The Rams came out slowly against the Arizona Cardinals and with a quick 3 and out, punt and penalty they punt the Cardinals into their own territory through mistakes. The Cardinals capitalize, but the Rams defense would then stiffen when they were provided a full field to stop the Cardinals offense. Without Kevin Kolb, backup QB John Skelton went to Andre Roberts more than Larry Fitzgerald as the Rams schemed to control Larry Fitzgerald with different coverages.
The Rams made a few mistakes in the first half, but not as many as they have in their previous losses. They allowed Adrian Wilson, who is Superman against the Rams to knife in untouched and stop a Rams 3rd and 1 in the Red Zone. Two other drives stalled in Cardinals territory and the Rams were forced to settle for 3 field goals on 3 attempts in the first half to take a 9-3 lead. However, on the bright side, the offense dominated the time of possession in the 1st half, which helped keep the Rams defense fresh for the 2nd half.
In the 2nd half, the Rams offense used that freshness to capitalize on Donnie Jones’s perfect punts. They got one sack in the end zone by James Hall and then on the next play from scrimmage by the Cardinals, CJ Ah You forced an intentional grounding in the end zone and the Rams received their second safety in a row. The Rams offense couldn’t get going in the 3rd quarter despite great field position after the safeties, but the Rams defense scored 4 points on their own.
But, the Rams and Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo’s over-reliance on the the defense with the offense’s conservative 2nd half came back to bite them again. Just like 2010′s season in which the Rams blew leads at Oakland, at San Francisco and at Tampa Bay, the Rams sat on a 7 point lead. And once again, it failed to work. Steve Spagnuolo trusts his defense despite what he has seen this whole season. The Rams probably would have blown more leads this season, but they were never good enough to take a lead from the first play of the season to the 7th game of the year.
The Rams offense goes into a shell with their performance and playcaling in the 2nd half again. I’m getting tired of writing this. They opposition knows the Rams are going to run the football and they pile up to stop the run and succeed. The Rams continued to run slow developing running plays out of the shotgun for the 3rd straight week. The runs worked early but soon enough the Cardinals were on the plays. Finally the Rams got away from the shotgun runs, but late in the 4th quarter, the Rams had 3rd and 1 from the Cardinals 34 yard line and ran the ball to the left on a stretch play to Steven Jackson and failed to get one yard on two plays. NFL teams that cannot get 1 yard on two plays deserve to the lose and the Rams lost in one of the most painful ways possible.
The Rams got the ball back with just over 2 minutes remaining and drove the ball down into the Cardinals territory with just a few seconds remaining. The Rams kicker, Josh Brown who was perfect 3 for 3 to that point had his game winning field goal blocked and we were headed for more excruciating, blood boiling, infuriating football. And it got worse.
The Rams got the ball first to start overtime and they proceeded to get the ball to their own 40 yard line through running plays by Steven Jackson. The Rams had a 1st and 10 on their own 40 yard line in overtime, yet failed to get a first down at that point and had to punt the ball away. The punt was great and would have landed inside the 5 yard line if Patrick Peterson had not roamed back to get the punt. But, Peterson did roam back and the Rams special teams were caught off guard and Peterson took the ball 95+ yards for the game winning TD.
With another come from ahead loss, and this time to another 1-6 team, the Rams showed their true colors again. They are bad in every phase of the game, especially coaching. If the Rams had any hope left in their season before this game, it is gone now along with the potential that Steve Spagnuolo will be back next year. Spagnuolo is a fired man coaching at this point and his players are doing nothing to prove that he deserves to stay.