St. Louis Rams Dominate New Orleans Saints for First Season Win
With a final score of 31-21 Rams, anyone who just tuned in for the season would never have been able to guess that this was the first win of the season for worst-in-the-NFL Rams.
In the beauty of this shocking moment, let's take a closer look at the epic first half of what would be quite a memorable game.
Steven Jackson is undoubtedly my MVP of the game. Prior to the stunning win, Jackson gave an awe-inspiring speech inside the locker room, some motivation that he and his teammates have been short of during the disappointing weeks leading up to today.
A dream that he had the night before. Using this, he roused his fellow Rams into action, insisting that they were not the lousy team that was being seen on living room monitors around the nation.
The team's first win of the 2011 season, two individual touchdowns for Jackson and his first 100-yard game in three seasons.
And who says this game isn't mostly mental?
With QB Sam Bradford out for the second week in a row after his high-ankle injury during Week 6, seasoned QB A.J. Feeley was the one who led this team to its much-needed win. Perhaps experience was what was the key ingredient to bring the team together, despite his QB rating of only 68.3.
No matter what his rating, he had enough of what was needed to clinch the surprising win against New Orleans despite three sacks in the first half.
I don't care who led the team to victory; I'm just glad for their sake that they got it.
Scoreless First Quarter
Not many people would even believe that this win took place. In addition to that, did you take note there wasn't one single score in the entire first quarter?
I did an article last week on some of the best all-time NFL comeback games. I was able to watch hours of phenomenal footage, exciting, thrilling, amazing. And then, I got to watch the Rams-New Orleans game.
If I didn't before, now, after this, I believe in magic. I believe that in football, anything is possible. If you have to believe in order for it to happen, then I'm set, cause I really do believe. I think this factor is one of the most intriguing parts of the game and what keeps our eyed addictedly fixated on the glowing screen in front of us even when we think all is lost.
100 Percent Fourth Down Efficiency
Second quarter we saw a little (a lot) more action. And when it counted, the Rams executed perfectly.
When it comes down to football, the way the 4th down is played out can be game-changing. Do you attack aggressively, or do play conservatively? Risk it, or kick off? A lot of that of course depends on the play clock and the amount of points needed to catch up or stay just out of reach.
The Rams had 100 percent fourth down efficiency in the first half against St. Louis. To take it even further, this extended into the last half as well. According to Advanced NFL Stats, studies have shown that the way that 4th down is executed has a huge affect on the game result and the success of the team as a whole.
In this result? The Rams took it all the way, just as foreshadowed.
Failed Field Goal
Right when you think that New Orleans is going to put some points on the board, 41-year-old kicker John Kasey comes out and botches the job. In his defense, it was a 49-yard field goal.
Hey, Mason Crosby could have done it...
Maybe New Orleans should have rethought how they played that fourth and five...
Six Sacks in First Half
We saw a whole lot of leveled quarterbacks during the first half. If one thing was apparent at least, it was that the pocket was not protected very well. It did provide some action for us to watch in the first quarter, though...
At least they kept things even; it went 3-for-3 to both Brees and Feeley.
By the end of the game, St. Louis had a total of six sacks against New Orleans. I'm pretty proud of these guys...
Credit goes to LB James Laurinaitis, DT Fred Robbins and DE Robert Quinn for one sack each. The defensive MVP credit for the game, though, goes to DE Chris Long for a total of three sacks on Brees. Sometimes I wish I could hand out awards and not just sports article props...
Josh Brown got more action in this game than he is used to for this season. And despite the pressure, he executed perfectly.
Putting the first points on the board and showing John Casey how it's done, he started the board out at 3-0 for St. Louis in the second quarter.
By the end of the first half, five of the points on the board were by Brown alone. Not bad for a kicker on what could be considered the worst team in the NFL.
With 1:41 left in the half, New Orleans punter T. Morstead had his punt blocked by DE Robert Quinn. I think he still had his adrenaline pumping a little but from his recent sack to Brees, wouldn't you say?
The ball went out of bounds at the New Orleans 15.
A mere 26 seconds of possession (and one recovered fumble) later, the pumped-up St. Louis Rams ran it in (Steven Jackson) three yards for a touchdown.
And the crowd goes wild...
After the scoreless first half and the culminating action of the second, the St. Louis Rams seemed as though they believed they could do anything. We saw a fire in their eyes that had been lacking for the first seven weeks of the NFL season.
Can you imagine how they looked then when DB Josh Gordy intercepted the ball? No gain on the play, but seriously, who cares? The win-less Rams just took possession away from New Orleans with a score of 10-0; this was getting good.
Rams WR Brandon Lloyd is another one who has earned and deserves credit for his contribution to the Rams surprising win over New Orleans.
With 20 seconds left in the half, Feeley passed short left to a ready-and-waiting Lloyd, running it in for an eight-yard touchdown, Lloyd set in stone the score that would be used to motivate and encourage them during the half time locker room rally.
Just on a side note, Lloyd's average is 14.9 yards-per-carry. Donald Driver, Super Bowl champion and WR for the Green Bay Packers? 8.2. Hm.
When analyzing how this memorable game got started, one must only look at the half time score to realize that we were seeing something pretty special played out in front of us.
I don't think I can even really say that it was just the first half that floored us all; the whole game did. The way this game debuted is something that the Rams will always use as a motivational factor for the iconic rising-from-the-ashes symbolism that they needed.
They did it once; now they know that they can do it again.