By Rams Nation's Don Ackerman
As expected, last night's game in Saint Louis was a scorefest as 41 points were put on the board. What else would you expect from the Saint Louis Rams playing the San Diego Chargers? Well, surprise, it was the lowly Chargers who put 31 of those points on the board. However, be forewarned: the Rams will see the Chargers again on November 10th so you can bet that Mike Martz is saving some for the regular season.
In a reversal of roles in Saint Louis, the Chargers looked pretty good. Though Rams forced a turnover by stopping the Chargers on 3rd and 1 then 4th and 1 early in the game, the Chargers continued to pound the Rams. Also early in the game, Jamie Duncan, 59, had an awesome stop. I can still see the play in my head. Beating his blocker, Duncan is standing there waiting for the Chargers running back and swallowing him up on the tackle. But the D didn't impress the Chargers much. The top two quarterbacks for San Diego (Brees and Flutie) went 16 for 21 for 234 yards. At one point in the game, SD QBs completed 13 straight completions.
In any case, I don't know if the Rams are ready for the 2003 campaign or if the team is holding back waiting for it to count. I can tell you that Marshall Faulk, #28, is ready. Despite this being his first action this year, Marshall ran once for 11 yards and had two catches for 7 yards. He was quick and ready. That's a great sign!
Behind him, Trung Canidate, 24, and Lamar Gordon, 34, showed some promise again but didn't break out. Besides the early stop on 4th and 1, the other Rams shining spots were tight end and backup wide receiver. Against the Chargers' D, Ernie Conwell, 84, and Brandon Manumaleuna, 86, broke loose 12-, 31-, and 37-yard completions. Those 3 plays will give D coordinators fits as they try to shut down one of Saint Louis' many weapons. On the wide receiver front, neither Francis St. Paul, 88, or Chris Taylor, 18, want to go home. Both showed some glimpses of why they should be around this year. I'd hate to be a coach and have to figure out who goes. Mike Martz and staff will probably spend all weekend trying to figure it out. Good luck and I would not trade you for your job this week.
In summary, things are not looking great. The Rams are showing great glimpses but haven't put it together. The biggest caveat (besides this is preseason) is that the Rams will face this team again and you hate to give it all you got to win a meaningless preseason game. The game next Friday in Kansas City should be an interesting one.