5 Keys To Victory: St. Louis Rams At San Diego Chargers
By Mark Warren
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The young St. Louis Rams are playing with confidence, and they put together their best game in some time to knock off the heavily favored Denver Broncos 22-7 last week. Now they travel to San Diego to take on a dangerous Chargers team with QB Phillip Rivers at the helm. Here are Ramblin’ Fan’s Keys to Victory for when St. Louis takes on San Diego:
Make the Chargers offense one-dimensional
With RB Ryan Matthews’ return, the Chargers will seek more balance on offense. The Rams must repeat their performance against the Broncos last week, as they only allowed 28 yards rushing. If they can force Phillip Rivers to stand in the pocket more, that will allow the pass rush to continue to be disruptive. RB Branden Oliver also remains a threat in the backfield for San Diego, he can catch the ball and he is electric with the ball in his hands.
Focus on Antonio Gates in the redzone
WR Keenan Allen’s regression in his second season has opened the door for a resurgence by the veteran Gates. Gates has nine touchdowns and he does the greatest amount of damage near the goal line. Gates uses his jumping skills and strong hands to come down with passes for scores. TJ McDonald will need to keep up his hot play of late and the Rams may look to give him help inside the 20 yard line.
Cover the check downs and flats
Rivers looks deep first, but if that isn’t open he loves to eat up yards in the flats. Oliver thrives in this aspect, and the Rams should keep their corners and linebackers near the line of scrimmage near the edge of the field. This will force Rivers to look deep for open receivers which will again give the Rams more time to produce sacks.
Keep Tre Mason rolling
Mason is coming off his best game as a pro against the top ranked Broncos run defense. Mason piled up 113 yards and he showed off both his quickness and power last week. The Rams should aspire to replicate last week’s effort and if they do they will give San Diego all they can handle.
Win the turnover battle
Rivers is a great quarterback, but when he commits turnovers he tends to do so in bunches. The Rams should come out early and frustrate Rivers and make him uneasy when he’s on the field. He has thrown six interceptions in their last four games and he also has six fumbles on the season. On the other side of the field, QB Shaun Hill needs to continue playing smart. It is crucial that the Rams keep the ball and give the Chargers less chances to possess the ball.
Check back with us after the game to see our Keys to Victory: revisited.