Tale Of The Tape: St. Louis Rams At Indianapolis Colts
- QuarterbackThe Rams are a feisty and competitive lot under head coach Jeff Fisher, but their ability to win tough games took a huge hit when Sam Bradford was injured. Backup Kellen Clemens is a decent player and he is adept at making plays in Brian Schottenheimer’s offense, but he tends to make mistakes when protection breaks down.Andrew Luck is probably the best of the young quarterbacks in the game, and he probably belongs in the top 10 at his position overall. However, he is being hamstrung by Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, who rarely allows Luck to throw downfield. He is giving this young star a conservative gameplan and that is hurting the quarterback’s ability to light up the scoreboard.
- OffenseThe Rams got a big lift from running back Zac Stacy in their Week Nine loss to Tennessee. Stacy ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns and was very aggressive running with the ball. Chris Given is a decent receiver who can get open and make plays if Clemens is accurate while tight end Jared Cook is an above average red zone target who caught a TD pass against the Titans.The Colts picked up Trent Richardson from Cleveland earlier in the year to give Luck a viable running game, but he has been a disappointment. Donald Brown appears to be a better running back at this point. T.Y. Hilton must come through with big plays while solid tight end Coby Fleener is a valuable third-down target.
- DefenseThe Rams don’t always play consistently on defense even though they have a slew of talented players. Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis had another excellent game against the Titans as he recorded nine tackles and had 1.0 sacks. Laurinaitis leads the team with 64 tackles while Robert Quinn has a team-high 7.0 sacks.The Rams will not have an easy time of it as they compete against the physical Colts on their home turf. Head coach Chuck Pagano’s team may make a few mistakes but they play with enthusiasm and energy. Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman has excellent instincts and is usually in the right position to make the tackle while Antoine Bethea is a hard hitting safety.
- Special TeamsPlacekicker Greg Zuerlein did not have a good game against the Titans as he missed his only field goal attempt. However, Zuerlein has a very strong leg and can connect from 55-plus yards. Punter Johnny Hekker can kick away from the returner and he averaged 48.4 yards on five punts against the Titans.The Colts do a nice job of covering punts and kickoffs and rarely allow a big return. Hilton has blazing speed and excellent change of direction and is capable of an impact return. Adam Vinatieri is still one of the best placekickers in the game and Pat McAfee is a fine punter.
Fisher gets the most out of his team and they are not going to let the Colts walk all over them. However, the Rams just don’t have enough firepower to stay with Indianapolis and while they could keep it close for a half, the Colts should dominate in the end. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor