posted on December 10, 2012 00:00
Big win for the Rams in Week 14. This was the game the team should have won and they did. It's clear there is no quit and the team has the confidence and expectations to win no matter the circumstances.
Let's now go live to Jeff Fisher's pre-game interview:
That's a great attitude to have. Look at how comfortable he is in his winter coat outdoors.
Here's what we learned in Week 14.
1. The Rams Closed Out a Victory in Style
Perhaps beating San Francisco in the 10th quarter of the season series was a watershed moment for the team. No longer is the idea of scoring a go-ahead touchdown on the road in the final minute a daunting thought or task.
Here's a pictorial recipe for how to close in style.
First, your wide receiver needs to make a ridiculous catch to convert on 4th and 1.
Well done, Austin Pettis.
Then you hit your favorite target of the day in the end zone.
That would be Brandon Gibson.
After converting the two-point conversion (the Rams are 4/5 on two-point attempts in 2012), you kick the ball away and hand it over to the defense. The defense then swarms the quarterback and sacks him for a loss and a lost timeout.
Next play: your linebacker picks off the ball and intelligently goes down to preserve the victory.
Good stuff Rams. That was exciting. Congrats to Jeff Fisher and his team.
2. Brandon Gibson Loves Him Some AFC East Cookin'
In four games against AFC East teams, Gibson has 19 catches for 246 yards and three TD.
In nine games against the rest of the schedule, Gibson has 21 catches for 291 yards and two TD.
What does it all mean? Brandon Gibson will be a Pro Bowler if and when he signs with the New England Patriots.(Maybe not though).
3. The Rams Defense Likes Pressure
For the majority of the Week 14 contest, the Rams defense made life uncomfortable for Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Rams sacked Fitzpatrick four times and battered him when he managed to get the ball off.
The defense also forced two turnovers. The Rams D has forced seven turnovers in the last three games after producing zero turnovers in the previous five games. Not surprisingly, the Rams are 3-0 in their last three games after going 0-4-1 in the five games the defense failed to force a turnover.
4. Michael Brockers Is Becoming A Beast In The Middle
Brockers had 1.5 sacks in Week 14 and now has four on the season. He was all over the place in Buffalo, wreaking havoc on Ryan Fitzpatrick, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. He was also making tackles in the secondary. He tallied seven tackles total and has 27 for the season. After missing the first three games of the year due to injury, Brockers has progressed very nicely. The more trouble he causes up front the better.
5. The Rams Have Won Three Straight For First Time Since 2006
Perhaps more shocking than that statistic? The Rams have won two straight with no Danny Amendola.
The Rams last won three straight in 2006, to close out the season 8-8 after a 5-8 record through Week 14. Marc Bulger was the quarterback in wins over the Raiders, Redskins and Vikings. And the one and only Scott Linehan was the head coach. Scary.
6. The Rams Are One First Down and One Penalty Away From Being 8-4*
It's crazy to think the Rams could be 8-4, but they really could be. If not for the pre-snap penalty that negated Danny Amendola's 80-yard reception in overtime against the 49ers in Week 10, the Rams would have been two yards from the end zone and a game winning touchdown.
And all the way back in Week 1, the Rams were driving in Detroit late in the 4th quarter. The Lions already burned two of their timeouts when the Rams snapped the ball on third and nine at the Detroit 28 with just over two minutes to play.
The Rams failed to convert and settled for a go-ahead field goal. If the Rams had converted the third down, they could have milked the clock down to one minute or some change when they kicked the go ahead field goal. Instead, the Lions got the ball with two minutes to play and scored a game winning touchdown on the drive.
There are no guarantees, obviously, but extending the drive in Week 1 would have likely kept the Lions from scoring a touchdown on their possession.
Bottom line is the Rams have competed to win in all but three games this year. That's a great job so far by Jeff Fisher and the new regime. It's a Christmas Miracle.