Some Random Thoughts on the NFL

Boy, it was great to see Marshall Faulk, Eric Dickerson, and so many of the Greatest Show on Turf Rams in attendance Sunday as the 2011 Rams lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-13.

Great job by the organization in bringing in so many of Marshall’s teammates. The video tributes were terrific, his speech was outstanding, and his new spot in the Rams’ Ring of Honor is well deserved.

And, congratulations to this year’s Rams offense. When Danario Alexander scored on a 25-yard pass from Kellen Clemens with 1:08 to go, they scored their 13th touchdown of the year. So, through 14 games, they are halfway to Faulk’s 2000 total of 26. Faulk did score 16 touchdowns in the final seven games that year, so it will be tough for this edition to catch up to that stretch. For this year’s offense to match Marshall’s last seven games of 2000, they’d need to score a dozen touchdowns in the last two games. Unlikely.

At 2-12, the 2011 Rams could well be on their way to the franchise’s second 2-14 record in four years. They also have three- and one-win seasons in the last five. With a distinct possibility of going 15-65 over three seasons, the Rams can average three wins a season for five years. It’s worth noting that in 28 years of football in St. Louis, with 12-, 14- and 16-game seasons, the Cardinals never had a season with as few as three wins.

We do see why coaches are seduced by Alexander. Too bad he isn’t healthier and more consistent. I’m amused by the people that think Clemens is as good as Sam Bradford, but there has to be a stupidest football fan, right? .It’s good to hear, literally, that Harvey Dahl still cares.

Did I see Chris Chamberlain punch a guy that had a helmet on, and injure his hand? Did I really see that? Updated Steve Spagnuolo winning percentage as a head coach: .217. I’m continually stunned by the special teams breakdowns. Whether it’s long returns against the Rams, poor returning by the Rams, or momentum changing missed field goals, it always seems to be something. Robert Quinn is a special teams force, however.

We have an interesting fan base. I heard talk again Sunday about how “at least the defense is good.” Well, yeah, compared to the offense and special teams. But the Rams defense is still dead last against the run in the whole league, and only seven teams have allowed more points. It’s all relative.

Let’s not get too fired up about the Rams getting the top pick in the draft. Indianapolis would essentially have to win two games, and Minnesota another, with the Rams losing both, for that to happen. Rams opponents have 132 wins and Indianapolis opponents have 120. It’ll take a major turn of events for the Rams to have a weaker strength of schedule. The Colts are essentially a lock to get Andrew Luck.

For those that want USC tackle Matt Kalil, you better pray for another Minnesota win. The Vikings would salivate over Kalil. The Vikings have also had an easier schedule than the Rams, playing teams with a combined 127 wins this season.

So, at the moment, you’re looking at Justin Blackmon, the wide receiver from Oklahoma State, or Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Pending combine times, those should be the two best skill-position guys available.

Did you know that Arizona lost their top cornerback, Greg Toler, before the season started? Backup running back Ryan Williams was lost before the season to a knee injury. Starting quarterback Kevin Kolb has missed much of the season due to injuries, and starting nose tackle Dan Williams is out for the year with a broken arm?

In Seattle, the Seahawks have lost 60 percent of their offensive line, tackles Russell Okung and James Carpenter are out for the season, guard John Moffitt is too. Wide receiver Sidney Rice is out for the year with a concussion. Tight end John Carlson, cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond, all on injured reserve.

Somehow, the Cardinals and Seahawks found ways to win on Sunday, both improving to 7-7 on the season and staying in the NFC playoff hunt. They’re both remarkable stories of perseverance and toughness in the face of adversity.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the odds against teams going 16-0 or 0-16. And the enormity of those odds struck again Sunday, with Green Bay losing to Kansas City and Indianapolis knocking off Tennessee. It’s really hard to do both, and it would seem New England’s 16-0 and Detroit’s 0-16 are going to last for a while.

Unfortunately, the devil does win sometimes. And he did again on Sunday.