Hope were high amongst Rams fans. The defense was looking dominant during training camp. As I’ve asked before, which was the cause and what is the effect?
A) A really good Rams defense is making the offensive line look bad.
B) A really bad offensive line is making the defense look good.
C) They both have a lot of work to do.
The final 3-38 outcome of the first preseason game indicates option C. But don’t go all “chicken little” and think the sky is falling. It’s only the first game. Stay calm people. It’s only the first game.
So, the first play of the Colts’ QB Andrew Luck era starts with a short dump pass that running back Donald Brown took 67 yards to the end zone. Fans from both sides were stunned as the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd all asked, “Peyton Manning, who?” and the Rams fans were having vivid flashbacks to last season. ”Same old, same old.”
@Ramsherd tweeted something that I commented about the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles “Dream Team” last year. The same rings true this Sunday afternoon.
This team is still very much a collection of parts. It doesn’t know how to play together yet.
That’s what this preseason is for. And my other favorite from the game comes from @JTPirate:
I will not make sweeping generalizations after one preseason game. I will not make sweeping generalizations after one preseason game.
Not everyone bombed but the team as a whole still has a great deal of gelling to do.
Coach Fisher did say he was going to see where the team stands – as state in my game preview.
Yeah we’re keeping things basic, simple, block and tackle. We’ll give them a chance to make plays but we want to see effort, speed and intensity. Especially the young guys, they don’t know what to expect and so the veterans can carry the torch for them. They’ll sit there and watch early and we’ll leave it up to them to finish the game.
So I was totally expecting the vanilla flavoring on both sides of the ball. You know, take baby steps and get the fundamentals down.
The good news: I saw some that effort, speed and intensity he was talking about.
Offensively we kept things very simple in week one. There were some good things. We made some tough catches and Sam (Bradford) made some good throws.
Effort – Wide receiver Austin Pettis made a couple of reaching catches. He looked very solid with three receptions for 25 yards.
Speed – Wide receiver Chris Givens got the jump on the Colts secondary and even drew a pass interference. He was only targeted three times but all three were long balls. Just wish he had caught more than just that one 13-yarder. In his defense those long balls could have been thrown better by both Bradford and Clemens.
Intensity – Defensive end Robert Quinn applied lots of pressure on Luck in the first few series of the game. Quinn came a split second shy of welcoming the rookie first overall draft pick to the NFL. I liked seeing him getting into the Colts backfield.
Bradford stayed upright most of the two series he was in and completed 7-of- 9 passes for 57 yards, with no sacks (key stat for me right here.) His QB rating was 93.1.
When Steven Jackson was in the game he was productive and plowed through the line of scrimmage. And as @Karney44 pointed out having a real blocking full back doesn’t hurt either. Jackson rushed four times for a total of 17 yards. He also had one reception for 6 yards.
Punter Johnny Hekker executed a 67-yard directional punt that landed on the two yard line. A thing of beauty.
The player I was most impressed with was rookie QB Austin Davis. He started the third quarter and finished out the game. He had a nice zip on his passes and completed 12-of-18 for 84 yards. According to StlouisRams.com the fourth QB, Tom Brandstater, didn’t play in the game.
Now for some of the not so good:
The usual mental mistakes that the old Rams would make reared its ugly head – a false start by tackle Barry Richardson which pretty much stalled the drive, a delay of game by Bradford, and untimely fumbles by rookie RB Isaiah Pead. The first Colts play that resulted in the Brown TD was helped along by Rams LB James Laurinaitis who was caught over pursuing just to name a few.
The reason so many Rams fans were upset and disappointed was because it product on the field didn’t look much different from the previous regime’s. The ratcheted excitement levels took a quick nose dive once fans felt like they had already seen this horror movie before.
I understand the excitement and anticipation Rams fans had going into this game today. New head coach, new offense and new defense sans an “official” defensive coordinator and some very promising draft picks ratcheted up the expectation levels to an all-time high. But at the same time these are the very reasons why I would expect the team to take things slowly.