Sports

2012 NFL Week 14 Recap, Analysis: St. Louis Rams vs. Buffalo Bills

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It was a hard fought road win, and with it the Rams kept their slim playoff hopes alive. Apparently they can play well outside their division, and they made that perfectly clear in Buffalo. The Rams are now 6-6-1, have their first three game winning streak since 2006, and if you believe in minor miracles still have a chance at getting a playoff spot.

Although both teams struggled mightily in the first half on offense, the Rams looked just plain awful. Both sides traded three and outs for the 8 or so minutes of the game, and even once the chains started moving it was far from a slugfest. Bradford was feeling the heat early on, and had a difficult time finding any open receivers.

The constant pressure, and poor receiver play against tough man coverage would lead to a Bradford interception at the end of the half on an ill advised throw right into the arms of Stephon Gilmore. The timing couldn’t have been worse, and it could have very easily been a deflating moment for the young Rams squad, but Jeff Fisher was having none of that.

Coming out of the half, the Rams made the proper adjustments and looked much better on offense. Bradford was starting to get into a groove, Jackson was starting to break off some sizeable runs, and Gibson was finding ways to beat man coverage. The offensive line also stepped up in the second half and the Bills pass rush became a complete non-factor. Bradford was also cool as a cucumber in the final drive for the Rams offense, running a successful 2 minute drill to give the Rams a one point lead. He then put the icing on the cake with a 2 point conversion pass to Chris Givens. He almost looked like a first overall pick.

The defense was also on point today, and kept the Bills offense in check for the most part. The fabled Bills ground game looked awfully average facing the Rams on Sunday. Arguably one of the league’s best one-two punches in the backfield, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller would combine for only 51 yards on the ground for the day. The best part of the defensive performance by the Rams today though, was their ability to get off the field and fast. They only let the Bills convert 3 of 12 3rd downs. They would also seal the deal with a Jo-Lonn Dunbar interception late in the fourth.

Encouraging signs aplenty if you’re a Rams fan. They won, on the road, out of their division, and did so with a perfect road performance. It wasn’t pretty, but it certainly did the trick. If this team can get Amendola down the stretch, who knows, maybe they could make some noise and squeeze their way into the playoffs. Especially at the rate the Bears are losing.