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St. Louis Rams – Blog

Much to Learn from Preseason Opener

Posted by nickwagoner on August 12, 2012 – 10:19 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

- Well, the first preseason game is in the books and of course the 38-3 loss to the Colts is not the result anyone wanted to see but it’s important to keep perspective. Preseason games have no bearing on the regular season and this one today doesn’t mean anymore for the Rams future than the 33-10 win they had last year at this time against these Colts.

- That isn’t to say that there can’t be some things taken from this game, both negative and positive.

- One thing that was very clear for the Rams on Sunday’s game is that they were extremely vanilla in how they approached the game. Coach Jeff Fisher said the team had just a couple coverages, fronts and pressures in on defense and similar approach on offense. The Colts had far more schemed up and it was evident in the result.

- The best news is it appears the Rams made it out of the game without any injuries of note. In the preseason, that might be the most important statistic of all.

- A nice start for RB Steven Jackson. He carried four times for 17 yards and had a catch for 6 yards. It wasn’t a lot of work but he looked good in the time he was in and drew praise from Fisher and QB Sam Bradford after the game.

- Speaking of Bradford, he too had a solid start, throwing good, accurate passes on the opening drive. By his own admission, one area to clean up is his awareness of the play clock. The delay of game penalty the Rams took on their opening drive killed the Rams chances of scoring on the opening drive.

- Speaking of that first drive, it was a nice mix of run and pass for the Rams and they seemed to have a quick rhythm. A shame the penalty ended the chance of that drive ending in points.

- The offensive line was simply not good enough and Fisher said that Bradford got hit more than they’d like. It’s clearly something that will have to improve as the preseason goes on. Although Bradford wasn’t sacked, he did take more hits than the Rams would like to see. For the record, Barry Richardson did get the start at RT with Robert Turner at C and Quinn Ojinnaka at LG.

- The first team defense also had its share of hiccups. Fisher referenced some blatant holds that went uncalled on the Colts’ 63-yard touchdown on their first play from scrimmage but said those “things happen.” Still not the way he or his defense wanted to start the day.

- The Colts offense seemed to scheme a lot of misdirection stuff early, including the screen that went for a touchdown. Many times, those misdirection plays went at DE Robert Quinn, who was getting pressure on the quarterback but wasn’t home for some of those plays.

- Massive DTs Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford looked stout in the middle of their first games as Rams. One play early in the game went for a 5-yard loss as Brockers and Langford just collapsed the middle of the line.

- Rookie RB Isaiah Pead looked nervous in his first game, understandably so. He put a fumble on the ground that the Colts recovered and seemed to struggle to keep traction when running. He did seem to get better as the game wore on but Fisher mentioned he’d like to see Pead running more north and south and he suspected there was a lot of east and west in his game Sunday.

- The Rams tried a few different looks with returners. CB Janoris Jenkins had the first look at punt returner but didn’t get an opportunity. Pead had the kick return duties to open the game. He had one nice 30-yard return early. Chase Reynolds (three returns for an average of 19.7 yards) and Chris Givens (one return for 28 yards) also got looks as kick returners.

- One positive that can definitely come from this one is the work of Givens. The Rams made no secret of the fact that Givens is their best deep threat. They took a number of deep shots to Givens. One resulted in a 54-yard defensive pass interference penalty. One was overthrown and another Givens should have hauled in. Either way, it’s nice to see a legitimate deep threat with the ability to stretch the defense and an offense willing to give him the opportunity to do it.

- Some nice work from WR Austin Pettis, who hauled in some tough catches to lead the Rams with three grabs for 25 yards.

- Good start for TE Lance Kendricks, also. He caught both passes thrown his way for 18 yards. Good time for him to rebuild confidence.

- Rookie QB Austin Davis had some ups and downs in his first game action but he also showed some moxie and escapability. He finished 12-of-18 for 84 yards with no touchdowns and an interception but there was probably more good than bad. He played the entire second half.

- DT Jermelle Cudjo continues to make a push for a roster spot. He recorded the team’s only sack of the day.

- Players who did not play because of injury issues Sunday: S Darian Stewart, WR Danario Alexander, WR Brandon Gibson, C Scott Wells, CB Bradley Fletcher and DT Trevor Laws.

