As many of my readers know, FMQB is a diehard St. Louis Rams fan. This past week I had the pleasure of roadtripping down to St. Louis to see the Rams live and in person. As a result, I only was able to watch the SNF game as well. So this column will be moreso observations on the week from online knowledge.
Serious Problem in St. Louis:
Being able to watch the game in person, I realized that not only should I not have had my hopes up for this season, but there is a serious problem in St. Louis. There were three 3rd down’s, and two TD plays (one in the endzone) where there were perfect balls thrown by Bradford only to have the receiver drop the ball. Penalties were also prevalent. There was a false start our first trip into the redzone, a false start by the receiver (you’re 40 feet from the ball, no way you can hear Bradford, watch the DAMN ball!), and a false start on 3rd down of our final drive to attempt to tie the game. Believe it or not, all of these mistakes were overshadowed by the sacks. The Redskins got to Bradford 7 times in this game! After our Interception was returned to the 20yd line being down 17-10, Bradford took 2 sacks in the series and got out of field goal range because of it. Plays would breakdown after 3 seconds, and Bradford just seemed to tuck over and cradle the ball waiting to be hit. At one point, the usually cool and collected Bradford was over at the O-line bench barking at all of them to protect better. I could see this really well because of our seats 10 rows back on the Rams sideline :). But our team is in disarray, we literally should have won that game 27-17, but stupid mistakes are the reason we are 0-4.
Being a Rams Fan:
As a Rams fan of the past decade, I have come into seasons expecting the worst, and riding the team through 1-15 seasons, #1 and #2 overall draft picks, several head coaches, and the almost weekly reminder of how far the “Greatest Show on Turf” has fallen. People ask me what my favorite team is, and I tell them “The Rams” only to get laughed at. But I’ll tell you what, going into the Edward Jones Dome and having 40,000 of my compadres around me, depressed with me; I think I can get through this. It was like one giant support group. I wasn’t the only one who cared about the stupid mistakes that make the Rams lose games, the entire stadium was with me on it.
Play and Quote of the Week:
Situation: Redskins punting, Rams punt returner is a rookie. First punt, high kick, no fair catch, returner gets nailed as the ball gets to him, fumble but Redskins penalty (Catch interference). The Very Next Punt! High kick, no fair catch, returner gets Klobbered as the ball gets to him, fumble but Redskins penalty (Un-necessary roughness on a defenseless receiver). With the rookie lying in a heap for 10 seconds with no movement, everybody was wondering why you wouldn’t call a fair catch in either situation? And what the hell Redskins special teams, you can’t do that! Next punt, Rams put in a different punt returner. This time the booming kick warrants an immediate fair catch signal (Play of the Week), and the returner catches the ball without incident. Oh boy did the Rams fans whoop and holler! Leading to the quote of the week when FFMQB exclaimed “That fair catch got the biggest cheer of the day!”
And the Mood was Somber in St. Louis:
I couldn’t help noticing how quiet the Edward Jones Dome was during the first 3 quarters of the game. As we kept piling up penalties, dropped TD passes, stupid mistakes, and sacks to get us out of FG range, one could literally whisper and be heard by the person next to you. Other than the Fair Catch, the loudest the stadium got was the fans booing their home team at halftime. After the loss, nobody really spoke much about their 0-4 team. The night before the excitement of the St. Louis Cardinals last second playoff berth was also thwarted by a quick Game 1 loss, which could lead to them losing the series and their season being over. Made me realize that I am SO HAPPY I do not live a city where the football team is 0-4 and the baseball team can’t win in the clutch….oh wait.
Offense vs. Defense:
Every spring, college football teams have an Offense vs. Defense game to please fans and run a full scrimmage. They often make up ways for the defense to score (4 points for an Interception, 2 points for a punt) in a way to make it an entertaining game. Rarely does the Defense win even with these points, but it’s a fun concept. But wow, look at Sunday night’s Jets vs. Ravens game. Believe it or not, had they played Offense vs. Defense, with no goofy point system, the Defense (and Special Teams) would have won 35-16! There were 5 defensive or return TD’s, vs. only 1 Offensive TD and 3 FGs!
Make up your Mind Romo:
Are you a Choker or a Hero? I seriously just want an answer. Because you’re either fumbling chip-shot field goals in the playoffs, or blowing big 4th Quarter leads to the Jets or Lions by throwing back to back pick 6s. OR you’re putting on gritty performances in the clutch with broken ribs and punctured lungs. I just want an answer Tony. You’re being as wishy-washy as the Steelers this year.
