posted on November 12, 2012 11:28
The St. Louis Rams are masters at creating new ways to lose and apparently tie a football game.
The good news is that the Rams took the NFC West Favorite and pre-season Super Bowl hopeful to the brink of defeat; the bad news is the efforts didn't produce a victory. Trying to put into words yesterday's NFC West ironman match is impossible to do. I hope you watched it and if not, keep your eyes and ears peeled for NFL Network for the replay of the game on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Here are some things we learned (again) in Week 10.
1. THE RAMS TRULY MISSED RODGER SAFFOLD
Saffold returned after spraining his MCL in Week 2. His presence greatly enhanced the team's performance on the offensive line. The Rams rushed 37 times for 159 yards, good for a 4.3 Yards Per Attempt against one of the league's most ferocious defenses. The 49ers sacked Sam Bradford only twice in 75 minutes of football.
With Center Scott Wells back on the practice field and likely to suit up in Week 11, the offensive line play should improve from week to week throughout the rest of the season.
2. PRE-SNAP PENALTIES DOOMED THE RAMS
Delay of Game
Good Lord, get me a vomit bag.
For the third time in four games, the Rams committed at least 12 penalties. Read that again. Now consider that an illegal formation penalty negated Danny Amendola's 80 yard catch in overtime that would have put the Rams on the two yard line. And consider that the Rams suffered the exact same penalty in the first quarter of the game.
And consider that a delay of game penalty negated Greg Zuerlein's game-winning, 53-yard field goal in overtime.
What does it all mean? It means the Rams are and have been undisciplined all season long. When Jeff Fisher took over, he had to (cliche alert) change the culture of losing. Part of that was doing the Fisher thing of instilling fire and passion into his players and getting them to actually believe they can win every game.
While that has been a success for the most part, the team needs to pull back on the mojo a bit, otherwise the penalties will keep pushing them back.
3. I WOULDN'T WANT TO BE 49ERS KICKER DAVID AKERS
All World linebacker Patrick Willis: "I don't know what to make of this. We have one of the best kickers in the game, and it came down to him at the end and he misses it. That tells you right there something wasn't right."
Unconfirmed reports suggest Willis ate David Akers for breakfast.
4. CAN WE GET A BODY ON MICHAEL CRABTREE PLEASE?
The 2009 first-round pick out of Texas Tech did a lot of damage to the Rams on crossing routes all afternoon. His TD midway through the second quarter gave him a TD reception in five straight games against the Rams. For the day, Crabtree caught five balls for 70 yards and the one score.
It was his third touchdown in two games, and all of his team-leading four TD catches have come in the last five games.
5. TIE GAME PRODUCES AWKWARD, WEIRD FEELINGS
The end result that fails to produce an end-result produces "weird" feelings.
Said 49ers Safety Donte Whitner: "It feels weird. We're about wins around here."
Said Rams QB Sam Bradford: "It's a weird feeling. I've never been a part of a game like that before. I think the mood in this locker room is disappointment."
Rams Coach Jeff Fisher: "I have to say, I've been doing this a while. I don't think I've ever been in a game like this. As I told our guys, we had a number of chances to put the game away. And, unfortunately, we didn't."
Tie games in the NFL have been described as "kissing your sister".
Thankfully I don't have a sister.
6. TRICKERY HELPS JOHNNY HEKKER BECOME THE GREATEST PASSER EVAHHHH
The Rams successfully converted two fake punts in Sunday's tie. For the season, Hekker is 3/3 for 42 yards and a TD, good for a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Put him in Canton already.
The Rams put up 458 yards of offense—365 in regulation—and converted on 7 of 16 third-down attempts. The third down conversions all came in the second half, a true sign of halftime adjustments.
The Rams' three second-half drives averaged 12 plays apiece.
7. HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF TIE GAMES
Week 10's 24-24 gridlock is just the third tie game in the NFL this century. In 2008, the Eagles tied the Bengals 13-13. This was the infamous game where Donovan McNabb didn't know the game could end in a tie.
In 2002, the Falcons and Steelers tied at 34. The 2002 Falcons actually made the playoffs at 9-6-1 as did the Steelers at 10-5-1.
Before that, in 1997, the Eagles tied the Ravens 10-10 and the Giants tied the Redskins 7-7 in consecutive weeks in November.
The St. Louis Cardinals tied the Philadelphia Eagles 10-10 at Veterans Stadium in December, 1986.
All told, there have been 18 ties in the NFL since 1974. All of the games ended without a winner.