Takeaways from St. Louis Rams’ 34-28 Loss to Philadelphia Eagles


The St. Louis Rams weren’t at their best for most of Sunday’s 34-28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, but we saw some very impressive things, most notably three touchdown drives led by first-year starting quarterback Austin Davis over the game’s final 17 minutes to seriously erode a 34-7 deficit. While the offense ultimately fizzled out on the final drive, it was nice to see that the Rams’ offense is at least capable of scoring at a high level.

Still, it’s unacceptable to accept a “moral victory” from a team that now is filled with many established second and third-year players. As James Laurinaitis appropriately said after the loss, “everyone says great effort…goodness, you’re playing in the NFL. You should have a great effort.”

The Rams will look to rebound from their 1-3 start next week against the talented but struggling San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. Until then, here are a few observations from the loss to the Eagles:

  • Davis and wide receiver Brian Quick look like they’re going to be legitimate contributors in this offense. Davis has shown incredible moxie in his time as the starter, and while many quarterbacks would have folded under the pressure of a 34-7 deficit like Davis faced on Sunday, he rallied the offense together and gave them a great chance to come back and tie the game. Quick, who had five catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, has really broken through and is now pretty clearly the Rams’ number one option, leading the team with 21 catches for 322 yards and three touchdowns. Quick is on pace to be the Rams’ first 1000-yard receiver in a season since Torry Holt had 1189 yards back in 2007. That’s very impressive for a guy who looked to be on the roster bubble at the beginning of training camp.
  • Speaking of the roster bubble, it’s somewhat difficult to comprehend why receivers Austin Pettis, and by extension Chris Givens, are still a part of this football team. Pettis’s only job is to catch the ball; he’s one of the slower receivers in the NFL, and with an average of  3.1 yards after the catch in 2013, he finished tied for 96th in the league among receivers who played at least 25 percent of their snaps (according to Pro Football Focus). Despite that, he had two very costly drops on Sunday that played a huge role in the Rams’ failure on their final drive. You’d think that if a receiver isn’t going to do anything after the catch, he should at least be able to hold onto the ball.
  • Givens was a healthy inactive for only the second time in his career on Sunday, with the first time having been a de-facto suspension in San Francisco for a violation of team rules during his rookie season. No matter what team you play on, it’s not good to be inactive when you’re a third-year player who’s had as many chances to establish yourself as Givens has had. It should be interesting to see if he’s the first guy out if and when the Rams need to add extra depth at another position on their 53-man roster.

More from St. Louis Rams

  • The Rams’ defensive line, coined “Sack City” before the season, really needs to work things out. The defense is now on pace for four sacks on the season, and the line simply is not creating enough pressure to make an impact. Robert Quinn, the $66.5 million-dollar man, has been particularly disappointing, though Sunday was probably his best game of the season so far. A decent argument can be made that undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks, who has four tackles spread over limited action in three games, has been the Rams’ best-performing defensive lineman. While it’s great that the Rams have gotten such good value out of Westbrooks as an undrafted free agent, it’s alarming that they’ve had such little production from a defensive line that they invested so heavily in.
  • On the other side of the ball, the Rams’ offensive line also had their fair share of struggles on Sunday. That particularly applied to veteran left tackle Jake Long and center Scott Wells, both of whom had very noticeable miscues. Long’s most notable mistake was a whiff of a block that led to an Austin Davis fumble and a recovery for a touchdown by the Eagles’ Cedric Thornton. Long struggled all day and seemed to be laboring just to get into a proper pass-blocking stance. It’s highly possible that he’s still feeling the effects of the torn ACL that ended his season prematurely in 2013.
  • Wells, meanwhile, struggled once again and continued his rough start to the season. Wells was particularly exposed by the Eagles’ 3-4 defense, which features a nose tackle lined up directly over the center. Wells failed to maintain many of his blocks, and that led to increased pressure up the middle from the Eagles on Sunday.
  • Rookie cornerback E.J. Gaines looks like the real deal and came down with his first NFL interception on Sunday. With as spotty as Janoris Jenkins‘ performance has been over the past year, it seems increasingly likely that Jenkins could be shifted into the nickel role when Trumaine Johnson returns from his knee injury, especially considering how inconsistent rookie nickelback Lamarcus Joyner has been over the Rams’ first four games.