posted on November 26, 2012 02:01
The Rams also rediscovered that Steven Jackson feeling and it felt as good as any physical pounding a team could collectively issue could feel. Wait. Forget I said that.
Here's what happened and what we learned in the Rams 31-17 win over the Cardinals.
1. The Rams caught four passes on defense, two of them for touchdowns.
For five weeks, the Rams didn't force a turnover on defense (and failed to win during that time). That changed in Week 12 thanks to interceptions by Craig Dahl, James Laurinaitis and two picks for touchdowns by rookie Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins is the first rookie to score two defensive touchdowns in the same game since 1960.
When the defense forces four turnovers, the team should win. Ditto for scoring two defensive touchdowns. The reality is the Rams should have won by more than 20 points (to be explained below)
Anyway, the Rams swept the season series with the Cardinals for the first time since 2003. In the two victories this season, the Rams sacked Arizona QBs 11 times, intercepted them four times, and gave up zero passing touchdowns while scoring two of their own.
In a word: domination.
2. Daryl Richardson is good and all, but he's not Steven Jackson
After last week's debacle against the Jets, it was a wonder why Steven Jackson only carried 13 times for 81 yards. That little problem was remedied Week 12 in Arizona.
Jackson rushed 24 times for 139 yards (5.8 YPA), which included a 46-yard run in the third quarter, good for his longest run of the season. Jackson looks as good now compared to any other point this season. Good health withstanding, he'll probably end up with well over 1,000 yards again (currently at 724 yards). If he averages 56 yards a game from here on out, he'll finish with 1,001.
The Rams also got 32 yards on seven carries from Daryl Richardson. This marks two out of three games the Rams have excelled on the ground with Rodger Saffold back in the lineup. In that span, Jackson has 321 rushing yards on 66 carries (4.9 YPA) while Richardson has 116 yards on 20 carries (5.8 YPA).
For the season, Jackson carried 42 times for 215 yards against the Birds of Glendale.
3. Ryan Lindley and Derek Anderson are two brothers from another mother
The last time the Rams won in Arizona, Steve Spagnuolo was the coach and the Cardinals had Derek Anderson as their quarterback. On that memorable December afternoon in 2010, Anderson completed 7/20 for 93 yards and one INT before being replaced by the debuting John Skelton, whose era of quarterbacking the Cardinals was unceremoniously dumped with a 13-0 lead over the Falcons in Week 11.
The starter in Week 12 of 2012, Ryan Lindley, managed to hold off Skelton this go around.
Arizona Passing Fever ... CATCH IT!
4. The Rams are still undefeated in division play
Whatever it really means, it's clear the Rams made it their goal to win their division contests en route to winning the division. While the second part of that equation won't happen this year, the team has already assured itself a winning record in the division. Week 13 presents a rematch of the Week 10 Tie in San Francisco. Something tells me there's going to be a lot of hard hits, post-play scuffles and a fired up Rams team that wants to prove it can physically outplay the 49ers once again (and actually win this time).
5. Stop it with the penalties already. Seriously.
Quintin Mikell wins the game ball for dumbest penalty of the day - and he accomplished the feat on Arizona's first possession. His late hit/unnecessary roughness penalty extended the Arizona drive after the Cardinals failed to convert on 3rd and 18 at the Arizona 42. Instead of 4th and 12 at the AZ 48, the Cardinals added 15 yards and extended the drive that culminated in a touchdown.
The Rams were once again flagged for illegal motion when Lance Kendricks forgot he wasn't in the Arena League and ran forward before the snap. It negated a 12-yard gain for Daryl Richardson. There was also a holding penalty on Rodger Saffold that moved the Rams from the Arizona 2 yardline backwards away from the end zone. The penalty was followed by a sack of Bradford and a missed field goal by Greg Zuerlein.
If your keeping score, the Rams should have scored at least 34 points and only given up 10 but stupid penalties ruined it. All told, the team tallied 10 penalties for 84 yards. Giving away big plays and points against the 49ers in Week 13 will doom the Rams again. Might want to stop with all that.
6. The notion that Bradford isn't surrounded by talent needs to die
As the season goes on, it's clear Danny Amendola, Steven Jackson, Chris Givens and Daryl Richardson are legitimate weapons. With a healthy Rodger Saffold, the offensive line has shown signs of cohesiveness.
The point is that things have lined up for Bradford to succeed over the next five weeks. It wasn't a lack of talent that caused Bradford to throw an interception in the end zone to Patrick Peterson -- it was Bradford making up his mind before breaking the huddle that he was throwing to Austin Pettis (the same play the Rams tied the 49ers at 24 two weeks ago). Not only was the throw late, it was delivered into what some would describe as triple coverage.
These are the decisions that franchise quarterbacks can't make. And these are the plays that define inconsistent play.
With nearly three quarters of the season complete, Bradford knows enough of the offense of his third coordinator in three seasons.
It's time for him to step up and lead his team to some victories. The defense won't be able to force four turnovers and score 12 points every week, especially against the 49ers.
It's on Bradford to erase the Week 10 tie by leading the team to its most impressive win of the season this coming Sunday, and in the process, give Bradford his biggest win to date.
TURNOVERS ARE EXCITING
When the Rams defense intercepts a pass or recovers a fumble, the jolt of excitement usually results in positive cursing and yelling at the television and opposing team. This is especially true when you saw your team get slaughtered by the Jets just one week earlier. Love that turnover excitement.
TURNOVERS ARE DELICIOUS TOO
TURNOVERS ARE IMPACTFUL
TURNOVERS ARE ANGER-INDUCING
TURNOVERS ARE CREATED BY MANY DIFFERENT VARIABLES
TURNOVERS CREATE OBVIOUS STATEMENTS
So less employees getting fired and staying with a company leads to greater employee satisfaction? Shut the front door - and the side door and backdoor.
Defenses that force four turnovers and score two touchdowns report greater employee satisfaction as well.