Who would have ever expected the St. Louis Rams defense to hold the Seattle Seahawks offense to 135 yards on 40 plays? Quarterback Russell Wilson was pushed off his spot all game long thanks in large part to defensive ends Robert Quinn and Chris Long.
Quinn and Long partnered up for six quarterback sacks and eight quarterback hits against a depleted offensive line. When called upon, good players are paid large amounts of money to take advantage of favorable matchups. There’s no question both players answered the call all game long.
Unfortunately, pats on the back and moral victories don’t mean a thing in the NFL.
Just ask Kellen Clemens: He arguably played the best game of his eight-year career on Monday Night Football. He orchestrated offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s offense beautifully at times, he made some tough throws off play-action fakes and he was one yard away from securing a game-winning drive.
However, none of that matters because St. Louis lost and suffered defeat for the second time in as many weeks.
Outside of his spotty flashes of brilliance, Clemens looked and played like a backup quarterback. He threw two awful interceptions that killed scoring drives, and he looked wildly inaccurate more often than not. By no means should we take anything away from his valiant effort, but is he really the guy the Rams want under center for the rest of the season?
At 3-5, without a quarterback, this team is dead in the water. The only thing it is playing for right now is respect. Given the current state of the NFC West, there’s no chance the Rams make a playoff run. Shoot, they may not have even been considered playoff hopefuls with a healthy Sam Bradford.
After an average performance on a national stage, it’s time for head coach Jeff Fisher and Co. to reevaluate the quarterback position. Nine points on offense and average quarterback play from a 30-year-old veteran isn’t going to win St. Louis games.
Its schedule only gets tougher from here on out, and a best-case scenario for this team, at season’s end, is 5-11. That’s an absolute best-case scenario. In all likelihood, the Rams finish the season at 4-12. The one winnable game on their schedule is against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home.
And even that game is far from guaranteed. It’s time to turn this ballclub over to a youngster who knows the offense, Austin Davis. Davis is far from perfect, and he may offer the organization the same things Clemens does, yet he has the opportunity to develop.
Clemens has hit his ceiling as a professional player. It doesn’t matter if he has been in Schottenheimer’s offense his whole career. His skill set is no longer developable; it’s that simple. At least with Austin, there’s hope.
Sure, the second-year player out of Southern Mississippi is a bit undersized and has a noodle arm, but he stands a chance to get better with in-game experience. He has never played a down in a regular-season game, so it’s hard for the Rams to know what they have until they throw him into the fire.
Should the St. Louis Rams bench Kellen Clemens in favor of the younger Austin Davis?
They don’t have anything to lose at this point. In seven preseason games since 2012, Davis has shown that he can extend plays with his mobility, make throws on the run, make good decisions and protect the football.
In a game where St. Louis turned the ball over twice through the air, Davis’ inability to turn the ball over would have come in handy. Additionally, the Rams need someone who turns field goals into touchdowns when they get down in the red zone.
Schottenheimer’s offense was 0-4 in the red zone versus the No. 2 defense in the league.
Next week, St. Louis will host quarterback Jake Locker the Tennessee Titans.. The matchup may not be ideal for Davis, but it’s time he takes the field and shows the hometown crowd that he gives this team the best shot at winning games down the stretch.
Even if he loses (which he probably will), he has the power to keep fans interested by promoting a breath of fresh air. And we all know the Rams could use a breath of fresh air right now.