The St. Louis Rams just did it again, and they’ve done it so many times this season it can’t be a coincidence. The “it” is pulling off unlikely upset after unlikely upset against the NFL’s best teams (or so we thought).
Are the Rams actually much better than people think? That’s just it. No they’re not. They were picked to finish last in the NFC West and they are last and will finish that way. They were the weakest team and they lost their starting QB and no one expected them to make any kind of noise in the playoff race. And they haven’t. They just keep beating really good teams.
It started in week 7 against Seattle. The Rams were 1-4 coming into that game and their best achievement to that point had been blowing big leads against both Dallas and Philadelphia. Hey, at least they had the leads to blow. But certainly no one was looking for them to beat Seattle, and when the Seahawks scored with 10 minutes to go in the game to narrow the St. Louis lead to just 2, everyone in the building knew what was going to happen next. Except someone forgot to tell the Rams. They pulled off a fake punt (remember this?) deep in their own territory and eventually stretched the lead back to 9 points. Gutsy call by Jeff Fisher. Gutsy play all game by the Rams. That was it, they won their Super Bowl for the year, something which seemed confirmed the following week when they got their asses handed to them by the Chiefs.
The brains behind the whole thing
But here they came again. The following week they again took on an NFC West behemoth in the 49ers and beat them 13-10 in a game where the Rams defense out-49erd the 49ers, recording 8 sacks. OK, so maybe this was an NFC West rivalry thing. No, the Rams got blown again the following week by Arizona.
And now this week. The Rams didn’t run some surprising last minute trick play and they didn’t get 8 sacks. But their defense did hold the Broncos to 7 points, thanks in part to two interceptions of Peyton Manning (the Rams did sack him twice also). The Rams offense was also quite efficient, as QB Shaun Hill, RB Tre Mason and WR Kenny Britt all had good games.
What you didn’t predict
It seems like every other week the Rams are doing this and in so doing, they are pulling off that rarest of feats – establishing their credentials for next season while still positioning themselves to get a pretty good draft pick.
Next week the Rams get the Chargers. If I were the Chargers, I’d start watching game films right now.