Cardinals vs. Rams: 6 Things We Learned in Rams 23-20 Loss
The Rams ownership no longer has a tough decision to make.
After another agonizing 23-20 defeat Sunday to the Cardinals, the Rams ownership group must evaluate whether the current coaching staff and its front office should stay intact for 2012. The decision no longer seems difficult.
For this writer (who has been in the minority up to now), the answer is, massive change is needed.
Sunday was just the latest frustration for Rams fans. Here are six things we learned in the loss to Arizona.
Nick Miller Was a Good Addition
St. Louis was forced to drop Nick Miller from its roster in October in order to bring on another quarterback with Sam Bradford's injury. Miller was then waived by the Raiders five days before the game.
On Sunday, Miller proved to be worth a second look.
Miller returned a first-quarter punt 84 yards to give the Rams an early lead. He also provided a spark for an offensively challenged team that needs all the help it can get.
Chris Long Is a Top 5 Defensive Player
Chris Long is quickly becoming one of the best defensive players in football.
Long had a another sack on Sunday. It's his ninth of the year. He also had two quarterback hits and collapsed the pocket numerous times throughout the game.
Lost in this mediocre season is the fact that Long has greatly improved and will be a mainstay for the Rams for years to come.
There's Something Schematically Wrong on Defense
There's something schematically wrong on defense.
This writer has probably avoided this topic for too long, but Sunday confirmed it. The Rams don't have great players on defense, but there's something wrong on the coaching end defensively.
It's so difficult to run the ball in the NFL. It's tough to rush for 100 yards except against the Rams.
The Rams surrendered 228 yards on Sunday to Arizona running back Chris "Beanie" Wells. 228 yards against a solid, but not superstar, NFL running back.
The Rams are the worst rush defense in football, and it's time to evaluate the coaching end of it.
Sam Bradford Has Regressed
Sam Bradford is regressing as an NFL quarterback.
Remember, Sam Bradford is the reigning 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year. It seems like he's so far from that level now.
Bradford threw for 203 yards and a touchdown. He fumbled once on a crushing hit in the first half.
Don't blame Bradford for this development. It's the result of being bruised and battered all year. Marc Bulger's career was never the same after the beatings he took from 2005-2008.
Let's hope Bradford does not have a similar career arc as Bulger.
There's a piece of every Rams fan that wonders why the Rams would punt to Patrick Peterson again.
On November 6, Peterson won the game in overtime with a 99-yard punt return.
He killed the Rams again on Sunday with an 80-yard punt return in the third quarter.
The Rams should not have kicked to Peterson. They should have learned their lesson from three weeks ago and directional kicked the ball away from Peterson.
Giving up field position and limiting Peterson's playmaking ability is better than watching Peterson kill the Rams twice this season.
Steve Spagnuolo Is Done
This is the last year for Steve Spagnulo with the Rams.
Another loss against a mediocre NFC West opponent has exhausted the patience of every Rams fan, including this writer.
It's time to start over again in St. Louis. The pieces are in place to improve quickly for whomever inherits the job.