Week 6 Game Recap: St. Louis Rams 28, Indianapolis Colts 45
What you need to know
Marc Bulger started the game strongly, completing a high percentage of his passes for good yardage gains. Unfortunately, the Rams, and Bulger himself, paid dearly for his first mistake. His second quarter interception was the tipping point in the game. To make matters worse, Bulger was sidelined for the rest of the game with a sprained shoulder that occurred when he encountered a blocker on the interception return. Backup Jamie Martin stepped in, and filled in nicely until the second half. Martin threw two drive opening interceptions that led directly to Coltsí touchdowns, effectively putting the game out of reach. The early word on Bulgerís shoulder injury is that it will likely sideline him a couple of weeks.
Steven Jackson and Marshall Faulk totaled over 100 yards rushing together, but it wasnít nearly enough to keep the Rams in the game. On the Rams first drive Jackson looked unstoppable, but the Colts defense tightened up on him in the second half, and even forced a fumble that led to an Indianapolis touchdown.
The Rams defense shut the Colts down on their first two drives of the game, but after that, it was an Indianapolis romp. Edgerrin James ran wild, and Peyton Manning contributed two passing touchdowns as the Colts offense took advantage of all four St. Louis turnovers, efficiently converting them into 28 points.
The heralded Coltsí defense came into this game allowing less than seven points to each of their first five opponents. That quickly changed, as St. Louis scored 17 points in the gameís first seven and a half minutes. Once they forced their first turnover, however, the momentum of the game changed, and both sides of the Indianapolis team proceeded to play lights out the rest of the way, outscoring St. Louis 45 to 11.
Peyton Manning played an efficient game, throwing mostly shorter passes for a high percentage. He managed to avoid any interceptions, while throwing two touchdowns to his two favorite receivers---Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. Manning and Harrison broke the career record for touchdowns thrown from one quarterback to one receiver; breaking the record previously held by Steve Young and Jerry Rice.
Edgerrin James was the most dominant force in this game, racking up 143 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The St. Louis defense couldnít stop him, and he regularly got eight or nine yards on first down, setting up easy conversion situations for the Coltsí offense. Dominic Rhodes contributed as well, adding a touchdown on one of his 12 carries.
The Colts faced the adversity of going behind early like champions. They fought back with a turnover based defense and a high scoring offense, ending the game with a big win. They remain the leagueís only undefeated team through six weeks.
What you ought to know
Martin began his game going seven for his first seven. He led the Rams to a field goal at the end of the first half. The second half was a completely different story, as he started and ended two St. Louis drives with interceptions. His turnovers proved costly, and enabled Indianapolis to run away with the game. He did manage a garbage time touchdown, to tight end Cam Cleeland.
Bulger played well in the early portion of the game. He was highly accurate on all his throws. His night ended on his lone interception of the game, and he injured his shoulder on the ensuing runback. Colts linebacker David Thornton made a bee line for Bulger after the interception looking to nail the quarterback. It wasnít an illegal hit but it was pretty obvious Thornton went after the QB. The injury was described as both a shoulder bruise and then a shoulder sprain. Jamie Martin filled in for him. After the game Bulger said he expected to miss a couple of weeks.
Jackson ran strongly, especially in the first half. He started the game with a couple of big runs, including a touchdown, on the Ramsí opening drive. The Colts defense keyed on him more in the later portions of the game, seemingly due to Marc Bulgerís absence. He was targeted heavily in the passing game, especially by Jamie Martin, who checked down to him several times. Jackson made a costly fumble in the second half that led to seven Indianapolis points.
Faulk both spelled Jackson and played a little bit of the third down back role. Often he was in when the offensive set called for speed as opposed to power. He contributed on both the ground and through the air, and made some nice moves that provided a memory to fantasy football fans of the stuff he used to flash all the time.
Holt was once again the Ramsí preferred receiving target, although the tough Coltsí defense only allowed six of those targets to be caught. Many balls were actually inaccurate, especially with backup Jamie Martin in the game. Still, Holt gave a decent performance despite the difficult situation.
Curtis is the clear number two wide receiver option with Isaac Bruce out. His touchdown came in the first quarter, as he stutter stepped and then blew past his defender and Marc Bulger hit him in stride for an easy 57 yard touchdown.
Looker snagged both of his targets on the Ramsí last drive of the first half.
Bruce was inactive due to his injured toe.
Cleelandís touchdown came from Jamie Martin, on the fourth quarter garbage time drive.
Manumaleunaís only catch of the game came on the first play of the game.
Wilkins was good on both of his extra point attempts, and on field goals of 29 and 49 yards.
Edgerrin James killed the Ramsí defense. He exploded for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns. Backup Dominic Rhodes also contributed a touchdown. All told, a poor performance that highlighted both the Ramsí attempt to control the Coltsí passing game and the talent of James.
The Rams did well to keep hold Manning under 200 yards. That said, it wasnít a spectacular performance either. Manning wasnít forced to throw as much with the Indianapolis running game working so well. Plus, he did manage to throw two second half touchdowns. When he wanted to pass, he could, and likely would have had better numbers were the game situation different.
|QB Peyton Manning, Pass: 22 - 32 - 191 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 6 - 0|
Manning was very solid in this game, directing the Coltsí offense to the win. He led his team on seven scoring drives, four of which were direct results of St. Louis turnovers. He connected with both Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison for second half touchdowns. The later was the 86th between the duo, a new NFL record. His yardage total wasnít spectacular due to throwing primarily short slants, screens, and underneath routes. It was a good case of the team taking what they were given.
Backup quarterback Sorgi played the last Indianapolis series of the game. He didnít attempt a pass, and had negative two yards on two kneel downs to end the game.
James was awesome in this game. He didnít have any huge runs, but he had several medium range ones, and looked unstoppable throughout the game. His ran in three scores, got over 140 yards, and surely made his fantasy owners happy. He did give up some goal line work to Dominic Rhodes which is a little worrisome but thatís about the only negative you could find with his performance.
Rhodes saw some significant time spelling James, particularly on a goal line series in the third quarter. Despite several failed efforts, Rhodes did manage to blast in for a touchdown on third and goal. He also saw some carries in garbage time.
Taking what the defense allowed, Manning looked to Wayne far more than any other receiver, and as such Wayne had the best numbers of any Indianapolis receiver; 59 yards and a touchdown.
Harrison was largely silent through the first three quarters of the game. All that failed to matter when Peyton Manning hit him for the duoís 86th all time touchdown strike. Harrison also nearly scored again on the next drive, but was downed just shy of the goal line.
Stokley made a few nice catches in the game, but was clearly fourth in line behind Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne.
Clarkís catches primarily came early in the game. He showed outstanding hands and provided an additional safety valve in addition to James.
Vanderjagt was five for five on PATs, and made a 22 yard field goal. He missed a 48 yarder in the first half.
The rush defense was soft early allowing Steven Jackson to tear them up in the first quarter for great yardage and a touchdown. They stiffened up in the second half, denying Jackson and Faulk throughout the half, only giving up significant yardage in garbage time. Defensive end Dwight Freeney caused a Steven Jackson fumble.
The pass defense was superb, picking off St. Louis quarterbacks three times. They allowed two touchdowns, once by Kevin Curtis where the defender stumbled badly on a double move, and the other to tight end Cam Cleeland in late game garbage time. Otherwise, the pressure was good (despite St. Louis tackle Orlando Pace limiting Dwight Freeney to zero sacks) and the defense managed to get the ball away from the Rams and into the hands of Peyton Manning. This proved to be the story of the game, as all four Coltsí takeaways were converted into touchdowns.