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The Setup
Cards turned in a dismal performance the previous Sunday vs. Washington. question Du Jour: "Were various Cardinal deficiencies 'Correctable' or Chronic?'" The message from Coach Wilks was "We've got it. The team will pull up its bootstraps and fix what's broke.

Lede
Cards Rammed 34 - 0.


The Bottom Line:
As I've grown older (will hit 80 next July) my approach to football has become a lot simpler - I no longer make hyperbolic prognostications (i.e. if you want to predict the future, hire a fortune teller"). All I want to know is: "Did we win?" And if not, (1) Why? (2 )Are the problems mainly due to bad luck or are they part of the team's DNA? and (3) What's it going to take to get on the right track?

The Cards racked up a grand total of 5 first downs while being shut out for the first of what may turn out to be several times this season.

(Ed Note - Compounding the problems facing this writer as he attempts to sort out the whys and wherefores was a major screw-up by FOX and DIrecTV which blacked out much of the second half to prevent (some would say "save") us from viewing a sizable part of the game. What happened was: (1) the game was blacked out by DirecTV Sunday Ticket but aired on our local FOX Channel 5. (2) When the game was well out of hand, FOX switched its coverage to the Niner game but DirecTV failed to lift the corresponding blackout of the Cardinal game on Sunday Ticket to give us back airing of the Cardinal game. So we (3) don't really know what happened - except that we continued to suck.

All I can give you is that, to us, the Cardinals looked better, defensively, than they did the previous week vs. Washington (i.e. their tackling was less erratic and more consistent. Problem was: they still struggled offensively. Major culprits: Predictable play calling and archaic play design (probably fueled by receivers who couldn't get open (or catch the ball the few times they could), linemen who couldn't sustain their blocks and a QB not comfortable going through his progressions in a decisive timely manner.

To sum things up, it looks like it's going to be a very long season.

Game Log
Source: NFL.com Website

1st Quarter
  • Rams at 15:00

    KO returned to Ram 20. 8 play Ram possession ending with Hekker's 60-yd punt into the end zone.

    Cards at 12:25

    Cards started at their own 20. Lee punted from his own 45 on the 7th play of the drive

    Rams at 7:18

    They moved from their own 12 to the Cardinal 49 in 7 plays before settling for Hekker's punt to the Cardinal 7. Key play of possession was a 22-yd Goff to Cooks completion (vs. J Taylor).

    Cards at 2:32

    Cards held to 3 & out. Lee's punt (net penalty) returned to Ram 41.

    Rams at 0:48

    A Goff to Cooks 20-yd completiom (vs. Baker) on the second play of the drive put the ball on the Card 20 to start off the 2nd quarter.

    First Quarter Score: Rams 0 - Cards 0.

    2nd Quarter
  • Rams Continued

    On the second play of the quarter,, Gurley circledright end for an 11 yd TD. (Ram kicker injured in pregame - 2 pt conversion - Gurley up the middle - good). Rams 8 - Cards 0.

  • Cards at 14:29

    TB on KO. Three & out. (Key play: Bradford sacked for minus-7).

    Rams at 12:52

    Punt (returned to Ram 46. An 11 play drive ended at the Cardinal 2, where Hekker is good from 20-yds. Key play - 21-yd completion: Goff to Woods (vs. Boston). Rams 11 - Cards 0..

    Cards at 8:07

    TB on KO. 7-play possession marred by 2 Cardinal penalties. Drive ends at Card 34. Natson returnsd punt 60 yds to Card 32.

    Rams at 04:18

    8 play Ram TD drive capped by a Gurley one-yd TD run up the middle and a successful 2-pt attempt (Gurley up the middle again). Key Plays: Goff to Gurley (vs. Boston) for +15 yds. Goff to Gurley for +11 yds (vs. Benwikere). Half is over. (2-pt improvement over the Wash halftime score). Rams 19 - Cards 0..

    Halfitme Score: Rams 19 - Cards 0.

3rd Quarter

Cardinals at 15:00

Return net Wash penalty) gives Cards ball at their own 31. Three & out. .Punt returned 13 yds to Ram 21.

Rams at 12:39

Three plays after Goff hits Cooks for 57 yds (vs. J Taylor) Goff's pass for Cooks is intercepted by P Peterson at the Cardinal 2.

