The Rams lost their second game in a row in a close 31-28 game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field last Sunday. The Rams will be looking to improve ahead of the International Series to get their season back on track. Tom Green reports…
1. Rams defensive ill-discipline cost them dearly
The Los Angeles Rams went into the 4th quarter strongly by scoring a touchdown when Case Keenum found Kenny Britt on the end of a 9 yard pass. They then started the next series of downs strongly and the Lions were 3rd and 10 after putting pressure on Matthew Stafford. Unfortunately for the Rams, Dominique Easely was caught offside giving the Lions an easier position to work from. The Lions then moved the ball up field and were then stopped once more on 3rd and 12. Stafford then threw a ball out wide to Julius Jones who was knocked down by Maurice Alexander whilst in the air.
This lead to a first down which set the Lions up in the Rams half. They eventually scored levelling the score a touchdown to level the score which switched the momentum from the Rams to the Lions. The Rams then lost the lead with a minute to go because of a successful field goal.
2. Coach Fisher made a couple of questionable calls
Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher ran an aggressive offense throughout the game. This proved to be effective for most of the game but this aggressive approach led him to value yards over points which cost the Rams dearly. On the final drive of the first half the Rams progressed the ball up to the Lions 1 yard line. There was 4 seconds remaining in the half and it was fourth down. On the previous play Case Keenum threw a six yard pass to Kenny Britt which was deemed to be inches outside the endzone.
On the previous drive, the Rams were able to rush it into the endzone from the exact same spot on the field when Keenum ran to the outside. On this play the Lions had stacked the box leaving room around the outside of it. He decided instead of moving the ball out wide to rush Todd Gurley through the middle of the line. This did not work and in the end the Lions won by 3 points. I agree with the decision to go for it on 4th down. However, I do question the rationale to rush Gurley down the middle of the field instead of tossing it to the outside.
3. Keenum had a good performance but failed to win the game
Rams starting quarterback Case Keenum had one of the best games of his career as he threw 3 passing touchdowns as well as a rushing one. This was also only the second time he has thrown for over 300 yards in the NFL (the 1st time happened was in a 27-24 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts back in 2013 when he was playing for the Houston Texans). Unfortunately for Keenum, when he needed to make a big play on the Rams final offensive drive of the game he threw the ball into double coverage and it was picked off by the Lions defense.
His professional career has been plagued by mistakes like this pass which is why this is only his 2nd 300 yard plus game in 5 years (in the regular season). It is fair to say that his transition from the NCAA to the NFL was not the smoothest to put it lightly. Keenum was one of the best quarterbacks in college football and is one of only two people in NCAA history to win two Sammy Baugh trophies (an award given to college footballs top passer) in 2009 and 2011. In his senior year he lead the Houston Cougars to a 12 and 1 season and won the Ticket City Bowl against Southern Mississippi and threw for 300+ yards in every game.
I do hope that Fisher sticks with him because Keenum does have some serious talent. However he needs to start winning games with his arm if he is going to be able to stay ahead of Jared Goff on the depth chart.
Game ball to…
Case Keenum (Los Angeles Rams) because for the majority of the game he dictated things and only made 5 incompletions out of 32 passes (granted one of them was an interception).