- Players who did not play because of coach’s decision: QB Tom Brandstater, TE Jamie Childers, TE Brody Eldridge

- That’s going to do it for this one. As always, thanks for reading. Back tomorrow with a wrap up of Fisher’s day after game news conference and then it’s back to practice and on to taking on the Chiefs in preseason tilt No. 2.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »

Rams vs. Colts: Running Blog

Posted by nickwagoner on August 12, 2012 – 4:51 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -

Fourth Quarter

- The Rams started from their 15.

- They couldn’t convert third and 5 and had to punt it away.

- Indy quickly drove the length of the field as rookie QB Chandler Harnish hit WR Jeremy Ross for a 33-yard touchdown to make it 35-3 Colts with 11:14 to go in the game.

- Pat McAfee tacked on a 31-yard field goal to make it 38-3 Colts with 4:44 to go.

- A late drive by the Rams ended on an interception thrown by Davis.

- That would do it and the Colts emerge with a 38-3 win.

- The Rams drop to 0-1 on the preseason. Indianapolis is 1-0.

Third Quarter

- Garrett Lindholm kicked off to start the second half as Indy starts from its 20.

- Backups in across the board for the Rams defense. Even rookies Brockers and Jenkins sitting.

- Indy picked up a couple of quick first downs but DT Jermelle Cudjo came up with a sack for a loss of 9 to the Colts’ 39.

- Stanton hit T.Y. Hilton for 9 yards to set up a third-and-10.

- A 5-yard offsides penalty on Matt Conrath made it third-and-5.

- A drop on third down got it back for the Rams, who took over at their 20.

- Rookie QB Austin Davis takes over at QB for Rams’ first possession of second half.

- Davis looked downright poised on his first play, connecting with Givens for a gain of 13 and a first down.

- RB Daryl Richardson picked up 3 yards on his first attempt and Davis dumped one off to him for a gain of 2 to make it third-and-5.

- Pettis made a nice reaching grab for a gain of 8 to move the chains.

- Davis just missed a connection with Givens on a deep ball down the middle to make it second and 10 at the Rams’ 46.

- A completion to Pettis went for 4 yards and a third down pass fell incomplete.

- Tom Malone’s first punt was fair caught at the 15, where the Colts take over.

- The Colts quickly marched down the field on the strength of a catch and run from Dominique Jones for a gain of 22 to the Rams’ 26.

- Darren Evans coughed up a fumble on third and 1 bu the Rams were unable to come up with it.

- Evans punched it in from 1 yard out to make it 28-3 Colts with 7 seconds to go in the third.

- At the end of three, Indianapolis leads the Rams 28-3.

Second Quarter

- Final line on QB Sam Bradford: he was seven of nine for 59 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a rating of 93.1.

- On the first play of the quarter, Clemens dumped it off to Pead, who coughed it up and the Colts recovered at their 47.

- Top defense still in for the Rams.

- The Colts moved the chains with a couple of third down conversions on third and shorts before Luck hit Austin Collie in the right corner of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 11:18 to go in the second quarter.

- WR Chris Givens got his first shot at returning a kick but it went for a touchback. Rams start at their 20.

- The Rams responded by giving Givens an opportunity on a deep ball on the first play of the drive. Clemens fired deep for Givens, who drew a pass interference call for a 54-yard gain and a first down at Indy’s 26.

- Pead picked up another first down, carrying twice for 12 yards.

- The drive died on a third down sack by Hughes and the Rams settled for a 37-yard field goal from K Greg Zuerlein. Indy leads 14-3 with 7:18 to go in the half.

- Indy picked up a first down as Delone Carter gained 3 yards on third and 1.

- Two incompletions set up third-and-10 at Indy’s 32.

- Luck hit Collie for 12 and a first down and followed with 12 more to LaVon Brazil.

- He hit Quan Cosby for a gain of 32 to set up first and goal at the Rams’ 1.

- Two plays later, Delone Carter punched it in for a 21-3 lead with 3:10 to go in the half.

- The Rams went three and out but Hekker booted a perfect 67-yard punt that went out of the bounds at the Colts’ 2. Nice start for Hekker in the preseason.

