By Cedric Williams
Rams fans had hoped they were past days like this. But after suffering through a 31-7 beatdown in Dallas on Sunday, it’s abundantly clear that the St. Louis male sheep are still in the process of fixing, well, everything that was clearly wrong about the club before head coach Jeff Fisher took over.
And as the Rams showed against the Cowboys, many of those problems still exist.
The Rams were flat coming out of the locker room, and they got flattened for 60 minutes by the Cowboys, who led 17-0 at halftime, and were up 24-0 early in the third quarter, before St. Louis finally got some offensive moment against a Dallas defense that was just looking to help run out the clock at that point.
Not a single unit on the Rams squad looked good on Sunday. Here’s how we graded them out in a less-than-inspiring loss in Dallas:
Offense – D-
St. Louis only turned the ball over once and didn’t have a stack of drive-killing penalties this week, like they did last Sunday in Atlanta. That’s the only reason we’re not giving the Rams an F this week.
The offensive line barely opened up any running lanes and only generated 35 yards on the ground on Sunday. And after not giving up a sack in either of the first two games this year, the Rams front five gave up six to Dallas, including two to sackmaster DeMarcus Ware, who passed Harvey Martin to become the Cowboys all-time leader in that category with 115 sacks in his career.
Defense – F
There probably have been worse performances by Ram defenses since the club came to St. Louis, but none of them felt worse than what was displayed on Sunday.
The Rams couldn’t stop Dallas running back DeMarco Murray, who torched them for 253 yards in the clubs’ last meeting in 2011, and looked like he was on his way to getting there again, with a 175-yard effort this time.
Murray had 96 yards (to the Rams 18) at halftime, and only fell short of getting 200 again against St. Louis because he was pulled early in the fourth, when Dallas went up 31-7 following Tony Romo’s third touchdown pass of the game.
And speaking of Romo, he had his most efficient game of the season against the Rams.
The 11th-year veteran out of Eastern Illinois, threw for 210 yards on 17-of-24 passing, with those three touchdowns and a 137.2 passer rating, and barely had his jersey touched by a Ram defense that seemed to just get smothered by the Dallas O-line all day long.
So were the linebackers and the defensive backs. It was just a terrible performance by the entire Ram defense on Sunday.
Quarterback – B
Sam Bradford gets a B, not for his play, but for his bravery, as he took an absolute beating from the Cowboys all day. To his credit, Bradford never seemed flustered. He just kept on firing and finally managed to get St. Louis in the end zone late in the third.
By that point though, the game was pretty much decided and the only question left was would Bradford make it home healthy. He did. So he gets a B for bravery.
Special Teams – F
Just like every other unit on Sunday, the Rams special teams stunk.
They caught an early break when Will Witherspoon recovered a muffed punt to give the Rams good field position and a bit of early life.
But the Rams didn’t get anything out of it. Then they proceeded to wreck rookie Tavon Austin’s sensational 84-yard punt return with a penalty that cost St. Louis six points, and it was all downhill from there.
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Cedric Williams, a lifelong St. Louisan and proud UMSL alum, has been a freelance reporter/photographer covering St. Louis area sports for nearly two decades. Most recently, he has been working as a credentialed beat writer covering the Rams and small-school college sports for Examiner.com and other outlets from around the area. Please share any comments, questions, or feedback with Cedric at email@example.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.