Rams vs. Dolphins: Week 6 Game Grades and Player Analysis for St. Louis
A 66-yard field goal attempt could have tied the game and forced overtime, but was wide left.
The Rams are now 3-3, but still in contention in the NFC West.
Here are the final game grades and analysis of today's contest.
QB Sam Bradford
Fourth Quarter: B+
After not being able to find the endzone through the air, Bradford found it with his fingertips, as he reached out over the Dolphins defensive line to score the Rams first touchdown of the game. Bradford showcased his obligatory awesome pass of the quarter when he found Steven Jackson to convert the subsequent two-point conversion.
Bradford ended the quarter 11 of 13 for 99 yards.
Third Quarter: C+
Bradford's mediocrity continued in the third quarter. Bradford remained efficient in the passing game, completing four of seven passes for 51 yards. But he hasn't been able to string passes together to move down the field. The offense needs touchdowns, and they need them now.
Second Quarter: B-
Bradford's play was more or less the same in the second quarter. He completed six of nine passes for 72 yards. No interceptions, which is good. But no touchdowns either. Bradford had another beautiful pass, hitting Lance Kendricks over the middle for a nice gain. The pass somehow snuck over the defender's helmet and into Kendricks' hands.
First Quarter: B-
Bradford took an unnecessary sack (no surprise) on the team's opening drive. He just needed to get rid of the ball, and instead Bradford stayed in the pocket and took the sack. You can't expect Barry Richardson to fend off Cameron Wake for more than three seconds.
Bradford redeemed himself on the team's second drive, completing consecutive passes to Austin Pettis and Chris Givens. The pass to Pettis came on a big third down deep in Rams territory. The pass to Givens was a thing of beauty, as Bradford continues to show off his ability to hit Givens deep downfield (third straight game with a 50-yard completion to Givens).
Bradford was initially efficient in the quarter, completing five of ten passes for 93 yards, but Bradford threw two poor balls to Givens and Richardson to end the opening period.
Fourth Quarter: B+
Everything that is good about the Rams offense today has seemingly involved Richardson. Again, the most explosive player on the Rams offense, Richardson took a screen pass from Bradford, found the sideline and ran down it for 26 yards. The Rams offense finally found the endzone as Bradford stuck his arms over the goalline on his own version of a QB sneak.
Third Quarter: D
The Barry Richardson Experiment reached DEFCON 1 status against Wake, as he let Wake blow right by him on a third-down pass. Richardson pushed Wake into Bradford, and while the sack and resulting fumble was overturned on replay, the pressure killed the Rams opening drive of the quarter. Things got a little better on the quarter's subsequent drives, but the Rams have yet to score since the first quarter, and have not even sniffed the endzone today.
Second Quarter: C
The Rams continued to move the ball on the ground with some nice carries by Steven Jackson (four carries for 25 yards) and two big scrambles by Bradford netting 27 yards. The theme of the half was ball movement, with stall after stall in opponent's territory. The Rams had over 300 yards of offense in the half, but only two field goals on the scoreboard.
First Quarter: B
The Rams started quick in the running game, running it right at the Dolphins top-ranked run defense. On the initial offensive drive, the Rams began with three consecutive runs, gaining 54 yards (44 coming on a fantastic toss right to Daryl Richardson).
Things were even more exciting on the Rams second drive, with Bradford hitting Chris Givens deep for a 65-yard gain. Givens simply outran the double coverage Miami threw at him. That gain came on the heels of an impressive third-down conversion, when the Rams lined up five-wide and Bradford hit Austin Pettis over the middle.
Only a blind fan cannot see the burst of speed Richardson brings the Rams offense (four carries for 64 yards). If the Rams can finish drives in the redzone, they can become an elite NFL offense.
Fourth Quarter: A-
The Rams defense did its job, stopping the Dolphins after the Rams scored their first touchdown. But the defense could not stop the Dolphins' fake punt and rush on fourth down. The defense stopped the Dolphins again, but the fake punt conversion cost the team a couple minutes of precious game clock.
