Chris Long recorded his first sack of the season and the St. Louis Rams defense showed off a distinct lack of worry about the Philadelphia Eagles’ vaunted offense in the first drive of the 2011 regular season Sunday, forcing the Eagles to punt from fourth-and-23 and setting up Steven Jackson’s first touchdown of the season.
The Rams’ defense was the most important part of the team’s return to relevance in 2010, finishing 12th in the NFL in points allowed. Long’s career-high 8.5 sacks were actually second on the team behind veteran DE James Hall, who recorded 10.5. Robert Quinn, the Rams’ first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, was chosen specifically to aid in the pass rush.
Vick had an outstanding season in his return to the NFL in 2010, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt and 6.8 yards per carry to combine for nearly 3700 yards in 11 starts. He’ll need to make more than that this year—after the Eagles traded a disgruntled Kevin Kolb this year his backup is noted work-in-progress Vince Young.