Monday, November 22, 2010

Rams Can’t Quite Keep Up with Falcons

Posted by nickwagoner on November 22, 2010 – 12:58 AM 

- The Rams came into Sunday’s game looking to bounce back from a tough loss to San Francisco last week. But the task was tall with a talented Atlanta team coming in and ultimately it was too much for them to overcome in a 34-17 loss at the Edward Jones Dome.

- The Falcons are the best team the Rams have played this season. They’re extremely balanced offensively and they play stout, solid defense that doesn’t allow much in the way of big plays. With the win, Atlanta moves to 8-2 on the season. The Rams fall to 4-6 with the loss but the rest of the NFC West teams also lost Sunday, which means the Rams didn’t lose any ground in the divisional race.

- On the injury front, the Rams had nothing too serious. Tackle Rodger Saffold tweaked his shoulder and will have an MRI but that was the only ailment of concern for coach Steve Spagnuolo after the game. S Oshiomogho Atogwe, CB Ron Bartell and CB Justin King missed time during the game with cramps but they all returned.

- As for the game, the final score is certainly misleading. With 3:31 to play, the Rams had the ball at Atlanta’s 2 trailing by nine. A touchdown there and they had all timeouts remaining with a chance to get the ball back. Atlanta finished the game with a late 39-yard touchdown run by Michael Turner for the final margin.

- For most of the game, Atlanta controlled the ball and the clock with its balanced offense. QB Matt Ryan is a heck of a player. Not many quarterbacks in the league are better against the blitz than he is. He dissected the Rams on the blitz and was able to keep his team on the field time and again.

- A few things that really hurt the Rams: time of possession and field position. The Falcons had the ball for 35:55 to the Rams’ 24:05. And the Falcons took full advantage of good field position, particularly in the first half. A big kick return was the impetus for that.

- The Rams went sackless against Ryan and the Falcons, a disappointing showing for a group that has been the best in the league at getting to the quarterback.

- QB Sam Bradford set a rookie record for consecutive attempts without an interception with 169. That streak ended on a bizarre, fluky interception at the goal line on a late shovel pass. That was the play that killed the Rams’ drive at the goal line and ended the Rams’ chances.

- TE Michael Hoomanawanui collided with G Adam Goldberg on the play, throwing off the timing as the ball ended up in the hands of Atlanta S William Moore.

- Hoomanawanui had a solid performance, catching four passes for 46 yards with a touchdown. His 18-yard grab down the sideline was a thing of beauty.

- Nice effort, Brandon Gibson. He had five catches for 42 yards and his touchdown grab on a fade to the left corner of the end zone was outstanding as well.

- Steven Jackson finished with 54 yards on just 11 carries but Atlanta made it obvious it wanted to take him away. And the Rams weren’t on the field enough to continue feeding him. Congrats to Jackson for reaching 10,000 career yards from scrimmage, though.

- In the locker room after, the Rams were quick to give credit where its due. Atlanta is an excellent team and probably the top contender in the NFC right now. That’s the type of team the Rams are striving to become.

- It doesn’t get any easier from here. The Rams now go on the road for three straight, starting next weekend in Denver. In order to stay in the race, they’ll need to find a way to get that elusive first road victory.

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