The Rams offense had success in the first half as they were able to run the ball against the the Oakland Raiders standard seven man front. The Rams were then able to get their short passing game going as the Raiders kept their two safeties deep. Sam Bradford started the game 6-6. (Let’s leave out the fact that with all that “success” the Rams offense scored only 7 points in the first half. So, it is all subjective with the impotent Rams offense.)
In the second half, the Oakland Raiders made the easiest adjustment in the world, in fact it is a surprise that the Raiders waited that long to make the adjustment. The Raiders moved one of their safeties down near the line of scrimmage which had a dual effect.
First, it stopped the Rams best player, running back Steven Jackson as the Rams offensive line was no longer able to open up the holes for Steven Jackson to even get more than 2 yards per rush. The second effect is that it slows the Rams short passing game with more players within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. With no running game, the Rams could not even go to their sparsely used play action game that had some success in the first half.
Most NFL teams will line up with eight men around the line of scrimmage from the beginning of the game to stop Steven Jackson and the Rams short passing game. The Rams will not dare pass deep.
Whether it is because the Rams pedestrian wide receivers cannot get open downfield or because the Rams offensive line can not protect for long enough for the long pass plays to develop, or that Rams offensive coordinator Steve Shurmur is too afraid or unwilling to run deep passes.
Also, the order to not pass down the field may come from Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo or rookie QB Sam Bradford does not want to take the risk and prefers to check down.
There are many possible reasons for the Rams easy to stop offense, but whatever the reason, the Rams need a way to get through, around or over the basic “8 men in the box” defense because they will see it every single game going forward in 2010. If the Rams continue to be this easy to stop, they will not win a single game in 2010.