posted on October 29, 2012 07:03
Losing to the Patriots is not a surprise.
The manner with which the Patriots slaughtered the Rams is.
Sam Bradford and the Rams’ offense doing virtually nothing again---even though the Patriots possess on of the worst pass defenses in the league---is not a surprise.
Scoring a total of zero points for the final 57 minutes of the game against a team that had allowed at least 20 in each of their last six games is.
Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense carving up the Rams is not a surprise.
Chris Long and Robert Quinn not making the trip to London is.
There’s no way to candy coat this one: this was a step backwards.
In a season with low win total expectations, at least Rams’ fans were seeing progress.
Over the last three games, the Rams have regressed.
The loss at Miami was a giveaway.
The losses vs. Green Bay and New England were ugly.
The defense, which seemed like it had made so much progress under Jeff Fisher, looked lost Sunday.
Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon Lloyd got a light workout in and toyed with the Rams’ secondary.
Oh, and then there was Steven Ridley. The Patriots’ running back you may or may not have heard of going into the game averaged 8.5 yards per carry. If a high school running back averages 8.5 yards per carry, it’s worthy of being discussed.
But, in the NFL, Ridley ran for 127 yards and a touchdown on a total of 15 carries.
The Rams now have a week off…and then complete the three-headed monster of death with a trip to San Francisco.
3-2 will likely turn into 3-6.
The Rams made it through October relevant in the NFL and the St. Louis sports scene.
I don’t see that happening in November.
The good news is the Rams and Redskins are both 3-5…and trending downward. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for the Rams to have two top 10 picks next year.
Unfortunately, when they were 3-2 and on their way to Miami, I was hoping that I wouldn’t mention the draft in October for the first time since 2006.
The streak, however, is alive.
Do you really need me to break Missouri-Kentucky down for you?
I hope that’s not the case.
I also hope for your sake you didn’t spend three hours on a Saturday afternoon watching it.
Those were two bad football teams playing at Faurot Field.
1. When I saw the spread come out at Missouri -15.5, I loved Kentucky. As I said on the air, the big risk in that was that I hadn’t seen Kentucky play, and they could be absolutely dreadful…but even if they were, I couldn’t imagine Missouri with Corbin Berkstresser scoring enough points to cover that spread. I’d like to think I was right…because with Corbin Berkstresser at QB, the Tigers weren’t covering. He was so bad that Gary Pinkel had to bring in James Franklin…who wasn’t healthy enough to start. But, once Franklin came in, the turnovers came to a halt, and the Tigers’ offense got a bit of a spark…even though Franklin was hardly the guy we saw in 2011. He attempted just nine passes and wasn’t running the football. The x factor in the whole deal was just how awful Kentucky was. Well, they’re absolutely horrible. Holy shit. Kentucky and Kansas competed for the National Championship in college basketball…and they’d compete for the worst BCS team in college football.
2. I haven’t spent much time writing about Missouri in the month of October, because all of our attention was on the Cardinals. But, I get annoyed by the “they can’t hang in the SEC” talking point. This team is bad. They wouldn’t be hanging in the Big 12 either. They’d be struggling in the fucking ACC. Looking at the Big 12, I think the Tigers could---maybe---beat two teams…as long as James Franklin is at QB: Baylor and Kansas. And, in the SEC, I think Missouri could beat maybe two teams: Kentucky and Auburn. Hell, if you’re feeling really high from the big win over Kentucky, you could even throw Arkansas and Ole Miss in there as possibilities. If you agree with that premise, that means the Tigers can beat more SEC teams in 2012 than they can Big 12 teams in 2012. The point is that this isn’t about the SEC. This is about a bad and beat-up football team. They’d be getting kicked around the Big 12, too.
The Tigers sit at 4-4 with the final four games of the year as follows:
-at Florida this Saturday (11 a.m.) (Gators favored by 16)
-at Tennessee November 10th
-vs. Syracuse November 17th
-at Texas A & M November 24th
Now, I personally don’t give a damn about the bowls. I didn’t care about them in 2007 once Missouri was out of the BCS Championship picture…and I sure as hell don’t care about whatever crap bowl the Tigers would get into if they win two of their final four.
But, for those that do, and I know some of you do, as the season has evolved, I’d say the best chances for the two wins would be at Tennessee and---as expected---at home against Syracuse.
A & M has turned into an offensive machine, and the Vols have faded after their fast start.
I wouldn’t necessarily be expecting two wins, but if there’s one thing to like from Saturday’s win, it’s the focus on the run game.
Get the ball going on the ground…get a tight end in there to help with blocking…and don’t bail on the run game.
They did that Saturday, and they had some success.
But, as noted earlier, Kentucky is absolutely dreadful.
-I grew up in a Notre Dame household. Personally, I’ve had a hate-then-like relationship with Notre Dame. They’re my second-favorite team, so I’ll put that out there in advance. However, I was shocked to see them even in the game with Oklahoma…much less wind up winning comfortably in Norman. I’m not sure who the best team is out of Notre Dame, K-State, and Oregon, but I do know this: if somehow Notre Dame winds up #2 and gets Alabama for the BCS Championship, it would be huge. It’d be Yankees-Cardinals…or, to be honest…Yankees-Dodgers. But, it’d be that kind of caliber of brand name programs with love/hate followings.
-Notre Dame has Pittsburgh, at Boston College, and Wake Forest…then they travel to USC. Kansas State has Oklahoma State, at TCU, at Baylor, and at home against Texas. Oregon has the toughest road: at USC this Saturday, at Cal, home vs. Stanford, and then at Oregon State…and the Pac-12 Championship Game. If more than one of the three teams stays undefeated, all hell will break loose. At this point, a great case can be made for all three to be #2.
-Did you happen to see the 60 Minutes story on Shahid Khan, the Illinois grad who now owns the Jacksonville Jaguars? If you’ll remember, he was going to be the Rams’ new owner before Stan Kroenke stepped in at the last minute and exercised his right to buy the team. Well, as it turns out, after some initial backlash in Jacksonville over Khan’s race and religion, the community has embraced him, and he’s become the face of the franchise. Why? Because he’s visible and has an endearing personality. Meanwhile…here in St. Louis…the owner was seen yesterday in London…and I’m not really sure who is the face of the franchise. Any answer---like Bradford, Jackson, or Laurinaitis---wouldn’t be particularly impressive when you look around the league and, with few exceptions---every city has an obvious answer.
-Speaking of which, Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting multiple teams have contacted the Rams about Steven Jackson. The trade deadline is Tuesday. My guess is Jackson Steven Jackson has played his last game as a Ram. For his sake, I hope he gets a shot somewhere like Green Bay. Unfortunately for the Rams, I’d be shocked if they got much in return.
-What were St. Louis Area fans most looking forward between now and Spring Training? Well, it’s slim pickings. Before the usual Blues-ballot-stuffer arrived, the winner was Missouri basketball in last week’s insideSTL poll, which speaks volumes as to how dreadful this Winter could be without hockey or competitive football. If you want to get a look at the 15th-ranked Tigers, they play Northwest Missouri State tonight. It will be the only area sporting event taking place between now and Missouri’s kickoff Saturday at Florida. Sigh.
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