Woes continue for Rams’ offense
Thursday, November 10, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Midway through the season, new St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is still waiting to see some results.
The Rams are averaging 12.5 points per game, next to worst in the NFL, and managed only three field goals in last week’s overtime loss at Arizona.
St. Louis (1-6) has scored just nine touchdowns this season to go along with 11 field goals headed into Sunday’s game at Cleveland (3-5). The Rams rank 30th in the NFL when it comes to scoring within the opponent’s 20-yard line.
“It’s very frustrating,” running back Steven Jackson said Thursday. “We move the ball pretty much on each and every drive and get into the red zone but we are unable to finish those drives that we’ve put together.
“It’s the same guys moving the ball down the field. It’s just when we get to the red zone, we keep having these mishaps which prevent us from putting up seven points.”
It wasn’t supposed to be that way when McDaniels was hired by coach Steve Spagnuolo.
McDaniels enjoyed great success as the offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots. In 2007, the Patriots set NFL records, scoring 75 touchdowns (67 on offense — 50 passing and 17 rushing) and 589 points. The next year, the Patriots went 11-5 behind quarterback Matt Cassel, who replaced the injured Tom Brady.
Denver hired him after that. At age 33, he was the youngest head coach in the NFL. He was fired after Denver lost 17 of his last 22 games, but McDaniels retained his reputation as an offensive guru.
When the Rams hired him, he was to the man who would lift Sam Bradford & Co. to a higher plane, and during the preseason, both parties said it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
It hasn’t happened. Instead, there have been far too many mistakes, dropped passes, bad protection, false starts and, worst of all, that lack of scoring. In Sunday’s 19-13 overtime loss at Arizona, the Rams’ offense mustered just three field goals to go with two safeties.
The Rams are gaining yards, with 383 against the Cardinals. Bradford threw for 255 and Jackson had 130, his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game of the season and 29th of his career.
Yet, the offense couldn’t gain a foot when it needed to with 1:40 left in regulation with the score knotted at 13-all. Arizona stopped Jackson for no gain on third at the Cardinals’ 33-yard line.
The Rams skipped a field goal try and chose to go for it on fourth down. McDaniels dialed up the same play to run.
“You got to believe in your guys,” McDaniels said. “Our guys knew what the play was before we even sent it in. They should have. They practice it well during the week. If we get that situation again, we’ll block it better, block it right and get the yard.”
The Cardinals took over on downs and went on to win with a 99-yard punt return in overtime.
The calls were good ones, McDaniels said.
“The concept there was to try and eliminate penetration,” McDaniels said. “To eliminate penetration, you have to stay tight at the line of scrimmage and avoid linebackers running through. We did that. What we didn’t do was get a guy on the ground. The guys did a lot well on both plays. We didn’t finish the play as well as we needed to.”
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