Quick Thoughts On The St. Louis Rams Loss To The San Francisco 49ers


Oct 13, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis (9) hands the ball off to St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy (30) against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another disappointing loss. However, unlike most weeks, this Rams loss wasn’t hidden in the early Sunday slot, but, rather, displayed for the whole world to see on Monday Night Football. Without wasting anymore time on the intro, here are out quick thoughts on the game.

1. Not that anyone should be impressed with Brian Schottenheimer, but, at some point, we are going to have to stop pointing the finger at the play caller, and turn our attention to the man in charge of the huddle. Aside from the opening two drives, Austin Davis was horrendous throwing the football, regularly miscommunicating on patterns, over-throwing or under-throwing receivers, holding the football for far too long, and simple failing the run the offense with any consistency once the lead was in hand. As a result, Davis receiving the worst offensive grade on the team yesterday (-6.2), which was the second-lowest quarterback grade in all of Week 6; trailing only Kirk Cousins.

2. However, it did seem odd that the St. Louis Rams abandoned the run, to some extent, in the second half. Despite some explosive runs from Tre Mason and decent pickups by both Benny Cunningham and Tavon Austin, the Rams forced Davis into another 40+ attempt game. It was even more surprising that St. Louis was not able to take advantage of the plague of injuries that continued to sweep through the 49ers second- and third-levels on the defense. That is where inexperience at quarterback comes into play…

3. On a positive note, both Greg Robinson and Tre Mason graded out positively in their first regular season action. Robinson received the highest-run blocking grade among the offensive linemen, and played well-enough versus Justin Smith in pass protection to prove he can make it on the interior. Tre Mason led the team in rushing, despite getting only five carries. He made the most of every touch, averaging 8.0 yards per attempt on the ground, with another 12 yard catch and run in the passing game. That should be good news heading forward.

4. Speaking of rookies, both Lamarcus Joyner and Aaron Donald had good showings yesterday on the defensive side of the football. Joyner, who had struggled in coverage all year, did not allow a reception on Monday Night, and was in on seemingly every tackle in punt coverage. Aaron Donald, on the other hand, got his first official “start,” managing two hurries, four tackles, and two defensive stops. That included a massive 4th down stuff, which gave Austin Davis and Co. the ball at the end of the game with a chance to tie.

5. However, for once, it was the cornerbacks that were the “goat” in this matchup, with both outside starters allowing massive touchdowns while in single coverage. Janoris Jenkins bit on a double-move at the end of the half, which led to an easy 80-yard catch and run to Brandon Lloyd. On the other side, EJ Gaines had worked by Michael Crabtree on a post-corner-post move, and jogged into the endzone on a 32-yard reception.

Gregg Williams and the St. Louis Rams defense seemed content with stacking the box and letting their cornerbacks cover one-on-one on the outside with little-to-no help over the top. That backfired on them last night…

6. It didn’t help that the drought in Sack City continued last night, despite Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers being one of the “most sacked” offensive units in the NFL heading into Monday Night Football. William Hayes managed an impressive six hurries and one hit on the quarterback, but, outside of his totals, the Rams managed only seven combined pressures.

From a bystander’s prospective, it appears as though the St. Louis Rams were much more successful last season when applying pressure with just their front-four, leaving the back-seven to force the quarterback to hold the football for a tad longer than normal. These 5+ player blitzes seem to be allowing opposing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball too quickly for the Rams defenders to hit home or, worse, giving outside receivers too many opportunities in one-on-one coverage without reasonable backend help.

7. Once again, the officials left their mark on the game on Monday, dropping an offensive pass interference flag that negated a massive Jared Cook first down catch. That whiffed call would force the Rams to punt, and would eventually lead to the long touchdown throw before half. After that call, the St. Louis Rams offense never recovered. In fact, the Rams would punt on each of their next five offensive drives, four of which ended with a net gain of one yard or fewer.

At some point, Jeff Fisher is going to need to take off his Competition Committee hat and let his feeling be known to the league. There are seemingly one or two massive, game-changing calls that effect the St. Louis Rams each week, and it needs to stop…

8. Typically, we bust out 10 thoughts for the game, but we aren’t sure this particular performance deserves anymore “thought.”

Despite all of the penalties, mental mistakes, and boneheaded offensive and defensive plays that have plagued the St. Louis Rams over the past three games, there has been one constant. In each contest, the Rams defense has made a key stop at the end of the game and given the offense the ball with an opportunity to win or tie the game. The offense has failed each time. Austin Davis has been a wonderful story and showed that he can make throws at the NFL level. However, it would be dumbfounding if the St. Louis Rams weren’t heavily scouting their “quarterback of the future” in the 2015 NFL Draft.