The downfall of the St Louis Rams running game


The St. Louis Rams fell to 1-2 in Week 3 of the regular season this past Sunday with a 12-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Edward Jones Dome. The game was a close contest that saw both teams fight hard in this low scoring game, with the Rams’ strong defensive roster making a sound effort in stopping the lethal trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.

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Running the football played a large part of the Rams’ game plan on Sunday, however, due to the poor performance of the ground game, the game plan inevitably lead to another loss for St Louis.

With Les Snead and Jeff Fisher selecting Todd Gurley as the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, they sent a message to the league, to the fans and the players; that Fisher intends to base his offensive play on a run-heavy scheme. To run the football successfully, the offensive line must provide quality lanes for the running back, giving the carrier room to move and yards to gain, and this is not happening nearly enough in St Louis.

Aug 23, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Tre Mason (27) runs the ball during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tre Mason began with the first carries of the game, with offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. easing rookie Todd Gurley into the game plan. Both running backs averaged less than two yards per carry, putting pressure on the offense, and in turn the quarterback Nick Foles, as he was forced to throw more often, over longer distances.

Every time Mason or Gurley took the hand off from Foles, the offensive line collapsed and ball carrier is pushed back for a loss of yardage. This type of inefficient play is continuing to kill the Rams’ offense, with no success in moving the football on the ground.

If the Rams are to continue into the season and finish with a winning record, the offensive line must provide much needed protection for the running backs in St Louis. Finding a convincing run game will greatly help the team win games, as the ability to run the football is a huge contribution to success in football.

“The offensive unit in St Louis has problems moving the ball over 10 yards for the first down, and naturally, as the Rams continue to lose yards on the ground, scoring points becomes harder and harder”

The running game has been the biggest downfall for the Rams so far this season, with new rookies Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown on the offensive line adjusting to the intensity of the NFL. The development of this rookie-based line will take time, and when this happens, the Rams may find some offensive consistency.

Whether the strength of this offensive line will improve fast enough for a playoff berth this season or not, is looking highly unlikely.

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