Scouting the Rams: No-huddle, no problem

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Numbers game 4 Penalties on special teams for the Rams last week, costing 33 yards. 350.5 Average passing yards allowed in two games by the Rams, to Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan.

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Think the Dallas Cowboys don’t run enough?

The St. Louis Rams ran only 18 times last week themselves, and one was a 23-yard scramble by quarterback Sam Bradford.

And why don’t they run any more than the Cowboys?

Because they are also going no-huddle.

Unlike the Cowboys, the Rams are getting results. Last week against Atlanta, the Rams drove 74, 75 and 67 yards for touchdowns on back-to-back-to-back possessions in the second half.

The Rams called only one run during those three drives combined. And although they ended up losing 31-24, they saw what they liked out of the no-huddle offense.

“Sam has a good understanding of that, he can run that,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “He does it in practice, and it’s good to see. We got points, we got their defense tired and got it within seven and thought we had a chance to get the ball back. We needed a key stop, and we didn’t get it.”

Fisher said the Rams went no-huddle because they trailed.

“We knew we had to pick it up,” he said. “And midway through the third quarter, we were going to have to come out and cut loose.”

The Rams have the sixth-fewest rushing attempts in the league, with 42 through two games. The Cowboys have the fifth-fewest, with 39.

Can the Rams keep it up?

“That is tough to say,” Bradford said. “I think we put a lot of pressure on them and wore them down, but at the same time, to play that way for an entire game, for those guys up front, that is pretty tough on them to do that. But you never know, and next week maybe it’s something we’ll go to a little sooner if we’re struggling early.”

USC connection

Rookie safety T.J. McDonald, who played at Southern Cal for Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, has started both games at safety. He is tied for third on the Rams with 12 tackles, plus a pass defensed. He has played every snap.

The Rams drafted McDonald in the third round. At USC, he led the team in tackles as a senior.

Special teams

Last week the Cowboys were pinned all day by the Kansas City Chiefs’ punting. The Rams’ punting was just as good last week.

Johnny Hekker had an average of 49.7 yards with a net of 49.0 on six punts against the Atlanta Falcons. The previous week, he had an average of 49.0 and a net of 42.0.

But Hekker has only one touchback and one punt downed inside the 20. Last week, the Chiefs downed five punts inside the 20 against the Cowboys.

Injury report

•  Right tackle Rodger Saffold hurt his knee in Sunday’s game and was on crutches afterward. It was the second time this year he had a knee injury.

•  Safety Matt Daniels was put on IR with a fractured ankle.

This report includes material from St. Louis reporters.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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