The St. Louis Rams are now 3-3 after losing 17-14 in Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins. But what went wrong for the Rams in this one? They seemed to dominate the first half, but the offense struggled to score touchdowns after finding themselves in Miami's territory.
Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein, who was perfect on the year going into the game, managed to connect on his first two attempts from 48 and 32 yards out. But prevailing winds and slight rain hindered his chances as attempts from 52 and 37 yards sailed wide left.
His biggest miss of the game, though the least surprising, brings questions to the decision in the final 30 seconds of play.
The Rams were driving after starting at their own 3-yard line. They made it to the Miami 45-yard line and had a 3rd-and-4, but Sam Bradford took a sack which took them back to the 48-yard line.
With roughly 30 seconds to go, facing a 4th-and-7, head coach Jeff Fisher let the clock run down to a few seconds and sent Zuerlein out for a long 66-yard field goal. This is already after he missed two in the game, and it was both windy and rainy at the time.
He misses the kick. The Rams lose. But according to NFL.com, St. Louis head coach sticks with his decision.
"The odds were much better for him to make the kick than us going for it," Fisher said. "He's got that kind of leg."
There is no doubting Zuerlein's abilities, but that wasn't the right play given the situation.
Bradford's sack that lost three yards hurt the Rams enough, but letting the clock run down hurt even more. Needing seven yards for a first down, St. Louis has to have a play in the playbook that will allow them to get that yardage, and then use the final timeout to set up for a closer field goal. Even a fourth down Hail Mary would have given the Rams a better shot for a potential win.
The fact of the matter is that this is the NFL. You have to at least give your team a chance to win. Questionable coaching, lack of offense, and less than perfect weather conditions undoubtedly hurt the Rams in this one.
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