Before an actual crowd of perhaps 35,000 despite 51,000 tickets being distributed, the St. Louis Rams turned in another feeble performance in a 27-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
They’ve lost five in a row, and prospects for one more win don’t look promising. Here are ten takeaways…
1) For a normal business or sports franchise wishing to succeed in the market it inhabits, failure that leads to apathy would be an alarming thing. There’s no doubt that the St. Louis fan base has reached the point of apathy. They don’t show up at the games, and it’s completely understandable. With the threat of relocation and a terrible team, any emotion left toward the business is negative. But that’s exactly what the Rams want. The owner wants to move the team to Los Angeles, so what has happened over the last five weeks, with a five game losing streak, couldn’t be more convenient.
They’ve tried to ruin the football market, and they’ve virtually done it.
2) We heard after the Sam Bradford-Nick Foles trade that Chip Kelly had determined that he couldn’t win with Foles. Now we know what he meant. Foles continues to flounder, and following another dreadful performance on Sunday, coach Jeff Fisher announced that Case Keenum will start at quarterback again next week. Only an injured Andrew Luck has a lower completion percentage than Foles, who looks like he has no idea where the ball is going when it leaves his hand. Either he had a deal with the Devil two years ago when he threw 27 touchdowns with two interceptions, or his abilities and fundamentals have deteriorated in an extraordinary fashion.
3) During the five game losing streak, the Rams ineptness has reached astounding levels. They’ve averaged just over ten points per game, and have scored four touchdowns in the five games. How can that happen in 2015? The league’s average is 23 points per team, per game, and the average yardage is 355 per game. The Rams average 15.8 points and 296 yards. Those averages have declined over the last five games.
4) The Cardinals had eight plays of twenty or more yards, and the Rams had three. Todd Gurley had a 34 yard run, and Foles hit Kenny Britt for 30 yards and Tavon Austin for 24. That’s it for the Rams explosive plays. In a sport of explosive plays, Fisher’s St. Louis teams have continued to fail to evolve with the rest of the league.
5) Even Fisher admitted that the lack of offense is affecting the defense. Arizona essentially had the ball for 40 minutes to 20. “Defensively, (they were) on the field way too much. Way too much. Against that kind of offense, they’re going to score points.” And the Cardinals did, gouging the Rams for five plays of 23 or more yards after halftime.
6) With the Cardinals up 24-3 in the fourth quarter, Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer was 4-7 for 84 yards. It was 27-3 when Drew Stanton came on at QB, and he threw three passes, going 1-1 for six yards and also drawing two pass interference penalties. Think Cardinals coach Bruce Arians wants to stick it to the Rams?
7) With Trumaine Johnson out with an injury, the Rams only dressed two real cornerbacks, Marcus Roberson and Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins left the game twice, causing Lamarcus Joyner to cover one of the Cardinals outstanding receivers. Palmer was 26-40 for 356 yards and two touchdowns. The roster composition of the team doesn’t lend itself to a great deal of success if injuries hit anywhere except the defensive line.
8) Speaking of which, there’s a segment on ESPN’s College Gameday called “You had one job.” I was thinking of that segment early in the third quarter when Tavon Austin returned a punt 67 yards to the Cardinal 3 yard line, but it was called back. Chase Reynolds was called for holding and instead of having the ball at the Cardinal 3, they had it at their own 49. Chase, you’re a running back who hasn’t run a single play from scrimmage all year. You’re a special teams specialist. You had one job! And you were called for holding and cost your team at least three points, maybe seven. One job!
9) The Rams were a colossally bad 1-12 on third down. Eight percent. For the season, the Cardinals, Falcons and Saints are all at 46% for the season in third down conversions. San Francisco is 30th at 33%, and Miami is 31st at 28%. The Rams are last at 24%. 38 for 155. Amazingly bad. When your offense can’t stay on the field, the rest of the team is going to suffer. And the Rams have stayed on the field on 3rd down 38 times in twelve games. An average of three third down conversions per game.
10) I must admit I had to go to Thesaurus.com, but here are fifteen words to describe the Rams offense. Abominable, appalling, awful, disgusting, dreadful, frightful, ghastly, grim, grisly, gruesome, horrendous, horrid, odious, repulsive and terrible. There are plenty of words for this offense. After being 4-3, 4-12 looks like a distinct possibility.
There’s another word in the dictionary that means rickety or shaky. That word is Ramshackle. And you can’t spell it without R-A-M.
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