Friday, September 3, 2010

What are you kidding me? We beat the Ravens?

No! Your joking! Our guys popped 14 on the score board in the first two drives? No, your joking!

Both Scorpio and Smoker shredded the Ravens defense on back-to-back possessions? The Rams completed 11 consecutive passes to open the game? NAW! Quit pulling my leg. The Ravens have only given up one touchdown in the first 3 preseason games. They've smacked up a few people along the way.

So it is true. The Rams led all the way. The Ravens broadcast team didn't like it one little bit. They found it quite disconcerting that Ram QBs carved up the object of their pride.

As they correctly pointed out, the Rams were not facing the Ravens' first string defense. The Ravens were not playing their famous chaos front. They gave us a pretty 'vanilla' 4-3 look. Still they found the Rams success quite disconcerting and I found it fascinating.

More interesting than this is the fact that the Ravens only touchdown in the first half came on an interception return off the arm of Smoker. The Rams starting D did not give up a point to Ravens' offense. Granted, Flacco, Bolden and Rice did not play. Still, the backup offense look confounded.

There are reasons to be excited and concerned. Consider the first drive, Sam Bradford's only drive of the evening. Sam was perfect, 6/6 for 68 yards and 1 touchdown. He did not get hit, and he made a terrific throw deep in the redzone to Bajema. That was a tough throw. Sam was throwing against the zone in a compressed box. There were three defenders and two Rams in the crowded right corner of the endzone. Sam threw a high velocity dart to the perfect spot and made it look easy.

Best of all, Sam did not get hit during that drive. The line kept his jersey clean. That is a good sign.

On the flip side of the first drive, the Ram O-Line did not open a single running hole on several attempts. Ram running backs got stuffed on just about every attempt. Carney made a first down a second effort after getting jacked up at the line of scrimmage, but that was the only positive yardage for our running game via the 1st string line.

Now on the second drive... Well... that was a different matter. The 2nd string line seems to be able to block for the run. We got some very nice seals and ran the football in the alley.

I kinda get the feeling that Pat Shurmur is trying to make me like him. He actually called a decent aggressive game this time. The Rams took some bold shots. We called smart plays like the naked bootleg in the Redzone. I have said many times that this is the highest percentage play I have ever seen at the goal line. I don't want to count the number of times I saw the 49ers score on that play with Joe Montana and Steve Young. I am glad to see we can run it now.

Further, the Raven D had difficulty reading the differences between run and pass plays. This was mostly due to broken keys on offense. We lined up in a power-I and threw the football. We lined up in a weak I and threw the football. This surprised them. Let's keep it up.

So the Rams finish the preseason 3-1, and look improved, but don't get too jacked up. We finished 3-1 in preseason last year also. You know the rest of the story. I don't need to go over that again. We'll see how things go, but the Rams do look better. Remember, in a regular season match up, we'd go against Flacco and company, and the Raven defensive starters would be playing their chaos front. It would have been a different ball of wax in the real show.

Still, it was a nice birthday present.