FMQB cried “Run the no huddle quick snap more often!”:
As I mentioned a few weeks back, the Rams ran the no huddle quick snap offense extremely effectively against Los Tramposos, driving up and down the field. Even though we couldn’t punch it into the endzone, we were effectively driving and getting scoring opportunities. The Rams stopped running it, Los Tramposos pulled away and the game was over.
This week, the Rams had done nothing the first 3 quarters. Multiple times, FMQB cried “Run the no huddle quick snap” but even with our great seats, Coach McDaniels couldn’t hear me. Or at least chose not to listen until the 4th quarter (we were already down 17-0). And what would you think happens when they start running the no huddle quick snap? Rams drive down for their first score, a FG. Next drive, no huddle quick snap, Rams drive for their only TD of the game. If Bradford can run the offense that well, and these quick short throws are beating defenses, why not run it more often?
Stat of the Week #1:
Joe Flacco’s Passer Rating was 37.4, and he had the higher rating among the 2 QB’s
Stat of the Week #2:
The Jets vs Ravens game showed 51 points on the board, and only 1 TD was from the offense.
Stat of the Week #3:
The San Diego Chargers are 3-1, but the teams they have defeated are a combined 1-11. The only winless team the Chargers haven’t played is the Rams. The Football Gods were smiling upon the Chargers when making their schedule.
Stat of the Week #4:
There have been 4 comeback victories of being down 20+ points at halftime. This ties the record for most in the season (and we’re only through Week 4!). 2 of these victories have come from the Lions, 1 is from the Bills, and 1 is from the 49ers.
Stat of the Week #5:
An amazing 15 quarterbacks are on pace for a 4000yd season this year. 6 of those are on pace for 5000.
Stat of the Week #6:
Sam Bradford has been sacked a league leading 18 times this year. The 2 teams with the fewest allowed sacks? A couple of FMQB’s favorites, Raiders and Bills, who have only allowed 2 sacks a piece to their starting QB’s.
Weekly Cam Update:
God’s Gift to Man Cam Newton put on another impressive showing against the Bears. Guess who the Top 5 passers in the league are right now? Brady, Brees, Newton, Rodgers, and Rivers. That is impressive company he is in. 3 of those top 4 have won Super Bowls. However, other than Cam, they are a combined 13-3 while Cam is 1-3. All 3 losses the Panthers have been in it in the end, but they need to start closing out games in order to get over the hump.
Andrew Luck, Hope you Like Miami!
Miami is 0-4, and the only semi-decent player on the roster, who happens to lead the team at QB, is potentially out for the season. Looking at the Dolphins schedule, there are literally 3 games that are potentially winnable. On top of that, they still have 5 games against the toughest division in football (Patriots, Jets, Bills). Don’t be surprised to see them go 0-16. But hey, for Andrew Luck? It might be worth it! Dolphins are FMQB’s prediction of the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes winner!
Best Draft Strategy:
Ok, I know it’s only Week 4, but while we’re on the subject, let’s talk 2012 NFL Draft. There are two draft strategies that teams live by. 1) Draft the best available player on the board and 2) Draft the best player in the position you need the most. This is complicated, let’s say you need an offensive line upgrade BAD. The best O-lineman is still on the board, but the second best could drop another 20 picks since the position isn’t deep that year. But what if there’s a Wide Receiver who is highly touted and it’s your pick. Your team already has 2 good WRs, but could groom one for the future. Also, by the time you have the next pick in Round 2, it’s expected that the top 5 WR’s will already be gone (it’s a good class). What do you do? Strategy #1, you take the Wide Receiver, he’s the best player on the board and can provide your team with a spark, however it’s not fulfilling your need. Strategy #2, you take the O-lineman, fulfills your need, but probably not the best value of your pick. NFL teams vary on each strategy, what do you do? You have no QB or RB, and Vince Young and Reggie Bush are on the board and you take a Defensive End…tough decision but successful pick. You have Brett Favre and Marshall Faulk, two hall of fame players with a good 3-4 years left in them. Yet you draft Aaron Rodgers and Steven Jackson. Definitely NOT a need, but they’re the best players on the board. Once again, tough decision but successful pick.
Why am I getting at this? Andrew Luck is arguably the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning in 1998. He would have hands down been the #1 overall pick after his Junior year, yet he chose to stay and is tearing it up again. What happens if the Colts or Rams get the #1 overall pick this year? Do you dump Peyton Manning, the eternal face of your franchise? Do you dump your Heisman Trophy winning 2nd year QB who you are grooming to be the same? This is a tough decision, but right now there is a very good chance that this could happen. If it does, it will be a decision that will be questioned for many years to come. What would you do?
Back to a full recap around the league, and boycotting any mention of the Rams until we get a win…