There were moments when the St. Louis Rams, one of football's perennial up-and-comers, showed exactly what got people so excited about the combination of number-one draft pick Sam Bradford and new offensive-coordinator-slash-mad-scientist Josh McDaniels. At one point the Rams were so dominant, and so ruthlessly efficient working without a huddle, that two separate New York Giants faked injuries to stop the clock. Bradford unleashed the deep passing ability we've hoped for since the draft, and Danario Alexander had the best game of his career a year after being inactive for opening day. On defense the Rams continually pressured Eli Manning, with vaunted young defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn each picking up sacks and free-agent pickup Quintin Mikell reversing momentum early with an interception.
Unfortunately, when it came to the kind of football plays that don't happen 40 times a game, the Rams collapsed again and again. Rookie Greg Salas dropped a punt deep in Rams territory, and the Giants turned a muffed lateral between Sam Bradford and Cadillac Williams into a 65-yard touchdown return. That's how a team can eat more than 400 yards on offense, hold Eli Manning to 200 yards passing, and lose 28-16.
The good news: That's one of the less-repeatable ways to lose 28-16. It's little consolation today, but these Rams showed they were dangerous right now—and when they get out of their own way their offensive fireworks will be quite a sight.