Had Kellen Clemens and Brian Schottenheimer not gotten "cute" Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks, the St. Louis Rams might be 4-4 and looking at playoff scenarios. Instead, Clemens tried to do too much on two occasions, resulting in game-altering interceptions and Brian Schottenheimer emptied his backfield twice on the goal line. Instead, the Rams are 3-5 and are looking to reclaim a season that could quickly spiral downward if St. Louis doesn't hold serve at home against the Tennessee Titans.
The Rams showed on Monday that the formula of run first, stay in reasonable down and distance and depend on the defense to win the field position battle can be a winning one…if they stick to it. The Rams put up over 200 rushing yards against the stingy Seahawks defense. Tennessee enters Sunday's game with the 24th ranked rushing defense, surrendering over 117 yards per game.
St. Louis will have to utilize their entire stable of backs to accomplish this. Zac Stacy, the rookie out of Vanderbilt, will continue to be the "bell cow," but he enters Sunday nicked up with an ankle sprain that kept him out of the Rams game-ending red zone series on Monday. Daryl Richardson is still battling a nagging foot injury, but will be available to provide an outside threat.
Isaiah Pead is likely to be inactive again (non-injury related) but Benny Cunningham's return this week could help spell Stacy, keeping him fresh enough to finish this week.
Clemens and Schottenheimer will have to stay disciplined though. Clemens is a competitor. His forced passes aren't brain cramps; they're a product of him wanting to make plays, which is admirable. Clemens needs to know his limitations and the strength of the running game behind him, though, and remain committed to the game plan. The Rams don't have the luxury of losing scoring opportunities or surrendering field position.
Schottenheimer sometimes outthinks himself. While he can dial up some deep balls when the situation warrants, those will be few and far between. It may not be a creative game plan, but it can definitely work. Under know circumstances should the Rams ever line up without at least the threat of running the football with a back in the back field.
A win today and the Rams are still holding on to a faint hope of a winning season. A loss and it's time to enter into draft talk and damage control. The Rams need to KISS the Titans today.
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