– It’s been quite a while since a big game was played at the Edward Jones Dome but Sunday’s contest against the Chiefs was just that. And the Rams clearly came out ready to play with a strong start including a long, time consuming drive and strong defensive stands on the opening possessions.
– But a problem that has plagued the Rams in recent weeks reared it’s ugly head again on Sunday as they were unable to take advantage of golden opportunities, as penalties stalled that opening drive and they settled for field goals. That left the door open for the Chiefs to take advantage and they did just that, surging to a 7-6 lead they would never relinquish in a 27-13 win.
– On the injury front, the Rams made it out of the game OK with one big exception. Special teams ace Brit Miller suffered a knee injury that coach Steve Spagnuolo believes is a torn ACL, ending his season two weeks too season. Best of luck to Miller, who was an excellent addition on special teams.
– Back on the game, the Rams opened the game exactly how you’d want, marching 63 yards on the opening drive to Kansas City’s 9. But penalties, another issue that has been a regular problem for the Rams this year, pushed them back and forced them to settle for a field goal.
– After that, the Rams had big chances provided by a 42-yard punt return from Danny Amendola as well as an interception from Kevin Dockery. The offense began to stall on those drives though and they settled for a field goal and a punt. A chance to get a two-score lead right away was just a 6-0 edge.
– Penalties weren’t the only culprit in the offensive struggles though as the Rams began to have issues protecting quarterback Sam Bradford. After that opening drive, the Rams mustered just 31 net yards on their next nine possessions. On only one of those, did the Rams gain a first down. That type of lull just can’t happen, especially against a talented team like Kansas City.
– Hats off to Chiefs QB Matt Cassel. What a competitor. He not only played just 11 days after an appendectomy but he played with no fear, regularly tucking and running and showing no fear as he refused to slide time and again.
– The Chiefs stuck with the run, an area the Rams did a good job with until the huge, back breaking 80-yard run by Jamaal Charles.
– Tip of the cap to CB Ron Bartell, who stayed with it and actually caught Charles at the 2. Amazing effort though Thomas Jones punched it in one play later.
– G Jacob Bell on the Rams’ offensive struggles: “(We want) to protect the quarterback and we need to do a better job of that.” The Chiefs got after Bradford with three sacks and six more quarterback hits according to unofficial pressbox statistics.
– Wallace Gilberry had the game of his life, coming up with three sacks.
– Credit also must be given to the Chiefs young corners – Brandon Flowers and Chris Carr. That’s a very talented and underrated duo.
– The one area the Rams did well consistently was special teams. Strong coverage, a big return from Amendola and Brown was on the money again.
– Right after the game, Spagnuolo let it be known it’s time to turn the page. He told his team it is now in “playoff mode.” In other words, every game from here on is do or die. The Rams must do, and they must do next week against San Francisco to stay in the mix.
– Amazingly, at 6-8, the Rams still sit right in the thick of the playoff chase. In fact, regardless of the outcome of the Seattle-Atlanta game (the Falcons lead as I write this), the Rams still contorl their own destiny. Win and get in. It’s that simple.
– Back tomorrow to wrap this one up.
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