Rams Vs. Bengals: Rams Fall 20-13 In Kellen Clemens's Surprise Debut

The St. Louis Rams (2-11) host the Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) in Week 15. Can the Rams still make waves by upsetting the AFC playoff picture?

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27 Total Updates since December 14, 2011
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Rams Vs. Bengals Final Score: St. Louis Falls 20-13, Steven Jackson Has Big Afternoon

The St. Louis Rams’ starting quarterback had less than two weeks to learn Josh McDaniels’s notoriously complex offense, and the result looked remarkably like Pat Shurmur’s 2010 gameplan for Sam Bradford. Kellen Clemens reacted well to the low-risk offense, but the reward was just as low, and the Rams fell 20-13 to the Cincinnati Bengals. Steven Jackson had 143 total yards as the Rams’ offensive weapon of first and last resort in the lost, ending the game just 34 yards short of his seventh straight 1000-yard rushing season.

Danario Alexander caught his second touchdown pass of the season in the fourth quarter, ending the game with three receptions for 52 yards; Jackson, Brandon Lloyd, Austin Pettis, and Lance Kendricks all had at least three receptions from Clemens, whose lob-shot to Alexander was his first passing touchdown in nearly four years.

Sam Bradford is done for the season, so this is what the Rams and their fans have to look forward to. Coming up in Weeks 16 and 17: A tug of war between the Rams’ dignity and their draft position.

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Rams Vs. Bengals Score: Danario Alexander Makes Outstanding Touchdown Catch, Rams Trail 20-13

The St. Louis Rams haven’t had a lot to cheer about in Week 15—or 2011 as a whole—but Danario Alexander’s enigmatic career continued with another remarkable catch, a leaping touchdown grab that put Kellen Clemens and company on the board with their first touchdown of the game. Clemens’s lofty pass into the end zone gave him his first touchdown since 2007; he’s 25-for-36 with 229 yards and a touchdown Sunday, 11 days after joining the Rams as their third-string quarterback.

The Rams were unable to get the ensuing onside kick, but as dignity-savers go Alexander’s catch would have been great, if the Rams had any dignity left. Alexander has three catches for 52 yards to go with the touchdown, giving Rams fans no closure at all from the former Mizzou star, whose chronic knee injuries have left the most dynamic receiver on the Rams roster on the sideline constantly and seemingly at random.

With Sam Bradford shut down for the remainder of the season, this is all the Rams have to look forward to: In Clemens, a potentially useful backup quarterback who isn’t A.J. Feeley; in Steven Jackson, a running back approaching an impressive milestone; in Danario Alexander, an incredibly frustrating role player.

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A.J. Green Injury Update: Green Finally Targeted Following Shoulder Injury

A.J. Green’s shoulder injury has proven to be one of the strangest storylines in a depressingly predictable St. Louis Rams-Cincinnati Bengals contest. Green returned quickly after falling painfully on his shoulder on a questionable pass interference call near halftime, but he continued to favor his shoulder while playing—including a third-quarter route in which he held his right arm down entirely and blocked, perfunctorily, with his left hand.

But in the fourth quarter Bengals fans finally got the answer they wanted from Green and Andy Dalton, who targeted him downfield for a perfectly normal-looking pass play and received, in return, a perfectly normal-looking reception for a first down.

Green has six receptions for 115 yards altogether, including a 55-yarder. On the year the rookie, whom the Rams were supposedly targeting heavily in their ultimately unsuccessful NFL Draft pursuit of an offensive playmaker, has 55 catches for 891 yards and seven touchdowns, which would—well, you’d be better off just not comparing those numbers to what the Rams’ receiving corps has done this year.

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St. Louis Rams Update: Steven Jackson Approaches 1000 Yards For Seventh Straight Season

The St. Louis Rams are losing again in Week 15, with third-stringer Kellen Clemens unable to show any more offensive promise than the injured Sam Bradford or the boring A.J. Feeley, but there is some good news: Steven Jackson continues to close in on a seventh consecutive 1000-yard rushing season. Jackson has 17 rushes for 72 yards, which puts him 33 away from 1000 with most of a quarter and Week 17 left.

Jackson’s seventh straight season would put him in a very prestigious group, of which LaDainian Tomlinson is the only other active member. Former Rams all-time rushing leader Eric Dickerson is another member, along with Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas, and Curtis Martin.

Prior to Sunday’s game Jackson had 202 rushes for 895 yards. He’s received fewer carries per game than in his disappointing 2010 and has done more with them, averaging a career-high 4.4 yards per carry. Unfortunately, nobody else on the Rams’ offense decided to come anywhere near a career high in 2011.

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Fantasy Football Update: Steven Jackson Is Still All The Rams Have

It's Week 15, 2011, and the end of the season is depressingly familiar for St. Louis Rams fans and fantasy football owners of Steven Jackson. For the seventh season in a row Jackson is closing in on a 1000 yard season, and after a brief respite in 2010 he closes the season out as the lone option on a historically brutal Rams offense. The good news for keeper leaguers is that at 28 Jackson has responded to a lighter workload with an impressive 4.4 yards per carry after a disappointing 2010 in which he averaged 3.8. 

Jackson also has five touchdowns in 12 games—which wouldn't be impressive except it's an improvement over his four in 15 and six in 16 over the last two seasons. With two games left Jackson's 105 yards away from that seventh 1000 yard season. Jim Thomas writes that Jackson would join four Hall of Famers and two Hall of Fame locks among the only players ever to do it; in a season where Rams fans have had little at all to be proud of, Jackson's solid comeback certainly counts for something.

I only wish it counted for more. 

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Sam Bradford Injury: Bradford Still Doubtful, TV Ratings Still Questionable

Sam Bradford, the St. Louis Rams’ best and brightest hope for 2011 and beyond, is doubtful for Sunday’s Week 15 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to the injury report’s most recent update. If you were on the fence about watching the Rams before—well, I don’t suppose you’re Kellen Clemens’s mom, are you? Because I’ve got great news about how watchable this next game will be.

As for the rest of America, Bradford’s injury does terrible things to the noon game that some unlucky Kirksville-based Green Bay Packers fan is likely to get by mistake. Not only will the Rams’ performance be irrelevant to the future of their 2011 season, the loss of their franchise quarterback means this is likely to have little bearing on how the team looks next season, unless Clemens decides to show the world just how he feels about losing quarterback contests to both national-antihero-Brett-Favre and Mark Sanchez in the same career.

That leaves you with—well, it looks like Chris Long will play! You can see how many sacks he runs up this year!

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Sam Bradford Injury: St. Louis Rams Likely To Start 3rd-String QB, Kellen Clemens

The St. Louis Rams (2-11) have an increasingly tough challenge facing them in Week 15, when they square off against the Cincinatti Bengals (7-6). According to the Rams official Twitter account, the team may be without their top quarterback for another week:

QB Sam Bradford, who has been struggling with a high ankle sprain for several weeks, has already missed three games in the 2011 NFL season. The bad news continues as the team is also without the services of backup quarterback A.J. Feeley, who has already been ruled out with a right thumb injury.

The Rams will instead be forced to start six-year veteran QB Kellen Clemens, who has not played in a game since 2010, and has not started an NFL game since 2009.

Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Rams be sure to visit Turf Show Times. For more on the Cincinnati Bengals, check out Cincy Jungle. Visit SB Nation NFL for more news and notes around the league.

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