Rams vs Eagles: 5 Things We Learned From Both Teams After Eagles 31-13 Win
The Rams got off to a great start as Steven Jackson took the first offensive play to the house on a 47 yard touchdown run. The Eagles defense was able to make adjustments and help the Rams to just two field goals the rest of the way.
For a team with such his expectations as the Eagles do, this was certainly a good start. The Eagles beat a pretty solid team on the road. This is an Eagles team that will continue to get better as they have a lot of new starters and a lot of new coaches.
The Eagles Offensive Line Has Great Potential
We knew coming into to Sunday's contest that the Eagles offensive line would be a work in progress.
Jason Peters in the only returning starter at his same position from 2010.
Jason Kelce is a rookie at center and is playing next to two new additions in left guard Evan Mathis and right guard Kyle Van.
Todd Herremans was moved from left guard to right tackle.
New offensive line coach Howard Mudd is running a completely different blocking scheme than Eagles are used to from what Juan Castillo utilized. The Eagles line is a lot smaller and a lot more athletic than in seasons past.
The line was up and down early but seemed to settle down as the game went on. The Eagles did give up three sacks but only one to a defensive lineman, Chris Long. The line also was effective in the running game, allowing the Eagles to run for 237 yards including 122 by LeSean McCoy.
This is a group that is going to have it's share of ups and downs this seasons, but as they continue to gel as a unit they have a chance to be really special by December.
The Rams Need a Vertical Passing Game
The Rams fell just short of a NFC West title last season and a lack of a deep passing game was the one thing that stood out last season. It doesn't appear as that will change in 2011.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford threw for 188 yards on 30 passing attempts. That's just a little over six yards per attempt.
Bradford's longest pass was a 31 yarder to Brandon Gibson. Only two of his 17 completions went for at least 20 yards.
The Rams are capable of establishing the run against anybody but have failed to stretch the defense with a good vertical passing game.
Until they can develop a deep passing game, the Rams offense will only take them so far.
The Eagles Defensive Line Will Be Special
Jim Washburn may have been the best offseason move for the Eagles. His defensive line had a major impact on Sunday's game.
The Eagles linemen finished with five sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown by Juqua Parker.
The Eagles pass rush fizzled out last season, finishing with 39 total sacks. Trent Cole got off to a great start but was double teamed in the second half of last season.
The Eagles line is loaded with depth this season. If you double one player on the line, someone else will take advantage of it.
Seven different linemen made at least one tackle. Washburn rotated all of his linemen and all of them had an impact in Sunday's game.
This is a unit that will only get better learning to play in a new scheme, but it already looks like the Eagles have an elite pass rush.
The Rams Have a Really Good Ground Game
Even with the loss of Steven Jackson early in the first quarter, the Rams still ran the ball effectively.
Jackson took the first play for the Rams offense to the house on a 47 yard run and Cadillac Williams finished with 91 yards on 19 carries.
The Rams running backs finished with 169 rushing yards.
The ground game will be key for the Rams in 2011, especially if Sam Bradford's finger injury is worse than expected.
Even without star running back Jackson injured, the Rams still were able pound it out throughout the game.
It was a good effort on the ground against a very speedy defense, but in order for it to continue the Rams will need a healthy Steven Jackson.
The Eagles Run Defense Will Be an Issue
There were some serious concerns with the Eagles run defense and with good reason.
The Eagles gave up 169 rushing yards including a 47 yard touchdown run on the first play for the new look Eagles defense in 2011.
The front seven over pursued early and often on running plays and were consistently out of position.
The Rams took advantage of a bad run defense and were able to move the ball and open things up for an otherwise mediocre passing offense.
This is a pass happy league but a bad run defense will eventually catch up with you. The run defense did settle in a little bit in the second half, but they still have a long way to go this season.
Casey Matthews is the key to the run defense. He was overpowered in invisible early in the game. He finished the game with four tackles.
In order for the Eagles to contain the opposition's rushing attack Matthews has to make in impact.