How do you explain the rationale of a head coach, who prides his team on running the football, to throw on 2nd and goal at the San Diego 4-yard line with a backup quarterback?
We’re gonna line up and run the football… Rah, rah, rah.
Well, except when there’s a minute left in a game, down 3 points, at the opponents’ goal line, on the road, with a journeyman quarterback, and a full set of downs to work with.
I don’t care if everybody in the house knew the Rams were giving the football to Benny Cunningham. When your identity is running the football, why would the coaching staff not play to its strengths. This regime drafted and assembled a roster based on this identity and when the game is on the line, they jump off the deep end. Brian Schottenheimer is a joke, period.
The Rams Red Zone offense ranks near the bottom of the NFL. They score a touchdown 51% of the time. That’s not good enough.
Rookie Greg Robinson had a terrible day. An illegal use of hands penalty negated a 51-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt. Instead of a 17-3 halftime lead, San Diego forced a punt and kicked a field goal to keep the game 10-6. Former Illini Corey Liuget beat Robinson on a stunt blitz resulting in a strip-sack-and-score, the seventh defensive touchdown this season against the Rams. Pro Football Focus grades Robinson’s play dead last among NFL tackles the last four weeks. I’m not implying Robinson is a dud, but the game is too fast for him right now covering the quarterback’s blindside.
I thought the Rams defense was pathetic. They allowed 205 yards after the catch, a clear sign they couldn’t tackle. They had no answer for Ryan Matthews, who averaged over eight yards per carry. Alec Ogletree reverted into mediocrity. The safeties rarely hovered the line of scrimmage.
Gregg Williams continued to blitz Phillip Rivers… And the plan kept backfiring. Rivers completed all eight passing attempts against the additional pressure in the 2nd half. Williams refused to drop a defensive end into coverage, which might have forced Rivers to think twice about dumping it off over the middle.
It’s odd how a defense can hold a future Hall of Fame quarterback to 7 points, but fail to adjust to San Diego’s short crossing patterns over the middle. How can a defensive line prove so dominant one week only to fade into irrelevance the next? Aaron Donald registered the lone sack, and is proving to be the only consistent lineman.
Why the coaching staff still thinks James Laurinaitis can cover tight ends is mind-boggling. A huge play in the game happened with 10:55 in the 4th quarter. On 3rd-and-8 from the San Diego 35, Rivers connected with Ladarius Green for 28-yards on a simple go route. Laurinaitis was exposed, once again, in man coverage. Three plays later, Keenan Allen took a screen pass 29-yards for a touchdown, giving the Bolts a 27-17 lead.
The Rams had yet another special teams breakdown on the road. The Rams lost by 3 points… they had a 46-yard field goal attempt blocked in the 2nd quarter while leading 10-3. The game ending interception isn’t even thrown if the kick is good.
What a brutal loss.
Congratulations to former Mizzou Tiger Andrew Gachkar, who became the seventh player to score a defensive touchdown against the Rams.
Mike McCoy’s game plan to get the ball out of Phillip Rivers’ hand worked well. His average pass traveled just 3.9 yards, eliminating what the Rams do best: rush the passer.