posted on November 30, 2012 10:20
Three weeks ago, the Rams found a way to stop their own progress and tie the NFC-favorite 49ers. This go-around, the 49ers travel to the Dome with Colin Kaepernick as their starting quarterback.
THE LEGEND OF COLIN KAEPERNICK
The Legend of Colin Kaepernick grew a little larger last Sunday in New Orleans, as the 49ers’ new QB had another strong game and moved his record as an NFL starter to 2-0. There’s no question that Kaepernick has played very well and that he appears to make the San Francisco offense a bit more explosive and dynamic than it was with Alex Smith at the helm (Alex is irked at the decision, rightly so).
But it’s important to point out that two games is a small sample size, and that NFL defensive coordinators have a knack for “figuring out” the weaknesses of young QBs once there’s enough game film to study. It’s possible that the public’s infatuation with Kaepernick could be driving what’s a pretty sizable point spread for this game, given that just three weeks ago these teams played to that grueling 24-24 tie out in San Francisco.
That was the game in which Kaepernick took his first meaningful NFL snap, replacing the injured Smith. He completed 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards. A nice relief effort.
That game also appears to have been a statistical fluke, beyond just the fact it was a rare tie.
There’s no question that the 49ers are the better team overall. But there's also no question that the Rams hold the edge in intangibles. The intangibles are what I'm making up as we go here.
No but seriously, the Rams are undefeated in the division and it's clear that is something they take very seriously. There's also the foul taste that remains after the Rams failed to grab the victory in San Francisco.
Statistically of course, San Francisco has pretty big edges in most of the key categories. But the Rams can get after the QB (No. 5 in forcing Negative Pass Plays) which bodes well given that San Francisco’s one (and only) glaring weakness as a team is protecting the QB (No. 30 in preventing Negative Pass Plays). This probably factored into HAIR-BAUGH's decision to go with Kaepernick, who has a more natural knack for extending plays when protection breaks down.
It’s tough to see an offense that ranks No. 28 in scoring have the success against the league’s No. 1 scoring defense that it had in Week 10, but the Rams are going to let it all out. If they can't stay within the 7 points they're being spotted in Vegas, then they have issues.
THE LEGEND OF SAM BRADFORD
This is Bradford's game. Everything has aligned for the Rams to play their best game of the year. Scott Wells and Rodger Saffold have solidified the offensive line, Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson have holes to plow through. Chris Givens has emerged as a legitimate weapon in the passing game.
After setting the rookie record in 2010 with 7 wins (which Andrew Luck tied this season), Bradford is back to having a fair shake. There are no more excuses. Which Sammy B will Sammy B be?
That is the ultimate question. I for one am excited to see his performance in this game. Bradford needs to lead his team to victory. He nearly did it in Week 1 at Detroit; he nearly did it in Week 6 at Miami, he came even closer to doing it in Week 10 at San Francisco.
If the Rams can eliminate their stupid pre-snap penalties and get out of their own way, we'll see for sure what Sam Bradford is made of this weekend.
QUALITY LISTENING EXPERIENCE W/ PLENTY OF LAUGHS
I'm hosting the Cold Hard Football Facts radio show on Patriots.com. Here are some quality skits I've created over the past few weeks. All you have to do is hit the play button and laughter will ensue.
First up, in honor of Fireman Ed retiring as lead cheerleader for the Jets, here's what happens when Ed retires from firefighting during an actual fire ...
Next, we have John Gruden Unplugged, Gruden's response to a penalty on Willie Colon for cursing an official ... a F#$%ing great time.
Batting third, it's Ray Lewis mic'd up at Congregation. A conversation with God ensues. Fun for the whole family.
Finally, Michael Irvin tries out for the role of Jay Leno's lead singer on the Tonight Show. Since all that is required is forced laughter, Michael was clearly one of the finalists.
LET'S GO TO THE VIDEO
One of the often-forgotten great songs of the 80s ... Golden Earring's Twilight.
That video is all kinds of 80s creepy.
Have a good weekend friends. Believe in your Rams. And if they shit the bed, you don't have to believe in them anymore this season.