Steven Jackson and Co. Lead St Louis Rams to 3-0 Preaseason Record
The Rams jumped out to an early 14-0 lead on two touchdown passes from Sam Bradford, one to WR Mike Sims-Walker and another to rookie-TE Lance Kendricks. The Chiefs would respond however, picking off Bradford deep in St Louis' territory, setting them up for a field goal. Later on in the third quarter, Chiefs' backup Ricky Stanzi tossed a 32-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 14-10.
The Chiefs would never score again despite being inside the St Louis' 10-yard line late in the fourth quarter when a field-goal attempt was blocked by the Rams' first-round selection DE Robert Quinn.
It was another impressive win, but what (or more importantly, who) stood out to us in the victory? Let's review:
-The Rams' first-round pick Robert Quinn. The rookie blocked a kick, forced a fumble, and even recorded a sack on a play in which the lineman blocking him was called for holding. Quinn is using his speed, strength, and quickness in such a manner that he is becoming a very dangerous force early on. He likely won't be moved into the starting lineup anytime soon, but he is turning into quite an exciting player to watch.
-Running back Steven Jackson returned to form after struggling last week. The Pro-Bowl running back ran for 72 yards on 15 carries and looked, for the most part, unstoppable. There was never any concern that SJ was beginning to slow, but it was nice to see the running back turn in a big performance.
-QB Sam Bradford was very efficient in the first half, with his only mistake coming on an interception deep in his own territory. He is looking more and more comfortable in McDaniels' offense as the weeks go by, and with all of the receivers around him getting more comfortable as well, it appears Mr. Bradford is setting up for a big season.
-As I just mentioned, the receivers are looking a lot more comfortable in McDaniels' spread. As expected, McDaniels utilized plenty of different receivers, with 11 different pass-catchers having at least one reception.
-The defense looked great. Heading into the second half, the Chiefs had only managed three points and quarterback Matt Cassel was bottled up (6-for-13, 59 yards). Running back Jackie Battle was the only Kansas City back who made any sort of impact, but even Battle was limited to only 43 yards. The second-string defense struggled against backup quarterbacks Tyler Palko (7-for-12, 92 yards) and Ricky Stanzi (8-for-14, 121 yards, touchdown), but once again, the Chiefs only were able to manage 10 points.
-The linebacker play was well above-average, with Bryan Kehl sticking out with the most impressive performance. He only made one tackle, but he was always around the ball and was effective in pass coverage. I hope you like the linebacker position battle, because it isn't over yet.
-Lance Kendricks hauled in a touchdown catch, and continues to be the most effective pass-catcher so far in the preseason. It's safe to say he has the starting tight end job locked up, and by the end of the season he'll likely be either Bradford's favorite or second-favorite target.
-Donnie Jones continues to be a weapon as a punter, booting a 58-yarder at one point.
-Third-round pick Austin Pettis continues to look non-existent so far in preseason. It isn't like you really need to panic or write off Pettis as a bad pick or anything, but it would be nice to see the Boise State-product making more of an impact so far. At this point it appears that Mardy Gilyard has surpassed Pettis on the depth chart for slot-receivers.
-The defensive line was causing consistent pressure, but they couldn't quite finish the job and collect the sack. With how much pressure they were putting on Cassel, Stanzi, and Palko alike, you would've like to see more than two sacks. Of course, there are worse problems you could have, and it was great to see consistent penetration of the pocket.
-We still have no clue who the Rams will start at safety once the season opens. Darian Stewart and Craig Dahl both performed well at strong safety, with the slight edge likely going to Stewart. Dahl once again had struggles in pass coverage, but Stewart also showed some confusion at times. It appears the Rams will head into the final week of preseason without a clear-cut starter and we could be waiting up until a couple hours before the opener against the Philadelphia Eagles to know for sure.
-Bryan Kehl, a linebacker claimed off waivers by the Rams last season, actually has a shot at winning an outside-linebacker starting spot. He wasn't dominant by any means, but he performed better than Poppinga or Leber, and was consistently around the play. He doesn't have the most impressive of credentials, but under no circumstance should you count out Kehl as a potential starter.
-The St Louis Rams close out their preseason on Thursday, September 1st, at 7:30pm ET against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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