Gurley for 52 yds – Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian/USA Today Sports
Soar With The St Louis Rams
Rams 24 Cardinals 22
By Kasey Mcknelly @Cmcknelly
What a WIN!! The Rams started out strong from the kickoff in Arizona last Sunday. It seems that the Rams did what most said couldnâ€™t be done for the second time this season by upsetting another tough division team. This win was not an easy win and the team had to play hard from the opening whistle.
Itâ€™s no secret that it is the Rams massive defense that kept them in the game as the offense continues to struggle. The Arizona red zone offense, prior to Sunday, had been able to convert 11-12 attempts to touchdowns but on Sunday, Carson Palmer only had 1 TD all day. Palmer was also sacked 4 times on Sunday while only being sacked once in the prior 3 games. Palmer felt the pressure all day. The defense stayed strong throughout, created forced fumbles and at one point allowing CB Janoris Jenkins to step in and get another INT.
This defense is definitely in sync. They have found a rhythm and show up every week ready to play. LB Alec Ogletree led the charge this week with 9 tackles before leaving the game with a broken fibula in the 3rd quarter. The timing of this injury couldnâ€™t be worse. Ogletree had the best camp of his career and so far has had the best season of his career. No doubt his presence will be missed on the field and in the locker room. Trumaine Johnson CB and TJ McDonald Jr SS continue to make the hard hit on the ball in the open field from week to week. The Rams defense continues to fire on all cylinders.
The offense continues to struggle to get any consistency going. Well, that was until the 2nd half on Sunday. Todd Gurley RB, 10th round overall pick in the 2015 draft, made his 1st NFL start in Arizona. He had a decent 1st half, sharing reps with 2nd year RB Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham in the Fisher RB by committee plan. Gurley spent all of training camp rehabbing from an ACL repair last Nov 10 while at Georgia. In the 2nd half of the football game he showed the world that he was back and maybe better than ever.
His longest run of the day came in the 4th with a 52 yard run. Maybe his most impressive play came in the last few minutes of the game when he could have had his first NFL touchdown. Instead, he used his uncanny football IQ, knowing how much time was on the clock and how close the ball game was, Gurley ran downfield, did a little stutter-step and fell, holding on to the ball.
I want to be the first to admit that for a brief moment I was like â€œwhat is he doingâ€ and then when the disbelief wore off I knew that this young man was something special. You cannot teach that. I am not even sure that experience will allow for that. That was true football brilliance. Gurleyâ€™s patience and agility coupled with that burst at the end is how he ended the day with 146 yards; making him the first Ram to do that in 1 game since Steven Jackson RB did it against the Saints in 2011 with 159.Â Only 2 players have had more yards in either of their 1st two career games in the past 25 years.
The Arizona defense allowed for an average of 3.08 yards per carry in the 1st three games of the season, while Gurley averaged 7.1. This rookie is special. Gurley didnâ€™t do it alone, the tight ends and fullbacks helped him through the holes. The Rams are also finding better ways to get the ball to WR Tavon Austin more this season and allowing him to use the rocket speed.
Austin found the end zone twice on Sunday and his fellow WVU teammate WR Stedman Bailey also got in the end zone. Bailey may also get notification from the league this week with a fine for $8681 for using the ball as a prop and lying on the ground in celebration for his touchdown. The Rams continue to be inconsistent on the offense but I do see glimpses of greatness.
We have another tough one on the road against another undefeated team in Green Bay this Sunday.