By Patrick Imig
Cold, Hard Football Facts Ram-a-jama beat man
The St. Louis Rams harbor dreams of competence in 2011, but the season began with a 31-13 home loss to the Eagles. Here are five things we learned.
1. Great starts & great expectations can end in great disappointment.
With expectations high and the season anew, the Rams got off to a fantastic start. They stopped the Eagles on their opening drive after Chris Long sacked Michael Vick (assisted by Bradley Fletcher). On the first offensive play of the season, Steven Jackson ripped off a 47 yard touchdown. Unbelievable. The Edward Jones Dome was in a frenzy and produced a sound I hadn't heard in nearly a decade.
If you think I'm being dramatic or cheesy it's because I am. That's how good the fan in me felt after that play. And then the wheels fell off and things seemed to spiral out of control. While the touchdown was a great moment (Rams fans appreciate great moments when we get them), it became just that, a moment. On the play Steven Jackson injured his right leg. He carried the ball one more time for 9 yards.
2.There is no defense against the Football Gods.
Jackson's injury was just the beginning. The Rams slot receiver extraordinaire, Danny Amendola, separated his elbow and is out for a serious amount of time. The Rams also suffered injuries in the secondary. Safety Quintin Mikell and cornerback Ron Bartell didn't finish the game. Offensive tackle Jason Smith left to injury. And before the final whistle, Sam Bradford injured a finger on his throwing hand. Bradford is scheduled for an MRI on Monday. If Bradford misses an extended period of time, the Rams won't meet their potential in 2011.
3. A.J. Feeley looked like a quarterback who hasn't thrown a pass since 2007.
It was a small sample size but A.J. Feeley played the part of backup who hasn't thrown a pass in four years to perfection. Feeley completed one pass in five attempts for 21 yards. He was awkward as hell – the quarterback equivalent of Chris Farley hosting the Chris Farley Show
Sunday's quarterback developments make the club's decision to cut 3rd string quarterback Thatddeus Lewis
after the presesaon all the more little more baffling. Lewis excelled in the preseason (against 2nd and 3rd string defenses no less) and seemed to have more upside than the veteran Feeley. The Rams hoped to sneak Lewis through waivers but his former offensive coordinator and new head coach of the Browns, Pat Shurmur, snatched him up.
For the record, Bradford says his injury isn't "crazy painful"
and that there isn't a chance he won't play
next Monday night in New York. Unfortunately, he's no doctor.
4. Consistency is king
In the NFL, it's hard enough to produce good plays. It's another thing to produce good plays consistently. A look at the numbers after the fact would make a non-viewer think the Rams played a competitive game and competed step for step with Philadelphia until the end. But the Rams weren't consistent in any category in Week 1, other than inconsistency. Th
St. Louis rushed for 154 yards and their quarterback Bradford didn't throw an interception. On the other side, Vick completed just 44% of his passes for 187 yards and the Eagles were justd 2-of-4 in the red zone. If you were guaranteed these numbers before kickoff you'd think at the very least that the Rams took the contest down to the wire. But the Rams were just 2 of 12 on 3rd down.
5.The Rams aren't this bad
I know the Rams aren't this bad. The tackling by the defense Sunday was horrendous. The offense missed Steven Jackson after two plays. Even with a strong performance from backup RB Cadillac Williams, things aren't and weren't the same when Jackson is at full speed. The offense scored 6 points after the Rams lost their all-time leader in rushing yards.
There was also dropped passes by guys who are counted on to make plays. Brandon Gibson had a case of the dropsies and rookie tight end Lance Kendricks dropped what would have turned into a touchdown. The Rams are still a young team and have to work through adversity. The odds that it can get any worse from here are slim. That's dependent on Sam Bradford's MRI, of course.