|Jeff Fisher, clearly not letting his team's poor performance in London get him down. |
The bad news is this: the Rams
lost yesterday, and lost big. They looked flat-out awful.
put an old style same-old-sorry-ass-Rams beatdown on Jeff Fisher
's squad. The final score was 45-7, a score more appropriate for a team's low point in a sports comedy than an actual, real life NFL game.
The good news is this: the Rams managed to introduce their abject awfulness to an entirely fresh audience, showing Londoners what we here in St. Louis have been watching for the past god only knows how many years now. Sure, the Rams suck, but let's face it: there's value in branding. Just ask the guy who makes his living retrieving the used tampons from Kim Kardashian's trash and selling them on eBay. Maybe it's only menstrual blood and cotton, yes, but you're paying for the brand, damn it.
The Rams, they suck. And now all of England knows it. Which has to be worth something, right?
I'll be the first to admit that Jeff Fisher
has had the Rams playing better than I expected in the early going this season. I was never a fan of the Fisher hire; I think he's one of the more heavily overrated head coaches in the NFL over the last decade or so. He led the Tennessee Titan
to the Super Bowl
one season, and since then...he's had a bunch of pretty good teams. Teams very rarely underachieve under Jeff Fisher, which is plenty good news for Rams fans, obviously, considering the recent run this franchise has been on, but I'm just not sure Fisher is the sort of coach who's going to really lead you to the mountaintop, so to speak.
But, hey, so far so good for the Rams. They haven't shot themselves in the foot. They haven't self-destructed. And they haven't really looked outclassed, despite clearly still playing with a talent deficit against a lot of other teams. Until yesterday, that is.
I can't even say yesterday was a wake-up call, or reality setting in for the Rams, because it isn't as if they're that bad a team. Why do I say that? Because no team, ever, has ever been as bad as the Rams appeared to be yesterday. There were prison teams in the Depression that could have beaten the Rams yesterday. You don't learn lessons from shitting the bed. Well, other than the importance of bleach, I suppose.
The Patriots haven't exactly dominated the opposition this year, struggling badly themselves on the defensive side of the ball, but it didn't matter on this day. The Rams simply didn't have an answer for the New England offense, and the St. Louis attack was as anemic as ever. It all added up to a very, very bad day.
So what failed for the Rams? The middle of the defense. The secondary as a whole has been a pleasant surprise, with the corners in particular showing well. But the Patriots owned the middle of the field yesterday, with both the running game and -- especially -- the intermediate passing game, and the Rams were exposed.
Rod Gronkowski went off for 8 receptions, 146 yards, and a pair of touchdowns. Tight ends should not put up better than 18 yard per catch numbers. The eight catches? Okay. The yardage? Nononono. The Rams did virtually nothing to slow the Pats down on the ground, either, allowing Stevan Ridley to gash them for 126 yards on just 15 carries, good for an 8.5 yard per carry average. Again, that's just...unbelievable. Eight and a half yards per carry? That simply shouldn't happen.
Honestly, the only positive I can come up with out of this game is Chris Givens having another solid game. The rookie receiver has been a nice surprise for the Rams, outshining Brian Quick, the Rams' second round pick in April and showing the kind of big-play ability we haven't seen here in St. Louis in a long time. He's still a work in progress in terms of consistency and making some of the more routine catches, but once Givens has the ball in his hands he's a threat to make something big happen on any and every play.
The rest of the team pretty much sucked. No further analysis necessary. Or really useful, for that matter. It was the lowest point for Jeff Fisher's Rams so far. Let's all hope it's the lowest point we have to see.