In week 3 the Los Angeles Rams traveled across the country to play the 1-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The Rams came out on top in this game 37-32. With a win the Rams are now 2-1 & lead the NFC West. You can watch the highlights here: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap3000000709816/Rams-vs-Buccaneers-highlights
- Scoring a touchdown. The Rams have finally ended their touchdown drought this season with a 44 yard passing touchdown from Case Keenum to Brian Quick. This marks the first touchdown the Los Angeles Rams have had since December 24, 1994. Time to celebrate like it’s 1994!
- Putting up points. This kind of goes hand in hand with scoring a touchdown but the Rams sluggish offense was able to score 37 points in this game to win in a shootout type of a game which is unusual for them to do. When you have Case Keenum as QB you’re going to lose games that come down to scoring 30+ points but this time the Rams were able to pull out the W.
- Throwing downfield. This was the first week I’ve seen the Rams or Case Keenum not be afraid to push the ball downfield. It showed right off the bat when Case Keenum threw the ball 44 yards downfield to Brian Quick to take a 7-0 lead early in the 1st quarter. Keenum also took a shot down the field late in the 4th quarter to Tavon Austin who caught the ball & spun out of a tackle to score a 43 yard TD to give the Rams a 37-26 lead.
- Improved running game. The running game looked much improved from the previous 2 weeks. The Rams totaled 137 yards on 33 carries & added 2 touchdowns. Todd Gurley was finally able to have some running room rushing for 85 yards on 27 carries & scored both rushing touchdowns for the Rams. Although Gurley only had a 3.1 yards per carry average he still had a solid day running the rock.
- Pass rush. The Rams were only able to get 2 sacks on Jameis Winston in this game but were constantly pressuring him all game. Early in the 4th quarter Robert Quinn got a strip sack on Winston that was recovered by Ethan Westbrooks who returned it 77 yards for a touchdown to put the Rams up 31-20.
- 3rd down efficiency. The Rams in this game were 6-13 on 3rd down for a conversion rate of 46%. This was by far the Rams best week of converting 3rd downs after having a 6-27 (22.2%) conversion rate through the first 2 weeks.
- Bad turnovers. The Rams were lucky their defense also had 2 turnovers forced because they had 2 very bad turnovers in this game. The first one came off a horrific pass by Case Keenum that was intercepted by Kwon Alexander & returned 38 yards to the house to make it a 7-6 game half way through the 1st quarter. The 2nd turnover was a catch & fumble by Kenny Britt that was recovered by the Buccaneers in the 2nd quarter.
- Allowing 400+ passing yards. I know the Rams won this game but with their elite pass rush & solid secondary they shouldn’t be allowing 400 passing yards even if it’s a talented QB like Winston. Mike Evans alone had 10 catches for 132 yards & a touchdown on the day. Trumaine Johnson was the one on Evans for the most part of the day & I don’t know if it was because the Rams were playing zone & allowing underneath routes but Johnson seemed to struggle a bit in this game.
- Sub par QB play. This was yet another week I was not impressed by Case Keenum at all. Yes he threw for 2 touchdowns but he made plenty of mistakes this game overthrowing guys, under throwing guys, & throwing a terrible interception for a touchdown. I don’t see the sub par to below average QB play really changing while Keenum is under center.
- Chance of Jeff Fisher receiving an extension. I say this as kind of joke but like Shakespeare said “Many a true word hath been spoken in jest”. As a Rams fan I love seeing my team win games but every win the Rams pile up is a step forward for Jeff Fisher receiving that dreaded contract extension. My nightmares consist of me waking up & turning on ESPN & seeing “Rams & Jeff Fisher agree to an extension”. Then I wake up from that screaming & crying & then I actually turn on my TV to make sure it was just a nightmare. Let’s face it Jeff Fisher might be a nice guy off the field but he’s been a supremely average coach compiling a 171-157-1 record in his 22 years of coaching & has only had 6 winning seasons in those 22 years. Fisher since joining the Rams in 2012 has yet to lead them to a .500 record going 29-37-1 in his 5 years so far as head coach.
Moving Forward: The Rams will be traveling on the road again to play their division rival Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals have started the season at 1-2 & looked awful in their week 3 loss to the Bills losing 33-18. Carson Palmer threw 4 interceptions & failed to throw a touchdown in this game. If Rams can pull out a victory against Arizona they would keep their NFC West lead & would start the young 2016 season at 3-1.