Feldman: Rams keys against Redskins

Feldman: Rams keys against Redskins

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 09: Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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by Brian Feldman / News 4 Sports

KMOV.com

Posted on September 15, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 16 at 3:04 PM

(FootballStL) -- I don't call any single game a "must win". I think we in the media tend to make too much of some games as saying they're more important than they really are...when in fact they're just as important as the next. 

In the Dome Sunday, however, the Rams have an opportunity to give all the fans that show up a reason to keep coming back. The worst thing that could happen is a dud in which the energy just plummets after an initial opening burst.

In order to accomplish these things versus the Redskins, here are what I consider to be the main keys to the game:

-- Pressure Robert Griffin III

In his first ever regular season game, the Saints were able to get to RGIII and sack him two times. They were also able to hit him five times. None of those hits, however, did any serious damage. The rookie from Baylor looked poised, confident and played like he'd been in the league for several years as he threw for 320 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He became the first ever player to win NFC Offensive Player of the Week in his debut game as a rookie.  For the Rams to effectively disrupt the young and emerging star, they've got to get to him on a consistent basis and make him realize those hits are going to happen all day. Robert Quinn and Chris Long have to get in his head. The Saints got to him a little. The Rams have to get to him a lot.  Pressuring a young QB is the easiest way to force him into mistakes. Griffin III has proven (or as much as you can prove in his extremely short time) that he won't force things and make stupid errors on his own. You have to press him into making decisions before he wants to make them. Then you've got a chance to create turnovers and gain momentum in your favor. I have a sneaking suspicion Rams defenders got extremely tired of answering questions from people like me all week about how great RGIII is and was against New Orleans. They're going to take that frustration out on Sunday. Will it work? Or will the Heisman winner make them look as bad as he did to the Saints? 

-- Win the turnover battle. Again.

Very few times do you see a team win the turnover battle three to nothing and actually lose. Well, the Rams accomplished that last week in Detroit.  But that just goes to show how much more talent the Lions have on their roster. Talking to the players after the game was over, just about all of them credited the coaching staff for preparing them for exactly what was going to happen on the field. And they say that's what led to all of those interceptions against Matthew Stafford. Obviously, there's a lot less of a track record to go from with Robert Griffin III at QB but these defenders believe in the coaching staff. And if the first week was any indication, that belief is well deserved. Teams that win the turnover battle typically win the game.  Last week was an aberration due to such lopsided talent. If the Rams can win that battle again this week, they should come out on top. The Redskins are not the Lions.

-- Make the play. Learn from mistakes.

It was incredibly cliche last week in Detroit. Everyone, and I mean everyone, said the reason the Rams lost to the Lions was simple. They didn't make a play when they needed it. Really? That's the analysis they gave us? I couldn't figure that out on my own. But, the more you think about it, the simple answer sometimes is all you need. Teams that win make plays. Teams that lose don't. And the Rams had been making enough plays all day to keep them in contention and gave them a chance to win it. But when the game was on the line at the end, Detroit made the big play to win it. It's been a similar story for five years here in St. Louis. Not enough talent. Not enough plays. The Rams have been close a million times. When are they going to turn that corner and actually make that play to win the game?  It's got to happen at some point right? Right?

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