NFL Wire News

Rams victimized by big plays in loss to Giants


EARTH CITY, Mo. — Many words were used by St. Louis Rams players and coaches to describe the 37-27 loss to the Giants Sunday.

“It’s just unacceptable,” defensive end Chris Long said.

“To give up 500 yards is embarrassing,” middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said.

“I’m extremely disappointed in a number of areas,” head coach Jeff Fisher said.

That summed up an afternoon in the team’s final home game of the season in which the Giants actually totaled 514 yards and didn’t have a turnover, the Rams had two turnovers, the Giants converted 8 of 17 third-down opportunities and the Rams were only 1-for-6 on third down.

One of the Giants’ failures on third-down was a kneel down at the end of the game.

Now, the Rams head to Seattle for the final game of the season against a Seahawks team that has won six consecutive games, eight of the last nine, and will be playing to win the NFC West and gain home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Seattle has allowed a total of 33 points in their last five games.

Added Laurinaitis, “They made all the plays today. We didn’t get a takeaway. We didn’t do enough in every facet of the defense. It was self-inflicted stuff. That’s the thing that really gets you upset because you think you’re past it.

“It’s cliche but it’s just back to work, fix our mistakes and try not to repeat them. This business is all about not being repeat offenders of the same mistake. If they are, they take it and you get replaced.”

In a stretch where the Rams had gone 12 quarters without allowing a touchdown, rarely allowed their opponent to reach the red zone, and didn’t give up the big plays that doomed them earlier in the season, Sunday was a trip back in time.

The Giants had six plays that gained 23 yards or more. In perfect symmetry, those six plays totaled exactly half (257) of the 514 yards the Giants gained, an average of 42.8 yards per play. Their other 61 plays also totaled 257 yards, an average of 4.2.

In addition, Giants quarterback Eli Manning was on fire on third down, hitting his first 11 attempts, and finished 12-of-15 for 236 yards. His seven third-down successes for first downs totaled 201 yards with two touchdowns.

Said quarterback Shaun Hill, “To be honest with you, if I didn’t know any better and I saw what I’d just watched, I’d say this was a bad team. But we’re not a bad team. We’ve beat some of the best teams in the NFL and we’ve been in almost every game we’ve played this season. Generally, we’re not a team that beats ourselves, but today, that’s exactly what we did. I know the makeup of this team, and that’s what makes a game like today so frustrating.”

As Laurinaitis concluded, “Goodness, we’ve got a lot of stuff we’ve got to correct. Can’t play like this, especially to end the season out next week. Can’t go into the offseason after having a performance like this.”


–PASSING OFFENSE: B — QB Shaun Hill was solid, completing 24 of 32 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns with a passer rating of 110.2. He did miss some throws, but as head coach Jeff Fisher noted, he played well enough to win. WR Kenny Britt had nine receptions for 103 yards to lead the Rams. One big negative was two bad shotgun snaps by C Scott Wells. On one, a high snap threw off the timing on a play that might have resulted in a touchdown. The final one sailed over Hill’s head, resulting in a turnover that ended any hopes for a comeback.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: B — Because the Rams fell behind early, they weren’t able to run as often as they like, but RB Tre Mason still managed to gain 76 yards on just 13 attempts, and scored on a 10-yard run. WR Tavon Austin gained 25 yards on three runs.

–PASS DEFENSE: D — A lot of QB Eli Manning’s passes didn’t go for many yards, but there were too many big plays, and the Rams were unable to get the Giants off the field enough on third down. Manning was in a zone, completing 25 of 32 passes for 391 yards and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 148.8. In addition to WR Odell Beckham’s 148 yards on eight receptions, including an 80-yard touchdown, WR Rueben Randle had six catches for 132 yards, including a 49-yard play. The Rams got minimal pressure on Manning, sacking him just once and getting only eight pressures.

–RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus — Overall, the run defense wasn’t bad, but RB Andre Williams gained 110 carries on 26 carries thanks to a 45-yard run through the teeth of the Rams’ defense. On 25 other attempts, Williams gained 65 yards. Backup Orleans Darkwa added 21 yards on four carries, including a 12-yard touchdown run on which he cut back and ran untouched into the end zone.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus — Overall, the special teams were solid except for a fumbled kickoff return by Benny Cunningham that led to a Giants first-quarter touchdown and early 10-0 lead. PR Tavon Austin had 61 yards on three punt returns, including one for 41 yards. P Johnny Hekker put three of his four punts inside the 20 and had an average of 50.5 yards and net of 45.5.

–COACHING: B — The Rams’ defense gave up too many big plays, but that was lack of execution, not coaching. The offense moved the ball, but falling behind early made it difficult to come back.

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