Five observations from the Rams’ season ending, 16-6 loss to Seattle Sunday night at Qwest Field:
1) Sunday was a microcosm of the Rams offensive season. This was the sixth time the offense scored one or no touchdowns. That’s just not a way to win in the NFL. In those games, the Rams went 1-5. The Rams must develop more of a big play personality to become a bigger winner. They have the quarterback. Now, they need to get the tools in place and open the offense up to play with the league’s elite.
2) While I harp on the fact that the Rams need to open things up, if they aren’t going to do that, they need to commit to the running game. Against one of the worst run defenses in the league, Steven Jackson…despite a level of success…ran the ball only eleven times. If they aren’t going to throw downfield, and aren’t going to run the ball…what’s left is the 0-5 yard dinks that Bradford threw against Seattle. That becomes predictable and causes teams to amass 184 yards of offense, which is what the Rams had.
3) My concern heading into the game was the Rams level of football maturity. Cris Collinsworth noted that perhaps the stage of Sunday Night Football caused some Rams to tighten up. That’s understandable. But if nothing else, the hostile Sunday night environment prepared the Rams for next year, when they’ll go to Pittsburgh, Dallas, Green Bay, and the Meadowlands for a date with the Giants. They also play at Cleveland and against their division foes. By the way, at home, the Rams have Philly, Washington, Baltimore, Cincinnati and New Orleans, plus the NFC West. Yikes.
4) With the Rams having the fifteenth selection in the draft, there are many ways to go. If they drafted today, wide receiver and weakside linebacker would top my list. But my two favorite free agents are wide receiver Sidney Rice and WLB Chad Greenway, both of the Vikings. I think they need a playmaking safety and a running back, too. Did you notice that the top two rookie rushers were undrafted free agents Chris Ivory of New Orleans and LeGarrette Blount of Tampa Bay? Wow.
5) I said it last week, and I’ll say it now. Losing this game is a disappointment, but the season is a major success. The Rams improved dramatically. Like Rick Venturi says, next year isn’t guaranteed, especially with the aforementioned schedule. But there is hope on the horizon that the Rams will re-establish themselves among the NFL’s elite. With an elite quarterback in Bradford, they have a chance to do that.