The 5-8 Rams host New Orleans this weekend for the first time since defeating the Saints 31-21 in 2011. Here are three keys to observe during Sunday’s game.
Establishing the Run
As the Rams’ running game has performed this year, so has the rest of the offensive unit. In the five games in which the Rams have rushed for 120 or more yards, they have averaged 28.8 points. In their other eight games, they’ve been limited to just 18.1 points per contest. For the first time since taking over as the team’s lead back, RB
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer emphasized the need to find running room this week at his weekly press conference.
“I think the big thing is teams are gearing up to stop it,” Schottenheimer said. “I think there are some things that we need to do just from an execution standpoint, some of our double teams and stuff. We’ve been getting split a little bit. I think the big thing is just preach the fundamentals, our takeoff, getting guys kind of coming off together, getting our fits together in the run game. There are some things I think that (RB) Zac (Stacy) can do, in terms of pressing the ball, making sure he makes the decision late at the line of scrimmage. Again, teams know they want to try to make us one-dimensional. I think this should be a good week where we can try to get back to running the ball. And again, it’s going to ultimately come down to our execution and our ability to work on some of those finer details.”
Containing Jimmy Graham
“He can do it all,” Rams LB
Perhaps no statistic has been more telling regarding the Rams’ success on a given week than their performance in the first half. In each of their five victories this year, the Rams have been either tied or leading at the half. That figure becomes further magnified against New Orleans, who has also relied heavily on starting quickly. The Saints are 0-3 when beginning the second half with a deficit.