St Louis Rams’ Isaiah Pead continues to struggle

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Sunday night was one soaked in euphoria for St. Louis Rams fans. It was an opening game win for only the second time since 2006, and against a divisional rival that has played in the last two Super Bowls. Nick Foles put up some great numbers and contributed with a rushing touchdown for good measure. Aaron Donald picked up exactly where he left off last year, looking every bit a megastar in the NFL. Tavon Austin was able to shine, picking up two touchdowns – one on a 16-yard run and the other a truly memorable 75-yard punt return.

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For the all positives, there was however a negative in the continuing struggles of Isaiah Pead. With Todd Gurley yet to play a down, Tre Mason out with an injury and Trey Watts suspended, Sunday really should have been Pead’s chance to justify his place in an offense clearly built around the run. As it was, Pead made minimal impact on special teams and on offense had just two carries for 4 total yards. His most damning moment included a fumble in the fourth quarter that almost cost his team dearly. 

Sep 3, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Isaiah Pead (24) Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Having spent the entire 2014 season on the sidelines due to an ACL tear suffered in the preseason, many wondered whether Pead would make the final 53-man roster this time around. The question mark over Pead’s status on the roster grew with the impressive preseason performances by undrafted rookie Malcolm Brown who had a total of 69 yards on 18 carries, averaging almost four yards per carry.

When you consider Trey Watts managed to make the 2014 roster with an average only fractionally better at 4.07 yards per carry in that preaseason, it is questionable why Pead made the cut ahead of Brown who now sits on the practice squad.

For a man drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft and seen by some as the back who would replace Steven Jackson as the Rams number one option, it is hard to argue against labelling Pead as a bust in the NFL. With a mere 78 total career rushing yards (yes, you read that correctly) and no touchdowns to his name, Pead has been eclipsed by a succession of backs including Daryl Richardson, Tre Mason and, on Sunday against Seattle, by Benny Cunningham. Who knows how much further behind the curve he will fall when Todd Gurley takes the field?

There is no reason to expect the Rams will not go 2-0 with a win against the Washington Redskins this coming Sunday. Fans will rightly spend the rest of this week soaking in the glory of the overtime win against the Seahawks. But as good as it was, there were still issues that will need clearing up as the season goes on. The lack of contribution from Isiah Pead is one of them.