The St. Louis Rams had nine possessions in the Chicago Bears end of the field and had exactly nine points. Nine times, nine points. In a word, ridiculous. The Rams continued their season long ineptness on offense to cost the team a win as the Chicago Bears beat the Rams 17-9 at Soldier Field. A game that was begging to be won from the Bears was handed right back to them. In a season that has one low moment after another this one takes the cake. Not only did the Rams lose to a bad team but they would not even stand up and take the win that was all but being handed to them. This should be a wakeup call to Steve Spagnuolo to not only blow up the entire offense but blow up the entire offensive coaching staff at the end of the season. Here is the long list of sins today for the Rams.
Offensive Coaching: The NFL is not a league that is built on patience and it is time for Steve Spagnuolo to realize that Pat Shurmur is not going to be able to get it done as an offensive coordinator or it is going to eventually lead to the demise of the head coach. The playcalling and offensive gameplan could arguably be called the worst in St. Louis Rams history and that is including some horrible efforts through the years. How can you explain having that many chances in Bears territory and not have any results? The offense is not getting better as the season is going along, it is regressing.
The most damning part of today for Shurmur was in the 4th quarter, with the Rams down 17-6, they faced a 3rd and 11 from the Chicago 32.. The Rams need two scores and specifically a touchdown. It is possible 4 down territory if you get a chunk of that yardage back. The Rams call a draw play to Steven Jackson that goes for nothing. Instead of picking up 8 or 9 on a pass, or anything else, the Rams wind up having to kick a 50 yard field goal. On the Fox broadcast you can even see Steve Spagnuolo walk over to Shurmur and question the call. It was just one of many curious calls this afternoon, but certainly the most baffling.
What is worse is that the Rams do nothing to try and get the ball down the field. The Rams quarterback never throws deep or tries to get something that is designed to pick up 15-25 yards. Not only do they not go deep but there is no imagination in the plays that are drawn up. When you don't have the talent you have to trick defenses. Football 101. You better be doing lots of play action and using trick plays when appropriate to try and make something happen.
Steve Spagnuolo has made a mistake with his offensive coordinator. There is no question the Rams don't have much offensive talent, outside of Steven Jackson, but what is happening to this team on offense is inexcusable. The Rams should be shopping for an offensive coordinator this offseason along with some new offensive talent.
Kyle Boller: There is no question that the Rams don't have much in the way of wide receivers and they don't have a great offensive mind calling plays but Kyle Boller was awful today. It is further proof that the Rams should be getting Keith Null ready to start the final two games of the regular season. They have nothing to lose and if Null cannot perform better then Boller at this point then not only do the Rams have to look for a starting quarterback and a backup next season they need to find three quarterbacks. It is time to empty the bench and see what everyone has.
Alex Barron: The Bears defensive line was running circles around Alex Barron today. There are only 4 games left in the Alex Barron era in St. Louis. I hope he doesn't get Steven Jackson or a quarterback killed before we can get #70 out of here.
Defensive Backs: I am very certain that Steve Spagnuolo does not teach his defensive backs to run wildly down the field covering wide receivers without knowing where the ball is. If he did Spagnuolo would not be in the NFL. So why in the world were James Butler, Quincy Butler and Ron Bartell all guilty of that at various times today? They weren't taught that I know. This isn't the preseason. They have all been in the league for awhile. How can that happen in Week 13 of the NFL season? Inexcusable.
There are two things that I did want to mention today that should be highlighted for the Rams.
#1 Steven Jackson is a man. His back is killing him. It is a cold day in Chicago and he still managed to put up 112 yards rushing. He is the heart and soul of this team and if there were just 5 more Steven Jackson's on offense the Rams would be a playoff team. Unfortunately one player cannot carry an entire franchise. Jackson, and center Jason Brown, were the only starters on the field today for the Rams that I would not consider trying to move or upgrade at that position during the offseason.
#2 I said in an article last week that one of the goals the Rams should have in the final 5 games is to hold two of the remaining team's running backs under 100 yards rushing. I didn't believe that today was going to be that day but the Rams did accomplish that keeping Matt Forte at 91 yards. Maybe that is something that can be built upoin heading into Tennessee next week.
The losing is getting real old for myself and for Rams fans. I can only imagine how old it is getting out at Rams Park. I am still waiting to see someone say enough is enough of this garbage, but we sit here in Week 13 and see the same mistakes over and over again. I thought Steve Spagnuolo would have imprinted his style and what he wants out of his team by now. It is not happening. It is not to say that is won't ever happen but there are going to have to be bigger changes in the offseason then just a couple positional changes. It should be known that everyone's job is on the line during these final four games. Then let's see who can the Rams build with and who needs to get out of Earth City.