Patriots vs. Rams: St. Louis' Defense Gets Torched in Back-to-Back Weeks

Tyson LanglandNFC West Lead WriterOctober 28, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28:   Craig Dahl #43 of the St. Louis Rams tackles  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots during the NFL International Series match between the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium on October 28, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

For the second time in as many weeks, Janoris Jenkins and the Rams' secondary looked hapless against one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Last week, Aaron Rodgers and his group of wideouts took St. Louis to the woodshed; this week, Tom Brady and company did the same.

Outside of the first half, New England didn't need much of a passing attack; yet when they did, Brady was dialed in. Just ask Rob Gronkowski, who caught eight passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. No Patriots receiver had more targets than he did—his 13 overshadowed Wes Welker's nine.

Josh McDaniel's offense cruised to a 28-7 halftime lead and never looked back. Which begs the question, what in the world happened to the Rams' secondary? They started the season strong by picking off eight passes in the first four weeks.

Unfortunately, their last four games have seen them collect zero interceptions. Not to mention, the last time St. Louis' defense forced any kind of turnover whatsoever was at the end of the game in Week 5. It's tough to win games in the NFL when you team don't win the turnover battle.

After today's game, Jeff Fisher's club has two more giveaways than they do takeaways. Offensively, they've thrown eight interceptions and fumbled twice. Defensively, they've intercepted eight passes and recovered one fumble.

Regardless of the turnover battle, it's not out of the question to expect your defense to show up and at least keep you in the game. Outside of Jenkins having another rough game, Craig Dahl and Quintin Mikell should shoulder most of the blame.

There sole job today was to provide help over the top on Gronkowski, yet neither player could get the job done and failed miserably. When St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Berni Miklasz sent out a tweet stating the Rams needed two new safeties, it got me thinking: Is there a worse set of starting safeties in the league?

Honestly, I couldn't think of two safeties who have been worse this year. Both players are always late in coverage over the top and according to Pro Football Focus, opposing quarterbacks have a quarterback rating of 109.55 when throwing at Mikell and Dahl.

To answer Bernie's question, it is time to move on from both players. The Rams picked up Mikell two years too late and Dahl has never been better than average. However, St. Louis will have to make do unless Darian Stewart magically finds his way into the starting lineup.

A Week 9 bye is exactly what Coach Fisher's team needs right now at 3-5.


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