Third Quarter: C
OK, things are only getting worse for the Rams defense. The gains we saw in the first quarter are paying off in spades for the Dolphins offense. Miami marched right down the field, covering 62 yards on 11 plays, ending with a touchdown pass to the tight end Fasano. The Rams defense closed the quarter well, with a very loud sack of Tannehill. The Rams aren't losing this game because of the defense, but the Rams cannot afford to give up any more points to the Dolphins.
Second Quarter: C
The Rams used delayed pressure to rattle Tannehill a bit, earning a sack on one play and forcing a quick pass to Anthony Fasano on another. The pass to Fasano should have been much less than the 13 yards it ended up being, but Jenkins missed another tackle in open space. The Dolphins kept moving the ball downfield, ultimately scoring on a 29-yard pass to Moore. The announcers on Fox on the replay showed Jenkins literally staring into the Dolphins backfield as Moore ran by him for an easy six points.
First Quarter: A
The Rams defense did what they have done all season long. They give up small gains, allow the opposition to move the ball downfield, and then make a play when necessary. On the Dolphins' opening drive, they had a short pass there, a good run there, but Chris Long got a big sack on a 2nd-and-1, ultimately forcing the Dolphins to punt. Quintin Mikell made a nice play knocking down a Ryan Tannehill pass at the line of scrimmage.
On the Dolphins second drive, the Rams defense gave the Dolphins nothing. Janoris Jenkins and Mikell played pinball with Marlon Moore on an unsuccessful third down pass.
Fourth Quarter: D
The penalty on the final Dolphins punt pinned the Rams offense inside their 10-yard line. The Rams offense was able to move the ball into Miami territory, but the lost yards cost the Rams precious field position. Zuerlein had a chance to tie the game with an insanely-long 66-yard field goal attempt. He had the distance, hitting the net behind the field goal posts, but it was wide left. I give him credit for being close, but Zuerlein's miss from 37 yards in the first half ultimately is the difference in the game.
Third Quarter: F
The Rams' special teams woes in the kicking game bled into the return coverage, as the Rams gave up a 44-yard return to open the second half. Not too much else to say about the rest of the quarter. Johnny Hekker had a nice chance to down a punt deep into Dolphins territory, but the ball landed right on the goalline for a touchback.
Second Quarter: F
Zuerlein showed that he is human, missing his first professional field goal. The 52-yard attempt looked to be a bit overhit, and when it started to hook left, the wind grabbed the ball and pulled it even further left. Zuerlein couldn't blame the weather on his second attempt, a pure pull left from 37 yards. The kickoff returns have been nothing to boast about.
First Quarter: B+
What else is new? The Rams offense stalls. Greg Zuerlein saves the day. Zuerlein did the expected, nailing a 48 yard field goal less than three minutes into the game. "The Leg" converted a 32-yard field goal later in the quarter, which broke the NFL record for consecutive successful field goals for a rookie. The only blemish for the special teams was Janoris Jenkins fumbling his first punt return. The Rams however did not lose possession after getting a lucky bounce out of bounds.
Fourth Quarter: C
Fisher and staff were caught off guard by the Miami fake punt late in the quarter. The Rams should have played for the fake, but instead were played by the Miami special teams unit. The team played very well in the last half of the quarter, and had the chance to tie the game in the end. Fisher's never-give-up mentality is well-owned by this team, but this team has yet to show it can play well enough to win on the road.
Third Quarter: D
Things started to get away from the Rams in the second half. The team didn't appear to make any adjustments after halftime, and the team is not displaying the fire it showed in the prior two games. This team has not found a way to play well on the road, and that's on Fisher. Things can turn around in the fourth quarter, but nothing I'm seeing now will lead me to that belief.
Second Quarter: B
The Rams have shown good balance throughout the game, mixing 16 rushes with 19 passes. The team has had a few mental mistakes, Jenkins and Zuerlein come to mind. Fisher has the pulse and soul of the team, as evidenced by giving up only 10 points in the first half.
First Quarter: A
The coach's game plan was aggressive to start the game. Running the ball directly at the NFL's best run defense. Attacking downfield with the speedy Givens. After two big home victories against divisional opponets, it was fair to expect a bit of a letdown on the road against an underrated Dolphins team. That did not happen. Big credit to Jeff Fisher and staff.