It has been over a decade since the St. Louis Rams made the playoffs. While the year they were in the playoffs was 2005, it was during the 2004 NFL season. That season, they finished 8-8, scoring 319 points while allowing 392 points.
But they did defeat the first place Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round 27-20, then proceeded to get demolished by the Atlanta Falcons 47-17 in the divisional round.
And since then, the Rams have dealt with multiple coaching changes, heavy investments on various quarterbacks, and constant injuries to key starters. Suffice to say, it’s been a rough decade for the St. Louis Rams. Between the 1999-2003 period, they were considered one of the best, if not the best, team in the National Football League. Now, they hover around the 7-9, and 7-8-1 mark.
This year, that has to change. For the sake of the city, the fans, the team, and especially, head coach Jeff Fisher.
The reason is simple: this team is too talented not to make the playoffs. Especially for boasting one of the premier defensive lines in all of football, which includes Aaron Donald, Chris Long, the newly acquired Nick Fairley, and of course, Robert Quinn.
During the 2015 offseason, the plug was finally pulled on first-round quarterback Sam Bradford. He suffered a season-ending torn ACL before the season even begun (in week three of the preseason), leaving the Rams to deal with a quarterback carousel throughout the year.
However, one bright spot on the offensive side of the ball this past season was the emergence of rookie running back Tre Mason, who rushed for 765 yards and scored four touchdowns in 2014.
Last season, the Rams were ranked 21st in points scored, 28th in yards per game, 23rd in passing yards per game, and 20th in rushing yards per game. With the additions of former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, as well as drafting Georgia running back Todd Gurley in the first round, the Rams should improve more on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively, last season, the Rams were ranked 17th in points allowed per game, 17th in yards allowed per game, 19th in passing yards allowed per game, and 14th in rushing yards allowed per game. Arguably, their biggest strength is the defensive line along with their linebacker group, and players like E.J Gaines and Janoris Jenkins have set themselves up as key secondary players as well.
As stated before, this team is too talented to not make the playoffs this season. The NFC West is a tough division, with the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals all in the mix. Last year, Arizona started 6-0, before losing Carson Palmer, and couldn’t remain in the race. Seattle made the Super Bowl, and San Francisco was in the middle of the pack.
But the 49ers have lost a considerable amount of key players this past offseason (including their own head coach as well), and Seattle will still rely on the players that have made them the top NFC team the past two seasons.
If the Rams do not make the playoffs this season, it is hard to see Fisher remain as head coach, because, with all the controversy regarding the Rams status off the field, there is still a product on the field…the team.
It’s been a decade since they had a playoff appearance. Over a decade since they last had a winning record. This franchise and this city are well overdue.
Only time will tell if 2015 is the season the drought ends for the St. Louis Rams. With the stakes higher than one might think…we can only hope so.