This wasn't a game that the St. Louis Rams were necessarily supposed to win. This was an 0-7 team coming in to play one of the league's best teams, an offensive juggernaut coming off a record-setting 62-7 drubbing of a similarly hapless Indianapolis Colts team. This was already a pretty mediocre team, except they were playing without their star quarterback and former No. 1 overall pick. They were playing with A.J. Feeley instead.
Yet, in the end, none of it mattered. For one day, A.J. Feeley looked like a legitimate NFL starting quarterback, the Rams' defense buckled down and the New Orleans Saints looked downright vulnerable, eons away from the team that put a historically significant beat down on Indy. It wasn't the kind of effort that we'd seen from the Rams yet, but it's the kind of performance that can happen when everyone assumes that you're just preparing for a nice, neatly packaged defeat.
From early on, you could tell that the Rams came out to play today. They jumped out to a 24-0 lead behind defense and special teams, as well as the strong field positions that were a result of those efforts. A.J. Feeley wasn't spectacular, but he avoided mistakes and managed the game well, enabling Steven Jackson to have a huge day on the ground.
You can certainly argue that Jackson may have been the team's MVP this week. Running for 159 yards on 25 carries and getting another 32 yards receiving on four catches, Jackson was the cornerstone of the team's offensive efforts today with star QB Sam Bradford inactive. Of the team's 323 yards from scrimmage, Jackson accounted for over 59 percent of them.
Many of the team's big moments came on offense and special teams, though. The Rams really got their momentum going with Robert Quinn's blocked punt in the second quarter, and a couple of costly New Orleans turnovers were key in determining the outcome of the game. The Rams quickly pushed to a 17-0 lead after Drew Brees' first interception of the day, and they stomped out a possible comeback with Darian Stewart's pick-six with just three minutes left in the game.
The Rams were also shockingly dominant on run defense, limiting New Orleans to just 56 yards on 20 carries. That has to be viewed as a major coup for the NFL's worst run defense. Coming into the game, the Rams gave up an average of 184 yards per game on the ground, one of the primary reasons for their brutal early-season win-loss record.
In general, this season is going to be viewed as something of a disappointment for the Rams. They were considered a potential dark horse contender a few months ago, but it took them half of the season to actually win their first game. Between the Sam Bradford injuries and everything, it's a pretty frustrating time to be a Rams fan. But Sunday, even with A.J. Feeley taking a far-too-large role in things, it was a pretty good time to be a Rams fan.