- The Colts got a first down as rookie RB Vick Ballard gave them some room to breathe with an 18-yard run to the 20.

- Indy ran the ball and the clock with Drew Stanton in at QB.

- At the half, the Colts lead it 21-3.

First Quarter

- The Rams won the toss and elected to receive.

- RB Isaiah Pead back to return the opening kick.

- A healthy dose of Jackson to start the game as three rushes nets 13 yards.

- Bradford hits Kendricks for 10 yards and another first down.

- A quick out to Steve Smith pick up 7 and Jackson moved the chains again with 4 more yards.

- A 6-yard completion to Amendola set up a second and four but an incompletion and a delay of game penalty pushed the Rams back to Indy’s 43.

- After a 6-yard completion to Jackson, Fisher opted to go for it on fourth-and-3. The pass for Amendola fell incomplete and the Colts take over at their 37.

- On Indianapolis’ first play from scrimmage, Luck dropped off a screen pass to RB Donald Brown who went 63 yards untouched for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

- The starting offense came back for a second drive, save for Jackson heading to the sideline. Pead in at running back. The drive starts from the 20.

- An 8-yard completion to Kendricks followed by a 2-yard run by FB Ovie Mughelli gave the Rams a first down at the Indy 31.

- Bradford hit Smith again for 7 yards on first down and a 1-yard gain by Pead set up a third and 2.

- Bradford hit Pettis for a gain of 13 and a first down into Indy territory.

- A false start and a botched hand off ended the drive as the Rams had to punt.

- Johnny Hekker booted his first NFL punt and the Colts took over at their 17.

- An incompletion followed by a rush for a loss of 5 yards after Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers collapsed the pocket set up a third and 15. Luck scrambled for 9 yards but the Colts punted it back to the Rams.

- St. Louis takes over at its 38.

- Jenkins was back to return the punt but it bounced out of bounds.

- Kellen Clemens in at QB.

- The rest of the second unit on offense: RB Pead, WRs Pettis and Quick, LT Jose Valdez, LG Bryan Mattison, C Tim Barnes, RG Rokevious Watkins, RT Jason Smith.

- Two Pead runs gained 9 and then Brian Quick made his first grab in a game, going for 9 yards and a first down to Indy’s 44.

- Clemens was sacked by Jerry Hughes for a loss of 6 to the 50 at the end of the first quarter.

- After one, Indianapolis leads 7-0.

Pregame Notes

- Greetings from Lucas Oil Stadium where the Rams and Colts are preparing to kick off the preseason with a 12:30 start.

- The weather is gorgeous and the roof is open for this one.

- Not much to report on the injury front but here’s a quick rundown of what we know and what we think we know:

- The Rams have listed only WR Danario Alexander and DT Trevor Laws as not playing today. They both are dealing with leg issues.

- It’s also probably safe to assume that C Scott Wells won’t be playing. Robert Turner should handle his job in the middle.

- Also not in uniform for the Rams today are S Darian Stewart, WR Brandon Gibson and CB Bradley Fletcher.

- Expect Jerome Murphy to work in Fletcher’s stead as the third corner in the nickel.

- With Gibson out, it’ll likely be Steve Smith and Greg Salas working on the outside with Danny Amendola in the slot. But Chris Givens and Brian Quick will get plenty of chances as well, same for Austin Pettis.

- The Colts list of inactives includes old friend WR Donnie Avery. He’s joined on the list by G Justin Anderson, NT Josh Chapman, OLB Tim Fugger and DE Cory Redding.

- As for playing time, expect RB Steven Jackson to get a handful of reps at most before calling it a day. It’s possible he might not get a carry.

- The starters on offense will rotate a lot, especially at WR and TE. QB Sam Bradford will probably play a series or two, depending on how his first drive goes.

- On the O line, look for Barry Richardson to get the go with the first team at right tackle. Rodger Saffold looks to be a go at left tackle but he might be monitored closely because of his soft tissue ailments.

- Coach Jeff Fisher has made it clear there will be a lot of substitutions, early and often. Look for the youngsters to get a lot of run today.

- Andrew Luck will indeed start at QB for the Colts today. Fans in this town excited to get a look at him in his debut.

- Stay tuned throughout the game for updates.


Posted in From the Sidelines | 11 Comments »