Cards at 11:06

Two Cardinal penalties (Iupati and Pugh) force Cards to punt from their own 15. Punt returned for 17 yds to Ram 44..

Rams at 5:49

A +14 completion to Cooks (vs. J Taylor) and a roughing call on Bethea put the ball on the Cardinal 2 to set up another 2-yd TD run up the middle by Gurley. 2-point attempt good - pass complete). Rams 27 - Cardinals 0.

Cards at 3:39

KO returned to Card 18. Three & Outsville. Punt returned 13 yds by Natson..

Rams at 2:23

Rams start out at their own 41. A +29 yd Goff to Kupp completion (vs. Bethea) is followed by Mayoowe's minus-10 yd sack of Goff to end the quarter.

  • Third Quarter Score: Rams 27 - Cardinals 0.
4th Quarter
  • Rams (continued)
  • Three plays later, LA "goes for it" on 4th & 1. Cards stop 'em.

Cards at 13:10

  • Cards start out from their own 15 and are held 3 & out. Punt fair caught at the Ram 23

Rams at 11:41

A deep pass to Cooks (vs. Bethea) brings Rams to the Card 27 where they fail to convert a 4th & 9..

Cardinals at 7:57

On the second play from scrimmage, Bradford's pass for C Williams is intercepted and returned 22 yards.

Rams at 7:02

Starting at the Card 25, the Rams run M Brown on 6 of 7 plays before Goff hits Higbee for 3 yds and a TD. Hekkers XP good. Rams 34 - Cards 0

Cardinals at 3:17

Cards start out at their 20 and 8 plays later (at the Ram 46, the game is mercifully over.

Final Score: Rams 34 - Cards 0

Notable Game Stats.

  • Bradford (aka "Charlie Checkdown") went 17 for 27 for 90 yds & no TD's and threw one pick

    Edmonds led Card receivers with 5 catches. Kirk and Seals-Jones followed with 4 catches apiece.

  • D Johnson gained 48 yds on 13 carries. (Coach Wilks promised we'd run the ball more than we did vs. Washington but couldn't make it happen).

  • Lee averaged 33 yds on 8 punts.

  • Neither team fumbled.

    Natson averaged 22 yards on 6 punt returns (We'd be far better ff if Lee punted out of bounds each time)

Bethea and Peterson led the Cards with 8 tackles apiece followed by Mayowa with 7. Five other Cardinals were credited with 4 - 6 tackles

Mayowa had the Cards' only 2 sacks. (Bradford was sacked just once)

Each team had one pick apiece.

Average yards per rushing play: 3.6 (vs 2.7 for Rams)

Average yards per passing play (3.0) (vs.10.1 for Rams)

Rushing plays: Cards 15/Rams 33.

Passing Plays; Cards 27/Rams 32

Net Punting Average: Cards 33.8/Rams 41.0

Cards were penalized 9 times (Rams were flagged 5).

Third Down Conversions: Cards: 3/12 for 25%. Rams: 8/15 53%

Time of Possession: Cards: 25:52/Rams 34:08

Bright Spots

  • We tackled better

The Dark Side

  • We still haven't opened up the passing game

    9 penalties (vs. Rams 5) sign of a poorly coached team

  • Net Yards Passing (83 vs. 342) and Average Yds per Pass Play (3.0 vs 10.1) tells it all

    Rams executed plays when they had to (Cards didn't)

    Here's what I think is going on: (For watever reason) M Bidwill and S Keim decided the team had to do a 180-degree departure from BA's explosive, unpredicatable offense and our blitz-happy 3-4 defense. They hired a completely new set of coaches who advocated a more solid, predictable approach on either side of the ball. Problem was, they didn't restock with players more suited to a more conservative brand of football. Example #1 : Patrick Peterson got to see more action playing all over the field in zone coverage. True, he's got to see more action, but look what happened when he no longer was assigned the Rams' best receiver (Cooks). Cooks was unstoppable when matched up against J Taylor and other #2 CB's. Example #2. Cards exchewed "no biscuit" in favor of more of a "run first"/short passing offense. Problem is: He doesn't have the receivers behind Fitz to execute a "stop us if you can" short passing game. Bottom line - Radical change in schemes without the personnel needed to execute the scheme-change effectively. Result - Two blowouts.

     

Last Word:
In my mind, this will remain a bad football team until proved otherewise. - JGG

 
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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012