t quite as painful.

A handful of weeks removed from their narrow defeat of the St. Louis Rams, the Dallas Cowboys hosted the defending Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks. Tony Romo managed an impressive 110.2 quarterback rating against the vaunted Seattle secondary, while DeMarco Murray stormed the Seahawks impenetrable front-seven for 115 yards on 29 carries. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson, an arguable MVP candidate, completed only 50% of his attempts for a mere 126 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. While every game is “its own season” in the NFL, it is interesting to note that Austin Davis managed to complete 71% of his throws for 327 yards and three touchdowns against essentially the same unit; that coming without the help of a Century Link-caliber crowd. The Dallas Cowboys are now 5-1 on the season, with their only loss coming in the season opener when Tony Romo was “Romo-ing” all over the field.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles, fresh off their holdout win against the Rams, absolutely throttled (what was) one of the top offensive units in the NFL heading into Sunday. LeSean McCoy steamrolled the New York Giants for 149 yards on 22 carries, while Nick Foles managed a respectable 248 yards and two touchdowns through the air. On the flip side, the Eagles defense held Eli Manning to a mere 151 yards passing, with zero touchdowns in their 27-0 blowout loss. To juxtapose that with the Rams, Austin Davis managed 375 yards, with three touchdowns and zero interceptions, last Sunday, with the Rams defense holding McCoy and Foles to under 300 combined yards on offense. The Eagles are now 5-1 on the season, with their only loss coming narrowly at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.

Setting aside the Minnesota Vikings mishap in the season opener, with Shaun Hill being forced to run a pathetic Brian Schottenheimer gameplan and the young defensive unit attempting to find its footing, the St. Louis Rams performances haven’t been all that bad. Austin Davis is 1-2 as a starter, with a gutsy win on the road, and two losses by a combined nine points to teams that are currently 10-2 in the NFL.

While the Rams still aren’t playing “horseshoes” or throwing “hand grenades,” the silver linings of the last two weeks should bring some optimism to a St. Louis unit set to face off against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. Drops, penalties, and mental mistakes (i.e. the three areas that have cost the Rams wins) are all “correctable mistakes.” The St. Louis Rams obviously have the talent to hang with the power houses of the NFL, and have the opportunity to demonstrate that with a win in their division opener tonight. Moreover, the two combined losses by the Eagles and Cowboys both came against the 49ers. It would be somewhat symbolic for the Rams to get their second win of the season against the NFC East kryptonite…