Daily Grind 11.12 PT. 1

I had two concerns heading into the Arizona contest: 

  1. Would the Rams show up 
  2. Arizona’s resiliency.

The Rams became the latest victim to cough up a football game in the 4th quarter against Arizona. Four of the Cardinals’ eight wins have come via 4th quarter comebacks.

The Rams showed up for 52 minutes before the avalanche erupted. Arizona found 21 points in a span of four minutes thanks to a 48-yard touchdown toss from their backup quarterback and two defensive scores.

The entire game changed when the zebras intervened. An illegal blindside block called on Lance Kendricks negated a 41-yard catch and run by Jared Cook. The Rams, leading 14-10, would have had the ball at the Arizona 4-yard line, but instead were pushed back to the Arizona 35. Two negative plays and an incomplete pass forced a punt, and the Cardinals unleashed hell on a vulnerable Rams squad.

You saw it… I don’t care to expound.

3 Extended Thoughts:

The offensive line is a complete, utter joke. And make no mistake; this is entirely on Jeff Fisher.
  • LT: Greg Robinson ($5.3 million) #2 overall draft last April
  • LG: Rodger Saffold ($6.3 million) Rams “stole him back” from Oakland, who improved to 0-9 in the Race to L.A. sweepstakes.
  • C: Scott Wells ($3.6 million) A Pro-Bowler in 2012 with Green Bay, he signed a 4-year, $24 million deal with the Rams in 2012. He’s played in 29 of 48 possible games as a Ram. Dude is 33 –way beyond his prime.
  • RG: Davin Joseph ($1.75 million) 1st round pick by Tampa Bay in 2006 out of Oklahoma. 2006 was eight years ago. His technique is otherwise known as “ghost-blocking”.
  • RT: Joe Barksdale ($510k) 3rd round pick out of LSU by Oakland. Raiders released him in 2012. See: Raiders (0-9) above. HM.
  • Don’t forget Jake Long, the prized, $34 million cornerstone tackle from Miami. He suffered a season-ending ACL tear.
The QB

Austin Davis again took blame for the loss, saying afterwards he needed to “do a better job keeping his eyes downfield” and not on the pass rush. Well, OK. The Cardinals sacked Davis six times for 42 yards. And while the Rams do need Davis to play better, it might help if the offensive line blocked, Brian Schottenheimer knew how to call a game, and his receivers caught the football. We’re already hearing the Davis propaganda from the peanut gallery, and it’s absurd. Davis is completing 63% of his passes, which, if the season ended today would rank 5th best in franchise history. His 109.3 passer rating on third down ranks 8th in the NFL, and seven of his 12 TD passes have come on the so-called “money down”.

Somehow the Rams have to get the ball downfield. They have two burners in Tavon Austin and Chris Givens, but can’t seem to correctly utilize their strengths. Givens set a rookie record in 2012 with five straight games with a reception over 50-yards. What the hell happened?

Tale of two approaches

Brian Schottenheimer is, quite honestly, the world’s biggest joke. His playcalling is beyond predictable. The offense lacks any rhythm. 11 of the Rams’ 14 drives featured four or less plays. Five drives were three-and-out, and four drives went for negative yardage. That is P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C.

Let me break something down:

Tavon Austin, the 8th overall pick in the 2013 draft, had a 17-yard reception and 10-yard run on the Rams’ first scoring drive, but failed to get targeted again until the team trailed by 10 points with 5:08 left in the game.

Meanwhile — Arizona, who lost their $50 million quarterback Carson Palmer to a knee injury, inserted 30-year old backup Drew Stanton down 14-10. Head Coach Bruce Arians turned up the heat.

  • Stanton’s first drive of the game started at the Cardinals 11-yard line. 
    11 yard completion to Rob Housler 
    4-yard scramble
    26-yard completion to John Carlson
    48-yard Touchdown bomb to John Brown

Bang. A 4-play, 89-yard score. Cardinals 17 Rams 14.

Catch the drift?
Schottenheimer ran from success. Arians found it – albeit with a backup quarterback. 

Schotty tries to get too many guys involved and therefore nobody has a chance to completely take over a game. It’s similar to President Obama’s wealth redistribution. No Rams receiver has caught more than seven passes in a single game. When Arizona needed a big play Sunday, they went to #11 Larry Fitzgerald. Schotty pulls a name out of a hat on those occasions. He’s terrible. 

Next up, Denver.
Thanks for reading.

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