A work week doesn’t look as scary when it follows a great weekend of area sports teams. The Rams won, the Cardinals swept and the Blues got some fresh ice at Scottrade put down. The act of punching someone out on the ice in front of 20,000 people will become legal again in less than a month with the season opener for the boys at 14th and Clark. Down the street at Busch, some great things happened. In Tampa, the Rams stole a win and did it in gritty fashion. Many wins in the NFL are nothing to write mom about, but you are what your record reads every Tuesday morning. Without further delay, let me start firing bullets. Tonight, I will discuss the Rams, with posts on the Cards set for Tuesday and The Blues on Wednesday.
Starting things off with THE RAMS-
- The forgotten boys down in North City pulled off a close nail biting 19-17 win yesterday in Tampa facing a rather ordinary Buccaneers team. Several things stuck out to me and I will list them below, but more than anything it was the coaching on both sides of the ball. There were some penalties early and they seemingly stopped after the half. The attack never wavered. The Rams didn’t just hand the ball to Zac Stacy and hope things broke right. They attacked downfield and incorporated everyone into the action. That all starts and ends with quarterback…
- Austin Davis FINALLY got a chance to showcase his skills. With Shaun Hill injured(we think) on the sidelines, Davis was the Rams last man standing and he played great. Davis didn’t fire a touchdown pass, but he set the team up for scores with some late clock controlling drives. Davis is a small guy and doesn’t have the strongest of arms, but he isn’t easy to bring down and he can move in the pocket. Davis operates a run heavy scheme, but it depends on the quarterback NOT making mistakes. The Rams’ chances could have been gutted by one ill timed or badly thrown football, and Davis avoided that yesterday.David has 8.1 yard per catch and a passer rating of 99.1. He completed 22 of 29 for 235 yards. When it counted most, Davis was at his best in the fourth quarter. I call Davis the “David Eckstein” of football. He is scrappy, doesn’t do anything great but doesn’t do anything poorly. He gets the job done. He deserves to start against the Cowboys next weekend. For a guy who was long shoved aside for other quarterbacks when the Rams needed a winner, Davis made the most of his first start.
- Brian Quick is becoming a weapon. He collected 7 more catches for 74 yards after grabbing 7 balls for 99 yards the previous Sunday. Quick is a different player this year. He still makes mistakes, as evidenced in Week 1 with his facemask penalty and his inability to catch a deep ball from Davis yesterday late in the fourth quarter. However, Quick is becoming the Rams go to target for a big play. He is also opening things up for other receivers. Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook made big plays yesterday, and suddenly, the Rams receivers are gaining separation between the defenders. It’s not a pretty process but it’s evolving with backup quarterbacks at the helm. These guys don’t have Tom Brady throwing footballs to them. It’s Sam Bradford, Shaun Hill or Davis. They are doing the work to make the offense move.
- While there aren’t too many stats to tell you just how well he did in all the small areas, Rams safety T.J. McDonald has been impressive early. He is making big plays in the secondary and hitting a growth spurt in his second year as a Ram. A soft spot for this team in my opinion for years has been the secondary. They allow big plays and don’t support the work of the front seven. This year, I am seeing the unit perform and make plays to stop drives and hand the ball back to their offense. McDonald has been a huge part of that. Like everything else at Rams Park, the secondary is slowly building credibility.
That’s all I got. The Rams host the Cowboys next week and have a chance to have a winning record in a season for the first time in, well, it’s too long to remember. Dallas isn’t unbeatable and their defense is roughed up, so the Rams could seemingly steal this game as well. All the Rams can do is play smart football and hope for some luck. Without Sam Bradford, Shaun Hill, Chris Long, and now Tavon Austin, the team is simply competing for any spot and trying desperately to build something in St. Louis before it’s too late.