What Went Wrong: St. Louis Rams
Previously I wrote about what went wrong for the Packers, but what about the other 30 teams that won't win the Super Bowl this year?
For the St. Louis Rams the nightmare season of 2009 began right on the opening kickoff of Week One. Donnie Avery fumbled away the kick and it was all downhill from there.
Coming off a 2-14 campaign in 2008 the Rams didn't do much to upgrade the offense so it was the Steven Jackson show throughout the year. Jackson responded with a solid season but paid a heavy toll with the constant wear-and-tear that came with being the team's only real threat. On the year Jackson finished second in rushing but only scored four times. Not surprising, Jackson also led the team in receiving but that reveals one of the Rams major problems from '09. The young receiving corp led by Avery never developed and the Rams finished last in scoring and 29th in total offense. With such a workload Jackson was too banged up to carry the team by the end of the year. Aside from Jackson, the injuries piled up throughout 2009 forcing the Rams to start third string quarterback Keith Null. If it sounds like the Rams offense was all Jackson all the time, it was and St. Louis was never a threat offensively.
Youth was on full display defensively with defensive end Chris Long and rookie linebacker James Laurinaitis. But there was simply not enough talent to go around as the Rams finished second to last in scoring defense. With a lack of playmakers the Rams finished toward the bottom of the league in sacks, interceptions and forced fumbles. The schedule didn't do the Rams any favors as St. Louis was carved up by Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub and Kurt Warner among others. The lone bright spot in the secondary was free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe who accumulated 74 tackles in just 12 games.
With an offense that produced little outside of Jackson and a defense that couldn't make enough plays the Rams sunk to a league-worst 1-15 record. The lone win came against the equally bad Detroit Lions In his first year at the helm, head coach Steve Spagnuolo tried to get the most out of his players. Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants when the G Men featured one of the league's fiercest pass rush but that did not rub off on the Rams in 2009. Until St. Louis finds playmakers on both sides the Rams will continue to languish in the NFL's basement.