The St. Louis Rams eked out a close win over the game Arizona Cardinals this last Sunday. It was a game that exposed some of the Rams' weaknesses and certainly illustrated their considerable strengths, including their pass rushers and new tight end Jared Cook.
What we want to know as Falcons fans, of course, is how the Rams won and what that means for the Falcons this weekend. To that end, I turned to 3k at Turf Show Times, who was kind enough to provide me with this short breakdown:
The Rams got off to their first 1-0 start since 2006 with a comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals in St. Louis on Sunday. It wasn't pretty, but the Rams got the job done and set a few high marks to repeat...and a few low bars to improve on.
The offense sputtered early behind a lackluster running game and some very conservative playcalling on both sides. While Sam Bradford had a good game, save for one costly mistake that resulted in a a #FATGUYTOUCHDOWN on a pick six, the highlight of the offense was Jared Cook. Cook repeatedly turned short and intermediate receptions into long gains finishing with seven catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. He should have had three, but rookie CB Tyrann Mathieu of Honey Badgerian fame was able to poke the ball out just before Cook crossed the end zone.
The defense took a conservative approach that Rams fans are annoyed by, but it avoids the bigger highlights (for the most part) that can rile any fan base. It's a scheme that sets the cornerbacks well off the receivers blanketing the sidelines and keeping the top on the defense forcing offenses to work underneath the secondary and throughout the short middle of the field. While it's tiresome to see an experienced QB like Carson Palmer dink and dunk first downs off, it prevents (yeah, I went there) bigger passing opportunities downfield. The one big play the Cardinals had on offense was a ridiculous one handed catch by Michael Floyd made while being perturbed by a defending Cortland Finnegan. I can understand why so many Rams fans are irked to let easy plays go under the middle, but when you've got the Rams' pass rush that they do headlined by Robert Quinn (3 sacks, 2 FF on Sunday) any mistake that a QB makes is going to be capitalized on (see: Trumaine Johnson's interception that set the Rams up at the Arizona 4-yard line.).
It worked just well enough to allow the Rams to overcome their early mistakes as well as an 11-point deficit to start the fourth quarter for a much needed season-opening win.
Thanks to 3k for the report! We'll have five questions with Turf Show Times tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.