Lifeless. No other way to describe the second half by the Rams. The hot issue on talk radio this week will be the vanilla pre-season. But, Scott Linehan was vanilla and conservative last year and the Rams opened with a great effort in week one. Besides, 90 percent of NFL teams treat pre- season the way the Rams did. I'll be more analytical in my approach to this loss.
After an impressive 15 play opening drive for a touchdown, the offense did next to nothing. Of course, losing Orlando Pace hurt but doesn't explain everything. You can't score when you can't stay on the field. The Rams had the ball for just ten minutes and one second of the second half. After starting the game 5 for 5 on third down chances, the Rams converted just two of their final 11 opportunities. A contributing factor was the Rams' ineffectiveness on first down. Marc Bulger was just 5 of 16 for 48 yards throwing the ball on first down.
The Panthers' game plan to take Steven Jackson out of the passing attack worked to perfection. They used a "spy" to limit Steven to one catch for three yards. Linebacker Dan Morgan was all over Steven every time he crossed the line of scrimmage. Greg Olsen and Scott Linehan are going to have to solve this issue. The 49ers will do the same thing next week.
The defense was gashed on the ground again. Carolina gained 186 yards on 38 carries--an average of 4.9 per rushing attempt. Those numbers are worse than last year's numbers(145 yards per game). This despite some strong individual plays by Adam Carriker. And the 49ers are a lot better running team than the Panthers. Frank Gore will be pounding away at the Rams defense next Sunday.
Is the season over? Of course not. But the Rams can ill afford to lose the first two at home. A loss next week would drop the Rams to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the NFC West.