KANSAS CITY, Mo. –
– They call the third preseason game the dress rehearsal because it’s the game where both teams actually game plan some and the starters play at least the first half.
– It’s also the game that’s supposed to most resemble a regular season game in the exhibition schedule.
– If you believe those things to be true, then you had to be happy with what you saw from the Rams in the first half against the Chiefs on Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
– Before we delve further into the game, let’s get the injuries out of the way.
– Offensive lineman Drew Miller suffered an ankle injury and though he attempted to return, he was unable to and had to leave the game. Miller was in a walking boot after the game.
– Spagnuolo said WR Brandon Gibson (toe) and RB Keith Toston (leg) also suffered injuries. But he said head athletic trainer Reggie Scott didn’t believe either was serious.
– CB Dionte Dinkins suffered a leg injury. He also was in a walking boot after the game.
– DTs Jermelle Cudjo and Fred Robbins did not play with back ailments. TE Michael Hoomanawanui (calf) and CB Mikail Baker (hamstring) also were inactive.
– In the opening 30 minutes, the Rams were crisp, balanced and sharp on offense and stout and resilient on defense. That resulted in a 14-3 halftime lead that would have been 14-0 had it not been for a Rams’ turnover deep in St. Louis territory.
– The Rams made it a point this week to focus their efforts on stopping the run on defense and running it better on offense. Likewise, they wanted to improve in pass protection and ensure that QB Sam Bradford was kept clean.
– With no exceptions, it would be fair to place a check mark next to all three of those areas.
– On defense, the Rams held Kansas City’s potent rushing attack to 14 yards on six carries with a long gain of 4.
– In the running game, the Rams toted it 25 times for 123 yards, an average of 4.9 yards per attempt.
– Even better, RB Steven Jackson was active with 15 carries for 72 yards in his lengthiest preseason action in a long time.
– In pass protection, Bradford was dropped for a sack and an 8-yard loss on a blitz by Kansas City LB Derrick Johnson. But otherwise, he had a nice, clean pocket for most of the night, particularly on his touchdown passes.
– Aside from getting beat for a near sack/fumble on one play, RT Jason Smith was as dominant and physical as he’s been since he got to the league. A very promising start, especially in the running game.
– Hats off to the entire offensive line, of course. A strong performance all around.
– Cadillac Williams still has plenty of juice.
– So does James Hall.
– Congrats to rookie Robert Quinn who posted his first NFL sack. It might not count but it should be recognized, especially since he was blatantly held on the play and still dropped the quarterback. He also blocked a field goal to help keep the lead late.
– Quintin Mikell seems to always be in the right place at the right time. He’s tough, physical and smart. He’s going to make a lot of Rams fans happy.
– It has probably been overlooked because Josh Brown has been so outstanding in the preseason but punter Donnie Jones is really booming it right now. Jones is one of the best in the league and it’s easy to take that for granted.
– No problems for rookie long snapper Jake McQuaide in his first game as the anointed starter at his position.
– That’s going to do it from here tonight. Back tomorrow to wrap this one up and hit on all important injury developments.
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