NFL Championship Games Prove How Far Behind Rams Are

January 3, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher looks on against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter at Levi
January 3, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher looks on against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter at Levi /

Despite a blowout in the NFC, the NFL’s championship games were pretty entertaining. In the Super Bowl, it will be the Carolina Panthers taking on the Denver Broncos in what could be Peyton Manning‘s last game.

While watching the game, it’s hard not to notice just how far behind the Los Angeles Rams really are. Fans always say how talented of a team this is and given an average quarterback, they could be a Super Bowl caliber team. However, after watching the Panthers destroy the Arizona Cardinals in the fashion that they did, and seeing an actual elite defense that the Denver Broncos have, the Rams, in reality, aren’t even that close.

Sure, the Rams got wins over the Cardinals and they swept the Seattle Seahawks, but neither of those wins were as dominant as the Panthers have put together the last two weeks. The Panthers defense has so much speed and has been all over the field.  Put that together with their current offense, had the Atlanta Falcons not upset them toward the end of the season, we’d be watching a very interesting Super Bowl.

Watching the Panthers offense shows just how important it is to have a franchise quarterback. That offense is nothing without Cam Newton. Jeff Fisher can continue to try all he wants to win with quarterbacks like Nick Foles and Case Keenum, but without a franchise caliber quarterback, the Rams will continue to hang around mediocrity.

The fact that Fisher is content with already naming Keenum the starting quarterback going into next season proves that even after having the second worst offense in the league, he just doesn’t get it. You can build a great defense in today’s NFL, but you still need a quarterback that can win. The days of winning with Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson at quarterback are over. This is a league dominated by the quarterback position, and if you dont have one, you dont stand much of a chance.

It’s hard to imagine that the Panthers were 3-8-1 just a season ago. If anything, it proves just how fast a team can put it together and turn things around. For what it’s worth, Fisher and the Rams have been trying to figure it out and put it together for four years.

What Rams fans should learn from watching the Panthers is just how important it is to have a franchise quarterback. Newton is from another planet, as the NFL as never seen a quarterback of his size and athleticism, but every team in the playoffs had franchise quarterbacks.

Watching the Broncos however, the quarterback position becomes slightly less important. Peyton Manning is the smartest quarterback in the NFL. He is no longer able to beat teams with his arm, but even so, the way that he can read defenses and make adjustments at the line of scrimmage is what makes him an elite quarterback.

What sets the Broncos apart is their defense. The Panthers defense is good, but the Broncos defense are why they are in the playoffs in the first place. When fans say that the Rams have an elite defense, watch the Broncos and then tell me the Rams have an elite defense.

More from Ramblin' Fan

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has actually made use of safety Darian Stewart who was starting for the Rams just two years ago. Without the defense, the Broncos aren’t where they are. Fans can say all they want how the Rams offense doesn’t help the defense out, and they dont, but in the last two weeks the Broncos offense has had 18 drives last less than two minutes, 11 of which have been three and out drives.

The Broncos have an elite defense. Very rarely do they have a mental lapse which leads to a blown coverage. That’s also credit to good coaching.

The Panthers and Broncos, also have their weaknesses as they aren’t perfect, but unlike the Rams, they dont use those as excuses. The Panthers dont have a number one receiver, as they lost their prior to the season. Manning got hurt for the Broncos midway through the season, but instead of crumbling, with Brock Osweiler leading the charge, they locked up the number one seed in the AFC.

The Rams aren’t a terrible football team, but after watching Sunday’s championship games, it really does show just how big of a gap there is between them and the NFL’s best teams.