The St. Louis Rams didn't have a lot of positive news to take from their brutal 45-7 loss to the New England Patriots, but the continued big-play ability Chris Givens has shown was one bright spot. For the fifth week in a row Givens had a reception of at least 50 yards on Sunday, and this one came tied to his second touchdown of the season. He finished with three catches in four targets for 63 yards, which leaves him with 13 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. Not bad for a fourth-round pick. You can see the play on NFL.com video, if you missed it.
How nice has Givens's rookie season been so far? It might be best, to get the true Rams-fan feeling, to compare him to other rookie wide receivers in their checkered recent history. Through eight games last year, third-rounder Austin Pettis had 17 catches for 146 yards; Greg Salas, the relative success, had 27 for 264. 2010 fourth-rounder Mardy Gilyard, three years later, has six receptions for 63 yards. 2009 fifth-rounder Brooks Foster was injured that first preseason, placed on IR, and is now in the CFL.
You have to go back to Donnie Avery in 2008 to find a Rams rookie who did more in his first half-season. Like Givens, Avery was a small, fast deep threat with injury concerns. Unlike Givens, the Rams bet a second-round pick on Avery.
And while Avery might have ended his Rams career as a disappointment, we've had years of additional disappointment in the meantime—right now, the thought that Givens might turn into a healthy Donnie Avery seems like a massive victory for the Rams' passing game.