Rams stop Redskins 30-16 for first win of season

The Rams faced arguably their toughest opponent in week 3 in the Washington Redskins and the Rams came out with their best performance from offense, defense, special teams and coaching.  The Rams had their best second half of the season without their best player in running back Steven Jackson. 

In the first quarter the Rams got off to their now-traditional hot start.  In the second quarter, the Rams looked to fall apart like they usually do after their hot start.  The Rams took a lead into halftime for the second week in a row.  But, the second half was much different than last week after the Redskins got a quick field goal.  The Rams put their stamp on the game and began to actually dominate the Redskins.

Rams opened up the game with a great drive that featured Steven Jackson who torched the Redskins defense for a 42-yard touchdown run. The Rams then scored on a nifty rollout and 1 yard TD pass from Sam Bradford to Daniel Fells.  Bradford expertly ran to the line of scrimmage on a rollout bringing the defense to him then feathering a short pass to a wide open Daniel Fells.

Steven Jackson went down with a groin injury right before half time and went quickly to the locker room.  He did not come back into the game, but stayed in uniform and on the sidelines for the second half.  The Rams replaced him with Kenneth Darby and Keith Toston.  The Rams adjusted and began to use the pass to set up the run in the second half and the offensive line was able to open larger holes for the Rams running backs than they were in previous second halves in 2010.

The Rams coaching staff adjusted because they were without their star running back, but that is selling the Rams coaching staff short.  The Rams had the Redskins coaching staff on their heels as they had to go against their standard game plan.  The Redskins had no answer for the Rams offensive line as it began to put its stamp on the game after a terrible 2nd quarter.  RG John Greco was rotated into the game and the Rams were able to get push up front against the vaunted defensive line featuring Albert Haynesworth and former Ram Adam Carriker.

The perfect microcosm of the “new” Rams playcalling on offense was a Rams 3rd and 20 from around midfield with the time ticking down in the 4th quarter.  Instead of calling a run to use up the clock, Shurmur called a rollout and Sam Bradford threw a bullet to Mark Clayton, who was able to spin and get the first down and keep the clock running.

Let’s go to the quick hits.

There is a lot to like for the Rams in this game, but injuries to playmaker on offense (Steven Jackson) and playmaker on defense (OJ Atogwe) could hurt going forward.  The nature of their injuries will be big new this week. Hopefully neither are very serious, but Jackson’s injury and his reaction did not look good.

The Rams were not mistake free, piling up almost 100 yards in penalties, allowing a blocked chip shot FG, a fumble and an interception, but the good news is that the Rams do not have to play a perfect game to win a game in the NFL.  They were not perfect, but they did not need to be.

The Rams were able to be successful running the football without Steven Jackson because their offensive line was opening holes left and right for Kenneth Darby and Keith Toston.  The Rams also were able to scheme the running game to success by passing to set up the run.

Sam Bradford was huge as usual.  He is becoming a non-story as he continues to play great football.

It cannot be emphasized enough that the Rams coaches out-coached the high profile Redskins coaching staff lead by Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett.  Great job by the Rams coaches to craft a new game plan without Steven Jackson that kept the Rams offense humming like we have not seen in 2010.

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