The NFL is a tricky game, isn’t it? As soon as you think you have a handle on things, you get a surprise game plan or poor performance throwing you back to square one. With that in mind, here are five things that I took away from last nights game:
1) I still believe in Ryan Williams… kinda, sorta, maybe?
It was an awful showing for Williams last night against a defense that entered the day allowing 135.2 rushing yards per game. Whenever you take on that defense and manage just 33 yards on 14 carries (with a long of 12 yards) you have to walk away with a lot of blame. However, it all does not fall squarely on his shoulders. The Cardinals’ offensive line couldn’t block anyone, whether it be via the running or passing game (keep in mind, the Rams entered the day with 6 sacks in 4 games, but they left with 15 sacks in 5 games. That alone tells you how bad it was.)
That being said, Williams was supposed to be the hope for the Cardinals’ running game. He was supposed to push Beanie Wells and supplant him. Maybe Williams still has his injury from 2011 in the back of his head, but at this point it is very easy to imagine Wells sliding right back into the starters role when healthy. Just to male matters worse, Williams was forced out of the secnd half with a shoulder injury. It’s one game and I wouldn’t write Williams off, but regardless of the matchup it is now impossible to trust him until he shows us otherwise.
2) The Rams passing game is in serious trouble
It wasn’t like Danny Amendola was having a big day before leaving with an injury (1 catch on 5 targets), but at least he had proven to be a steady, capable target for Sam Bradford. Where exactly do they go for the next few weeks if he is on the sidelines? Only one Rams receiver managed to catch more than one pass last night, so that should give us a good idea of where things stand.
The options are not going to jump out at you, like Chris Givens, Brandon Gibson or rookie Brian Quick. Maybe this will open up a chance for Steve Smith, who was a healthy scratch? I wouldn’t want to gamble on any of these options, but if I had to and was desperate, it may be Gibson.
3) Andre Roberts is for real
Roberts didn’t have a huge game, with 5 receptions for 39 yards, but he was targeted 10 times opposite Larry Fitzgerald. He has now been targeted 19 times in the past two weeks and has 9 or more targets three times in five games. Yes, we would like to see him become a bit more efficient (20 receptions on 35 targets), but as long as he is going to get opportunities he is going to be worthy of a roster spot. We have long been waiting for someone to emerge opposite of Fitzgerald and, at long last, it appears Roberts could be the guy.
4) Greg Zuerlin ma be the best kicker in the NFL
It’s a bold statement, but the rookie has quickly made a major impression. Last night he connect from 53 yards, his fourth kick of at least 50 yards (third in the past two weeks) and ninth of at least 40 yards. A perfect 13-for-13 to start his career, a lackluster Rams offense should continue to give him opportunities to produce field goals. Depending on who you own, Zuerlin is proving that he is worth grabbing in all formats. Kickers are often overlooked, but he could be a difference maker if he can continue to hit long field goals at this pace.
5) Steven Jackson still has something in the tank, but that doesn’t necessarily mean much
I know 76 yards on 18 carries is not the most impressive line, but if he had found the end zone no one would be complaining today. This was his best performance of the season, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. I know he has yet to break a run of more than 23 yards, and also gets a tough Dolphins defense in Week 6. While this is a step in the right direction, he still needs to show us a whole lot more. He needs to find the end zone… He neds to produce bigger yard totals… With Amendola out you would hope he could step up, but we will have to wait and see. For next week, he feels like more of a FLEX play than anything.
What did you take away from last night’s game?
Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: