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After the Rams squandered a golden opportunity in Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the Chargers, it’s only fair to wonder whether 4-7 St. Louis is a good football team having a disappointing season or a bad team that’s overachieving.
The schedule definitely hasn’t been friendly to the Rams. Outside of a Week 1 blowout loss to the Vikings and a win the following week over the Buccaneers, St. Louis has played nine straight games against teams that currently sport a winning record.
Despite the tough slate, they’ve done fairly well. The Rams are proud owners of wins over the Seahawks, the 49ers in San Francisco, and the Broncos. That’s a resume most playoff-bound teams don’t have. And don’t forget, St. Louis also held a 21-0 lead over the Cowboys before Dallas equaled its largest comeback in franchise history in what turned out to be a 34-31 loss for the Rams.
Given the numbers that the Rams have put up thus far, the statistics seem to indicate that they have been overachievers. Defensively, St. Louis surrenders 250.9 passing yards per game, average allowing just shy of 116 yards rushing, and give up 25.9 points per contest, which all rank the Rams in the lower tier of the league. Perhaps the poor numbers can be chalked up to the competition, though there’s no real way of knowing considering the lack of cupcake opponents over the past nine games.
The offense really hasn’t been any better, struggling to get anything going to the tune of 19.0 points per game. At least rookie running back Tre Mason appears to be a keeper. Running behind an offensive line decimated by injuries, Mason is rushing for a respectable 4.1 yards per carry.
Davis had struggled with turnovers – throwing nine interceptions and fumbling five times in nine games – but that’s to be expected from a young signal-caller. It would’ve been interesting to see how he progressed down the stretch. Maybe Davis isn’t the answer long-term, but we already know Hill isn’t.
Instead, Fisher handed the job to the career backup.
Hill certainly deserves credit for a strong performance, playing a turnover-free game in the win over the Broncos. But the journeyman threw a crucial goal-line interception in the final minute just one week later in the previously mentioned loss to the Chargers — which is probably more indicative of the inconsistency you can expect out of him.
So are the Rams a good football team having a disappointing season or a bad team that’s overachieving? The answer probably lies somewhere in between.
With a winnable game up next against the Raiders, followed by a trip to Washington to take on the Redskins, it’s possible we’ll get a better read on the Rams in the coming weeks against lesser opponents.
Mason and the rest of the young nucleus that’s been forced to learn against some stiff competition provide the team with a solid foundation. It’s hard to ask fans for patience – especially when they haven’t witnessed a winning record since 2003 – but the Rams appear to be on the cusp of something.
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