Rams improve grades, but still lose big

BY JEFF GORDON, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Published: October 17, 2011
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ards per carry. But the Rams earned just one sack off their base rush (by defensive tackle Gary Gibson) and allowed quarterback Aaron Rodgers to repeatedly scramble out of trouble. That the Rams bore down after falling behind by 24 points is minor consolation at best. GRADE: D-plus.

LINEBACKERS: Chris Chamberlain appeared to offer a nice upgrade over Ben Leber in the starting lineup, earning six tackles according to the press box statistics. But over on the other side, Brady Poppinga didn't make the Packers regret moving him out. GRADE: C-minus.

SECONDARY: Rodgers passed for 234 yards and three TDs in the first half. Rams relied heavily on zone coverage to protect their injury-depleted cornerback corps, to no avail. Big mistakes led to big Green Bay plays. The defensive backs did a much better job defending the pass during the second half -- getting a gift interception for Craig Dahl in the process -- but the game was already out of hand. GRADE: D.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Josh Brown got the Rams off to a rousing start by missing a field goal attempt. Donnie Jones averaged just 32.4 yards per punt. The special teams star was punt returner Austin Pettis, who broke a 39-yard return. GRADE: D-plus.

COACHING: The Rams staggered to a 24-0 first half deficit. Steve Spagnuolo kicked himself for a blitz call the Packers beat with a long TD. The offense's inability to make plays in or around the red zone doomed the Rams again. So did costly false-start penalties. Ultimately the coaches must eliminate such sloppiness or suffer the consequences of repeated failure. On the bright side, the Rams kept competing until the end. GRADE: D

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