ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. –
– If we have learned nothing else about this year’s version of the Rams 13 games into this season, the one thing we should know by now is not to get up and leave the room or go to the restroom in the fourth quarter. DE Robert Quinn said it best when he said after the game that as long as there is time on the clock, the Rams believe they can win.
– Never was that more evident than Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium as the Rams came up with a stirring late comeback to win one in the final moments.
– Before we get further into that, let’s just pause a moment and reflect on how far this team has come. When was the last time the Rams were on the right side of a last minute comeback win? How about the last time they did it two weeks in a row? Something is happening here: bounces are going the Rams way, they’re finding ways to win at the last minute and they’re winning consistently.
– At 6-6-1, the Rams are back to .500 and firmly in the mix for a NFC Wild Card spot. In the next three weeks, they’ll have a chance to take on three teams right in the mix with them. They don’t mathematically control their destiny but they absolutely have a chance to make some waves and be heard from.
– Three games is officially a winning streak. It’s the first for the Rams since the final trio of games in 2006.
– On the injury front, Coach Jeff Fisher said S Craig Dahl has a concussion. LT Rodger Saffold had some back spasms and was in and out of the game late but he’s expected to be OK according to Fisher.
– Now, back to the game, it’s yet another week where it’s hard to figure out where to begin. Last week it was the defense so let’s go with the offense.
– It was an incredibly tough and ugly first half for that group, of that there is no doubt. Without the services of WR Danny Amendola again, it’s been difficult to find a rhythm offensively. But the group does deserve plenty of credit for coming through when it was needed most.
– Let’s start with a tip of the cap to WRs Austin Pettis and Brandon Gibson and TE Lance Kendricks. All made huge, difficult catches on the team’s final drive. Pettis’ reaching behind him to convert on fourth down quite literally saved the game. Just an unbelievably clutch play.
– As for Gibson, what a response in the second half. He hasn’t been too active in the pass game in the past few weeks but without Amendola and the offense sputtering, it was Gibson who answered the bell. He posted 100 yards on six catches and caught the game-winning touchdown. Big time.
– As the quarterback, Bradford takes a lot of heat for when the offense struggles and willingly acknowledged his struggles in the first half Sunday but there’s no denying how good he’s been late in games this year. He made the plays when it counts. I’ll go and check his fourth quarter numbers for a story this week but he’s been quite good in that regard this year.
– Nice job by the O-line and RB Steven Jackson staying with the run and getting the job done blocking on the final drive as well.
– On to the defense, the defense that continues to find ways to keep the Rams in games, particularly these slugfests they continue to find themselves in.
– Really, since the season opener in Detroit, the defense has been looking for another opportunity to finish a game it had a chance to win late. They got one Sunday and they made the most of it, coming up with a huge sack by DE Robert Quinn and then the interception by LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar to seal it.
– For the second week in a row, just a phenomenal job by the run defense. The two-headed monster of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson didn’t do much of anything as the Bills finished with 61 yards on the ground.
– What’s the key to the success of the run defense? Physical domination up front. The two tackles for the Rams – Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford – and the two for the Bills – Kyle Williams and Marcel Dareus – might be the two combos playing the best in the league right now.
– Speaking of Brockers, it’s a scary thought to realize how good this kid could be. He’s put together two big performances in a row and continues to improve. He’s got monster written all over him.
– The one thing the Rams continue to do defensively that makes a huge difference is hold opponents to field goals instead of touchdowns. It paid off in a big way again on Sunday.
– Still got to come up with the fumble from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, though.
– And the unit that will probably go overlooked this week might have done the most important job of all: the special teams.
– Entering the game, Buffalo was first in the league in punt return and second in kick return. Neither unit did any serious damage as P Johnny Hekker hit some good ones and the coverage units did their job getting returners on the ground. It won’t be talked about much but that was a huge key to this victory.
– I want to take a moment to send a special shout out to huge Rams fan Seth Donnan, his mother, his sister and his sister’s boyfriend for making it to the game today. They came up from Long Island to see the game but the relationship is much deeper. I’ll have a full story on Seth and his friendship with DE Chris Long later this week but for now, just know that Seth is a very special kid and his presence breaking down the defensive line huddle and then in the locker room after the game were nothing short of inspiring.
– So here we are with three games to play and a whole world of opportunity ahead. I have no clue how it’s going to play out but I’ll venture a guess it’s going to be fun.
– Buckle up, Rams fans. Thanks for reading.
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