Rams vs. Dolphins: St. Louis' Miscues & Missed Opportunities Drop Them to 3-3

Tyson LanglandNFC West Lead WriterOctober 14, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 14:  Quintin Mikell #27 of the St. Louis Rams takes a moment of silence during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

By looking at the Rams' offensive and defensive production in today's game, you would have thought they won the game with ease. Yet, big statistical days don't always translate into victories. Missed opportunities on third down and in the red zone doomed Brian Schottenheimer's offense from the beginning.

Quarterback Sam Bradford piled up 315 yards through the air and St. Louis' backfield added 162 more yards. But, one red zone score on three attempts has to make head coach Jeff Fisher sick. Not to mention they were only 3-of-13 on third down.

The Rams third-down offense on the road this season has been abysmal to say the least. On the road they have only converted 26 percent of their attempts, and at home they have converted 41 percent of their tries. A 15 percent higher rate is substantial, especially when you're trying to sustain scoring drives.

Even though pass-protection was a concern coming in, protection upfront seemed to be okay for the most part. Right tackle Barry Richardson lost a few one on one matchups against Cameron Wake and Bradford held on to the ball too long a couple of times, yet they had plenty of chances to take control of the game based on offensive play alone. 

Penalties proved to be the No. 1 reason as to why St. Louis could never gain control. Coach Fisher's club was penalized a season-high 12 times. Those dozen penalties racked up 94 yards, almost the entire length of the football field.

Any team that turns 60 percent of its roster over in one off-season, has little room for error. So, being disciplined and cutting out penalties should have been the first order of business.

After today's game the Rams are averaging 7.1 penalties per game. Depending on how the rest of the games turn out, that would make them the ninth most penalized team in the league.

Defensively, St. Louis did everything possible to keep this game within arms reach. Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins' offense looked underwhelming and flat for most of the game. They only managed an anemic 192 yards of total offense and a season low 12 first downs. 

Coming into today's game, Miami's run game was one of the best in the league averaging 135.6 yards per contest. And the Rams' run defense was in the bottom half of the league as they were allowing 117.2 yards per game—but today proved to be a complete 180 for both teams.

The Dolphins run game was held to 19 yards on 18 carries. Reggie Bush only managed 1.4 yards on 12 attempts. Safety Quintin Mikell spent most of his day at the line of scrimmage playing neutralizer. He, as that eighth man in the box, proved to be the difference.

Unfortunately, Greg Zuerlein's three missed field goals and the offensive mistakes I lamented earlier negated a strong defensive performance.

However, things are looking up after a disappointing defeat. St. Louis travels back to the Edward Jones Dome in Week 7 to take on the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay has struggled this season and the Rams are currently 3-0 at home.