What a difference eight weeks can make.
As the Rams prepare for their second meeting of the season against longtime division rival San Francisco, they can look back to the last game between the two teams as a measuring stick for just how far this team has come in a two-month span.
Following their Thursday night loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4, the Rams stood at 1-3, and had lost their last two games by a combined score of 66-18. They had posted just 18 rushing yards against the 49ers, a season-low. As difficult as the situation may have appeared at the time, it bears no resemblance to the Rams team that has taken the field in recent weeks.
The loss to San Francisco was the impetus for a number of changes, primarily in the team’s running game. In the seven weeks following rookie
“The last seven weeks, we’re averaging 31 rush attempts per game and over 150 yards and about 4.9 (yards) per carry,” Head Coach Jeff Fisher said during his Monday news conference. “We focused in on it and we stuck with it and we emphasized it, and it’s allowed us to be successful here as of late. Like I said, that’s a credit to the whole group.”
The difference has not been limited to the running game, however. The Rams’ run defense, also maligned at times in the first four games, turned in its second consecutive game in which it allowed 80 or fewer yards on the ground. Furthermore, in perhaps the most telling statistic during the Rams’ recent success, an opportunistic defensive unit has helped the Rams to a 17:8 takeaway to turnover ratio in the past seven games.
With the Rams now positioned at 5-6 and on the periphery of the NFC playoff hunt, they will have their chance at redemption this week against the 7-4 49ers, but are quick to acknowledge there is much yet to be accomplished.
“I wouldn’t call it a roll yet,” DE
The strides made over the past eight weeks have also come despite a significant amount of adversity. The Rams have dealt with the loss of starting QB
"This is what it's all about,” Clemens said after the Rams’ latest victory. “That's why we play the game, for the atmosphere in here... We're a close-knit team. We don't have any of the egos. We don't have any issues like that. That's why you play it."