Tennessee Titans vs. Rams: Full Roster Report Card Grades for St. Louis
Cortland Finnegan caught his first interception of the season, Jared Cook scored his first touchdown since Week 1 and William Hayes recorded his third sack on the year.
A missed field goal and a couple of terribly ill-timed turnovers forced St. Louis to a 3-6 record, though.
Kellen Clemens started his day efficiently: He completed his first seven passes against the Tennessee Titans, but only 13 of his next 28 found the right hands.
Clemens finished with 210 yards and a touchdown but also lost a key fumble with less than five minutes to go in a tie ballgame. The Titans scored a touchdown on the very next play. Clemens missed all three of his throws on the ensuing Rams drive and was unable to connect with Austin Pettis on third or fourth down during the Rams’ final bid for a game-tying score.
He played well enough overall for the Rams to have a chance. Unfortunately, his mistakes came at a time when St. Louis most needed him to be flawless.
It’s too early to say that Zac Stacy is the St. Louis Rams’ next great running back, but I’d be lying if I said he hasn’t been playing like it over the last two weeks. Six days after running for 134 yards in prime time, Stacy tallied 127 on a career-high 27 carries in Week 9.
He also set career bests in receptions (six), receiving yards (51) and touchdowns—his first two rushing scores in the league—against the Tennessee Titans. For the fourth consecutive week, Stacy recorded at least one run of 18 yards or more.
Benny Cunningham added three carries for 11 yards and a lost fumble in Daryl Richardson’s absence. Without that fumble, the Rams running backs would certainly deserve an “A.”
Chris Givens reclaimed his spot as the St. Louis Rams’ leading receiver for a week, hauling in four passes for a team-high 55 yards. His 25-yard fourth-quarter catch was St. Louis’ longest offensive gain of the afternoon.
This time, Tavon Austin was the only receiver not to catch a ball. Stedman Bailey recorded his first career reception, which went for 12 yards, in the second quarter.
On 17 targets, the position group combined for eight catches for 110 yards and Austin’s six rushing yards on one carry.
The St. Louis Rams tight ends helped pave the way for Zac Stacy to do his damage in Week 9.
Marv Albert gave Lance Kendricks a shout-out for his blocking on the TV broadcast. The third-year tight end also caught three of his four targets, but they went for just 13 yards. Former Tennessee Titan Jared Cook scored his first touchdown since he assaulted the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, finishing with three catches for 36 yards and the score on six targets.
Apparently, Jeff Fisher has finally fixed the offensive line in St. Louis. The Rams were again able to protect their quarterback, Kellen Clemens, who was sacked twice for seven yards by the Tennessee Titans.
With Zac Stacy doing a lot of heavy lifting, they were also able to post an even five yards per rushing attempt—and two touchdowns—on 32 team carries. St. Louis put 21 points on the board, but it could have done even better if it weren’t for those pesky fumbles.
Robert Quinn didn’t add another sack to his All-Pro campaign, but Kendall Langford (two) and former Tennessee Titan William Hayes (one) contributed three for the St. Louis Rams defensive line in his stead. Langford led the team with four tackles for loss.
Chris Long had one solo tackle and a QB hit. The pass rush was effective, but it was in a terrible position to stop the Titans’ Jake Locker from running right up the middle to help put Tennessee up 21-14 with nine minutes, 42 seconds left in the game. As wide as the Rams front was, it was powerless to stop Locker’s five-yard dash.
Jake Locker wasn’t the only guy to have success on the ground against the St. Louis Rams; all four of the Tennessee Titans’ touchdowns were of the rushing variety. Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene also scored touchdowns—Johnson had a pair—to continue the trend of running backs having big games against St. Louis.
The Rams were able to corral Johnson in the backfield a handful of times, but Johnson also frequently found his way outside to punish St. Louis with his speed. He had 170 total yards on 26 touches.
Tennessee averaged an embarrassing 5.7 yards per carry—including 5.9 by its running backs and 6.5 by Johnson himself—on 35 total rushing attempts.
James Laurinaitis recorded his second sack of the season as part of his nine-solo-tackle effort. Alec Ogletree added six solos and a pass deflection.
The St. Louis Rams halted Kendall Wright’s six-game streak of five-catch performances. Wright was targeted five times and caught three for 69 yards.
St. Louis didn’t surrender any passing touchdowns, and Wright was the only guy to top 30 yards receiving for the Tennessee Titans, but the defensive backs must also shoulder some of the blame for Chris Johnson’s vintage rushing day.
His second touchdown, for example, would not have happened—at least, not on that carry—had Rodney McLeod taken a different angle to push him out of bounds. Why would Tennessee opt to chuck the ball if it were able to run it so successfully?
McLeod did come up with a fourth-quarter interception to help the cause, though. The Rams were unable to even gain field position with it; they got the ball on their own 21 and gave it back on their own 19.
Greg Zuerlein missed his only field-goal attempt: a wide-right 44-yarder in the second quarter. Johnny Hekker avoided touchbacks, as usual. He averaged 48.4 yards per punt but only one got inside the 20.
The box score will tell you he was 61 yards from doing so, but Tavon Austin was inches away from potentially tying the game with less than a minute left on his 24-yard punt return. He was tightroping the sideline but stepped out of bounds.
Austin totaled 33 yards on his three punt returns and 25 more on his lone kickoff return.