They may have finished 7-8-1 and 3rd in the division, but this wasn’t a lost season by any stretch of the imagination for the St. Louis Rams. They didn’t reach the playoffs, but who honestly expected them to this year anyways?
What they did do however, was compete hard week in and week out, no matter who they were playing. There were even games were said work ethic and drive was enough to overcome massive talent deficits. Next year could be their year to break out, but in the meantime let’s evaluate the season that’s passed on offense for these Rams.
Sam Bradford and the Rams offense took massive strides forward this season. Following a disastrous season, in which he seemed perennially hurt and inconsistent as a result, Sam Bradford put up the best season of his career. He would complete 59.5% of his passes for 3702 yards, and 21 touchdowns to only 13 interceptions. He did it without his favorite target, and arguably his best receiver for most of the season as well in Danny Amendola.
It wasn’t just Bradford who took a big step forward for this offense though. Stepping up in the absence of the aforementioned Danny Amendola, Chris Givens and Brandon Gibson (the Rams 2 leading receivers) had themselves a very good year. Lance Kendricks also started to develop a rapport with Bradford as the season went on, and set career highs in nearly every stat. As a matter of fact, the only stat that went down this year was his targets, which makes his career highs all the more impressive.
In keeping with an evaluation of the offense, one can not overlook the Rams ground game. In what could very well be Steven Jackson’s last year as a Ram, it will go down as quite the swan song. He had his 8th straight 1,000 yard season on the ground, and finished with 1,042 in total. The assumed heir to Jackson’s throne, Isaiah Pead, fell short of expectations after being drafted in the second round. He struggled to get playing time, and was passed in the depth chart by 7th rounder Darryl Richardson. Richardson’s emergence in the running game was a welcomed surprise, and could make the departure of Steven Jackson much more manageable for this offense.
They’re far from the most explosive bunch in the league, but with the continued development of their young players who knows where they will be next year. Just imagine if they can have a healthy Danny Amendola for a season, or they pick up a big play receiver in free agency. The only noteworthy free agents for this Rams offense are Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola so you can expect next year’s Rams to look a lot like this year’s, at the very least in terms of personnel.