Rams vs. 49ers: 5 Things We Learned in Rams' 26-0 Loss
There were some interesting notes and tidbits to the contest that were obvious and maybe not so obvious to the casual fan.
Here are five things we learned about the Rams in their 26-0 loss to San Francisco.
The Rams Secondary Lacks Speed
The Rams secondary was especially poor Sunday against the Niners. The Rams lack speed, and it was a glaring weakness against one of the better teams in the NFC.
On two occasions, 49ers receivers were yards behind the Rams secondary. In the second quarter, tight end Vernon Davis dropped a probable touchdown pass. The Rams looked confused, and the fact that a tight end outran safeties points to a huge speed problem for the St. Louis defense.
In the third quarter, San Francisco cashed in with a 52-yard strike to receiver Michael Crabtree, who blew by both Rams cover men.
Speed kills, and the Rams were on the receiving end Sunday.
Sam Bradford Would Benefit from Sitting out the Rest of 2011
Sam Bradford has had a very difficult sophomore season in the NFL. After winning rookie of the year honors a year ago, Bradford has been plagued by injuries both to his key receivers and himself in 2011.
It would probably be better for Bradford to not play anymore this season. As strange as that sounds, it might allow him to start 2012 on a fresh note while keeping what limited confidence he still has.
If Bradford played the last four games of this year, he would be hit and battered more. That would not in his best interest or the organization for the long term.
The Rams Red Zone Defense Was Fantastic
San Francisco has a solid running attack. Despite zero production from their offense, the St. Louis Rams defense did their best Sunday by keeping San Francisco out of the end zone in the red zone.
Four times the defense stopped the Niners inside the red zone, holding them to David Akers' field goals.
It was one of the few positive notes Sunday for St. Louis.
A Vertical Receiving Threat Would Help Brandon Lloyd
Brandon Lloyd is not a big time vertical receiving threat. He is, however, a solid NFL receiver and one the Rams should obviously keep for 2012.
If the Rams could add a vertical threat in the upcoming NFL draft, Lloyd would be the beneficiary as much as anybody.
Lloyd is a solid route runner who could produce big numbers in the underneath area beneath the safeties. To do this, the safeties would need to be pushed by a vertical threat downfield.
The Rams Should Model the 49ers
The St. Louis Rams should model themselves after the 49ers. The Rams and the Niners are not built that differently.
The Rams, like the Niners, want to run the ball and then play action pass off the run. The Rams wanted to build with defense and be fundamentally sound.
The Niners play this way, and the Rams do not.
San Francisco has a great offensive line running back, Frank Gore, pounding the ball. The Niners have a star tight end in Vernon Davis, who catches key first down passes to keep the chains moving. Factor in one of the best run defenses in the NFL and the precise coaching of Jim Harbaugh, and you have a model that St. Louis should follow.
The Niners weren't supposed to be better than the Rams in 2011. On Sunday, they clinched the NFC West title.