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The St. Louis Rams are no longer a joke.
After four weeks, the Rams have a 2-2 record. What's more... if not for a untimely fumble by a defensive tackle and a few penalties in Oakland, the Rams could be 4-0.
Say what you will about the competition. Say what you will about it being early. Bring all your caveats, qualifiers and doubts.
The bottom line is, the Rams are playing good football.
On offense, the big story is, of course, Sam Bradford. He has been everything the Rams could have hoped for, and more. While he has made some "rookie mistakes," overall he does not look like a rookie. He's calm, poised, and able to shake off mistakes and keep fighting.
His targets have exceeded expectations. The Rams made a great move in securing Mark Clayton, and Danny Amendola continues to produce. Add an emerging second year player in Brandon Gibson and rookie Mardy Gilyard, and the Rams have a more effective WR corps than anyone expected.
The most amazing part is that Steven Jackson, due to bumps and bruises, has been a mere supporting player thus far. Does anyone want to bet against him breaking out and racking up the yards when he gets right?
On defense, the Rams are starting to absorb the Steve Spagnuolo philosophy. They're becoming more stout against the run. They're harassing opposing quarterbacks. They're forcing turnovers.
The result? The Rams have given up only 52 points in four games (13 ppg.). That's only two more points than the Steelers have allowed.
Will the Rams have a winning record this year? I'm not ready to say that.
But, listen up, NFL.
Listen up, opposing fans who think the Rams represent an automatic "W" on the schedule.
The Rams are no longer an easy mark.
This Rams team is going to fight and smack you in the mouth.
And if you don't bring your "A" game, you may find yourself having to explain how you just lost to the Rams.