So, my Rams looked pretty decent defeating the Colts [who were without Peyton Manning last night] by a score of 33-10. It's hard to quibble with statistical and scoreboard domination.
Just between you, me and the lamp-post: We know thing would have been different if the Colts had had a fresh and healthy Peyton Manning playing throughout the entire 1st quarter. They might well have had 14 more points by the final gun.
We need an honest assessment, folks.
I took just three things away from this game:
- Ray Lewis is quite correct when he says that the Colts would be a below average football team without Peyton Manning. Just a few days ago, NFL Network analysts Jamie Dukes and Warren Sapp were speculating about whether Peyton's consecutive game iron-man streak would continue in game 1 of this 2011 season. Charles Davis asked them how the Colts would fare without Manning at the helm. Both agreed that the Colts would not make the playoffs without Manning, and they might not have a winning record. I concur.
- Sam Bradford seems to be absorbing the Josh McDaniels version of the Spread pretty well. Earlier in the year, I reckoned that this was more of a home-coming than a brand-new system for Sam. My instincts may be right. The good news is that we looked pretty sharp, despite the lack of off-season training.
- The defense continues to look sharper and sharper under Steve Spagnuolo. I would expect that given a defensive master as the head coach. These guys have bought into Steve Spagnuolo's system, and they are investing themselves deeply in it. Even though they are not the most talented crew around, they are playing very solid team defense. You can do a hell of a lot of damage with team defense. Just ask the No-Name Defense of 1972 Dolphins.
As I have said before, we may well win the NFC West this season, and obtain the 4th seed in the NFC side of the tournament. This has everything to do with the West being a mess this year. I think we're going to slug it out with the Cardinals for the title. The 49ers and the Seahawks should bring up the rear, with the Seahawks looking like front-runners in the Andrew Luck bowl.
Just understand one thing: we entered this off-season with just one super-agenda item. The one and the only thing we absolutely, categorically had to do was obtain a big-playmaker for Sam Bradford to work with. This might have been A.J. Green, this might have been Julio Jones, this might have been Reggie Bush. It might even have been Mark Ingram.
We just didn't get it done.
The lack of a big-time and unstoppable playmaker will place a hard-cap on what we are able to achieve this season.