This was a disappointing weekend for the Rams as they were beaten by the injury ravaged struggling Ravens. Rookie sensation Todd Gurley was kept in check and QB Case Keenum was left seeing stars as the Rams failed to protect him. Here’s Tom Green’s assessment…
1. Keenum was shaken up by domineering Ravens
It is fair to say that Case Keenum’s first start for the Rams since he rejoined them after a short spell at the Houston Texans, was a mixed affair to put it lightly. On the bright side he scored his first touchdown pass for the Rams when he found Tight End Lance Kendricks on the end of a 30 yard wheel route. However despite this one moment of genius he was subdued by a Ravens line who were piling on the pressure to the Rams backup.
Keenum used to be a bit of a free spirit in the quarterback position as he would regularly escape the pocket and attempt to run with the football. However since his second spell at the Houston Texans he has forced himself to play more in the pocket and as a result of this he has become even more reliant on his offensive line.
Unfortunately for Keenum he plays for the Rams who have one of the worst pass protections in the National Football League. The mid westerners have allowed 65 Quarterback hits this season so far which is the 9th worst in the NFL and the 4th worst in the NFC (Interestingly the Rams have allowed the least sacks of any team in the NFC and I don’t know how).
As a result of this the Ravens were able to force the inexperienced Quarterback to fumble the football on no less than 3 separate occasions (winning the ball on two of them). He also has found himself at the head of a controversy between the St. Louis Rams training staff and the NFL as on one of the many times he hit his head off the turf and ended up throwing two incompletions on the following plays.
Unfortunately for the Rams the NFL are considering “disciplining” the organisation because he wasn’t taken out of the game. All of these concussion protocols have been implemented in the NFL after a huge scandal after the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee discovered a staggering number of dead former players who showed signs of brain disease.
2. Gurley kept quiet
For the second week in a row rookie running back sensation Todd Gurley III was kept quite as he was only able to rush 66 yards at a rate of only 2.2 yards per carry. Opponents are starting to learn how to take the threat of Gurley out of the game and are starting to expose the Rams vulnerable passing game which is perhaps one of the reasons why they are suffering a mid-season slump.
In all fairness to Gurley and the other Rams rushers the Ravens have one of the better rush defenses in the NFL as they only allow 97 rushing yards per game so opening them up was always going to be a challenge. This is the Rams third consecutive defeat since their comprehensive victory over the San Francisco 49’ers at the start of the month.
Gurley also fumbled the football for the second time this season since the Rams crucial divisional win over the Arizona Cardinals. It wasn’t all bad though for Gurley as he was able to make a mark on the game when he opened the scoring with a 1 yard rushing touchdown and his 6th rushing touchdown of the 2015 season.
3. Greg Zuerlien caves under pressure
Greg Zuerlien once again failed to win the game for the Rams late in the game with a field goal attempt in a tie game. He had an opportunity to win the game for the Rams within the 2 minute warning of the 4th quarter from 52 yards which he was unable to convert. In his defense it is not easy to score a field goal from that range in Baltimore and I am not going to pretend for a second that I could do anything like that. However this is well within Zuerlien’s range and it is frustrating to lose a game because of a missed field goal attempt.
It is quite easy to get carried away in statistics and form books but occasionally incidents occur which can shake up an organisation like the Rams to its core. Wide Receiver Stedman Bailey was shot in a horrific incident in Miami Gardens.
As of the writing of this post Bailey is fighting for his life after being shot in Florida last Tuesday. The 3rd round draft pick from West Virginia was shot alongside his friend in an incident which occurred on Tuesday in Miami Gardens in Florida. As of now, according to the New York Times, the suspect behind the incident is still at large and hopefully the perpetrator will get the justice they deserve.
Bailey was in Florida following a 4 game ban from the National Football League because of substance abuse.