Cardinals vs. Rams: Final Grades and Player Analysis for St. Louis
The St. Louis Rams have held serve at home thus far this season. No one has entered their house and left with a victory.
The offense never looked great, but they kept plugging away and had a couple quick strikes. The defense took care of the rest. Poor Kevin Kolb wasn't given more than the blink of an eye to deliver the ball. If he waited any longer, he repeatedly had to pick himself off of the ground.
Jeff Fisher wanted to turn things around in St. Louis. He's well on his way.
Sam Bradford: C
Sam Bradford did his job. Everything wasn't always pretty, but he delivered when needed.
He started out hot, completing 3-of-4 passes on his first drive and tossing a touchdown pass to boot.
He then tailed off quite a bit. He looked erratic and fell out of rhythm, only completing three more passes on the night.
After enduring physical punishment and having a solid scramble negated by a penalty, he recovered to throw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Chris Givens.
Overall, he finished 7-of-21 for 141 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. However, he did what was needed and gets a C for making the necessary plays.
Running Backs: C+
Steven Jackson: C+
Jackson carried the ball 18 times for a total of 76 yards. He failed to find the end zone, but punished the Cards defense throughout the game. His presence shouldn't be evaluated solely on yards. His rushing gave the St. Louis Rams defense the time to rest they needed.
Darryl Richardson: C-
The promising backup hauled the rock nine times for 35 yards. He wasn't spectacular, but filled in admirably.
Wide Receivers: C-
Chris Givens: B
Anytime you score a touchdown, you can't do worse than a B. Givens wasn't much of a factor besides that score, catching the one ball for 51 yards.
Danny Amendola: C+
There seemed to be a few drops to go along with his one catch for 44 yards. You have to feel for Amendola though, he was quite frustrated by his injury.
Brandon Gibson: C+
No receiver was able to come out unscathed when it came to drops. However, Gibson showed serious athleticism going up to grab Sam Bradford's first pass.
Tight Ends: B
Lance Kendricks: B
As was mentioned earlier, catch a touchdown pass, you get a B. That was Kendricks' only impact on the game since it was his only reception.
Offensive Line: C
The offensive line only gave up one sack. Sam Bradford never had a ton of time, but he was given enough to make the key plays.
However, they didn't exactly open up large holes for the running game. St. Louis averaged a mediocre 3.5 yards per carry.
Defense Line: A
The defensive line did not mess around against the Cardinals. The big uglies racked up a ridiculous nine sacks and dominated the game from beginning to end.
Robert Quinn: A+
This had to be what the Rams envisioned when they drafted Quinn in the first round in the 2011 NFL draft. He was everywhere Kevin Kolb went, taking down the Cardinals quarterback three times.
Chris Long: B+
The bookend to Quinn played quite well too. He pressured Kolb and was able to grab a sack of his own while adding another quarterback hit.
James Laurinaitis: A
The Rams middle linebacker did everything that was asked of him, and then some. He led the team with 10 tackles, had one sack and another tackle for a loss. Well played.
Jo-Lonn Dunbar: A-
He might not have the pedigree of a WWE wrestler, but Dunbar did his part to steal the show. He accumulated eight tackles, including one sack and two more tackles for a loss. Just for good measure, he threw in two passes defensed as well.
Defensive Backs: B+
Cortland Finnegan: A-
It's amazing that Finnegan had 10 tackles considering how many he left on the table. He needs to wrap up more, but his numbers were good enough to overcome that flaw. He also added a sack and a pass defensed.
Janoris Jenkins: B
Jenkins didn't have quite the numbers of Finnegan, but he chipped in with four tackles and three passes defensed. His coverage skills will improve with time. Jenkins was burned a few times and was bailed out by poor throws.
Special Teams: Grade B
The Rams didn't give up any large returns, which is always a plus when facing a threat like Patrick Peterson. Otherwise, there wasn't much to report.
Greg Zuerlein: A
He wasn't called on to do much today, but he did nail a 53-yard field goal with ease. This kid is scary good.
Coaching: Grade A-
Jeff Fisher had a game plan, and his team executed it well. He loosened the reins on Sam Bradford early. His quarterback rewarded that trust with a stellar first drive and a lead they would never relinquish.
The offense then turned to the running game in the second half. It was tough sledding in the beginning, but Steven Jackson eventually started pounding away on the stout Cards defense.
There can be no mistaking Fisher's influence on the Rams defense. They played nasty and harassed Kevin Kolb all day.
St. Louis is a team on the cusp of bigger things, and the city has Fisher to thank.
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