The Rams first team offense and defense played a miraculously great game against the Patriots first team in the first half. But it was not all good news as the Rams number 1 wide receiver Donnie Avery was carted off the field with what head coach Steve Spagnuolo classified as a “serious” knee injury. The Patriots began to pull away from the Rams as the Patriots kept their starters in the game into the 4th quarter. The Patriots head coach indicated that he was keeping the starters in the game until “they got it right”. And against the Rams second team defense they did not have much problem finally getting it right in the 3rd quarter. The Rams drove down the field with under 3 minutes to go in the game behind Keith Null and Josh Brown hit a 37 yard field goal to win the game.
Sam Bradford had an underwhelming game against the Cleveland Browns in the rain and swirling wind, but came out tonight against the Patriots defense and went to work. He completed his first six passes and threw two touchdowns to Michael Hoomanawanui. He ended the half and his game 15 of 22 for 189 yards and 2 TDs and 0 INTs. After that performance against the solid Patriots defense, the Rams have to be beaming that they finally found their quarterback. With Feeley still shaken up a bit and Bradford with a “step forward” performance against the Patriots first team, one wonders if Bradford will relinquish the starting quarterback job again.
But, of course because it is still the St. Louis Rams, all good news comes with a solid dose of bad news.
Donnie Avery, other receivers and more notes after the jump.
Donnie Avery is the Rams only wide receiver with a proven track record and with Avery, that track record is really only a record of getting hurt. And now he could possibly be lost for the season before the regular season even begins. Avery worked this offseason on his bulk, trying to make himself more resistant to injuries and the day to day bumps and bruises. But, you cannot bulk up your knees and unfortunately Avery’s knee gave out as he came back on a pass from Sam Bradford near the end of the first half. The Pats have Field Turf and it is a brand new installation, which is the most dangerous field for the knees. Avery is a great kid, but year after year he is simply dogged by these injuries. We are wishing Avery the best of luck coming back from this injury.
With Avery out, the Rams went to Laurent Robinson and Brandon Gibson in a wide open game and they responded. Gibson finally looked healthy and showed the flashes of skill that led all Rams fans to be so excited during his debut in 2009. Robinson also had a better game than he did against the Browns. Hopefully he can stay healthy as well. Another injured wide receiver in the person of Mardy Gilyard returned to form for the Rams. He had 3 catches for 23 yards. With Avery out, Gilyard will be even more important. And Danny Amendola was his typical solid self with 5 catches and a handful of good returns. His play has become as steady and consistent in the preseason as the Rams could have asked for.
Other players making a positive impact tonight included Thaddeus Lewis who got his turn to run the second team offense and Keith Toston who ran hard in the 4th quarter to get the Rams into position to win the game. Toston is not a running back with a lot of shake, but he runs hard and keeps his legs moving which allows him to break tackles. He’s a great pick up for the Rams and should make his way up an uninspiring back up running back committee hierarchy.