In great part because Saints S Malcolm Jenkins went out of his way to make life miserable for rookie QB Sam Bradford down by the bayou, the Rams’ three-game road trip ended on a sour note Sunday with a 31-13 defeat.
The loss dropped the Rams below .500, but they still remain tied atop the NFC West with Seattle and have an excellent opportunity to regain some important stretch-drive momentum with a win at home this Sunday against the Chiefs in a meaningful “Show Me State” showdown.
The Rams didn’t show much against the Saints. Bradford was below average with a pair of red-zone interceptions into the hands of the pesky Jenkins, and St. Louis’ defense allowed Saints QB Drew Brees to do pretty much whatever he wanted. The Rams’ pass rush delivered surprisingly minimal pressure, and an undermanned secondary that was missing CBs Ronald Bartell (stinger) and Justin King (shoulder) provided very spotty coverage.
The PFW Spin
Dare I say beggars should not be choosers? I mean, could anybody have predicted before the season started that this Sunday’s All-Missouri matchup would be so genuinely significant for both the Rams and Chiefs? Clearly, each of these teams has made unexpectedly major strides, and the Rams could be catching a break with Chiefs QB Matt Cassel’s status remaining questionable following his recent appendectomy.
Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo has emphasized a steady-as-she-goes, one-game-at-a time approach, and the odds seem good that the Rams will forget about last week and rebound with a rejuvenated effort against the Chiefs, who might have had their worst game of the year in their shutout loss to the Chargers last Sunday.
It does appear, however, that the St. Louis defense’s back seven has been adversely affected by a recent rash of injuries, most notably the season-ending torn pectoral suffered by SLB Na’il Diggs, who provided badly needed experience and savvy that could be sorely missed down the stretch. Getting Bartell back into the starting mix would help immensely.
The Rams’ offensive line, which allowed the Saints to get in Bradford’s face way too often last week while registering three sacks, also must put forth a much sharper effort against the Chiefs.