The Colts and the Rams meet on Sunday in Indianapolis. The Rams' last visit to Lucas Oil Stadium was for the first preseason game last year, Andrew Luck's NFL debut. His first pass went for 63 yards and a touchdown to Donald Brown. In the preseason contest, the Colts dominated the Rams. This Sunday will be different. Not only does this game actually matter now, but the Rams are a much improved team too. The game will be broadcast on FOX at 1:00 eastern time and Bob Lamey and Jim Sorgi will once again have the call on the radio on WFNI and WHLK locally in Indianapolis.
What Happened Last Week?
The Colts stunk for the first half. Just plain stunk. And then, down 18 points on the road against a division rival with an offensive line that couldn't block, receivers who couldn't catch, and a defense that couldn't cover Andre Johnson, the Colts mounted an 18-point comeback and won 27-24. Unbelievable. Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton connected for 3 touchdowns late and the Colts shocked the Texans, improving to 6-2 and taking an even firmer grip on the AFC South lead.
The Rams also played an AFC South team last week, facing the Titans. Backup--turned-starter Kellen Clemens played well and running back Zac Stacy continued his tremendous season by rushing for 127 yards, but the Rams defense couldn't stop Chris Johnson and fell to the Titans 28-21.
Rams Bring the Pressure:
Robert Quinn is one of four players in the NFL with double-digit sacks so far this year, with 10. The rest of the Rams' defense has followed his lead, and they currently are at 29, which makes them the best in the league at getting to the quarterback and brining him down. Chuck Pagano offered his take on the Rams' defense in his Wednesday press conference:
"From a defensive standpoint, they're number one in the league as far as putting pressure on the quarterback and sacking the quarterback. They've got 29.0, which ranks first. Sacks per pass play. They've got really good front four, two edge guys. Robert Quinn has got 10.0 sacks and Chris Long has got 5.5. The rest of the guys, they do a great job off the edge. They get after you. They're going to be up in your face. They play press man. They got back end guys. They got corners that can play. They can get up in your face and make things tough on your receivers to work to get off the line of scrimmage. From a defensive standpoint, they kind of smother you. That's going to be a challenge."
Pagano on the Rams' Offense:
And, continuing his thoughts on the Rams, Chuck Pagano also offered his take on the Ram's offense during his Wednesday presser:
"Offensively, they've got a runner who is emerging as a legitimate number one. He's had back-to-back 100-plus yard weeks. Tough guy. A guy that gets yards after contact, hard to get on the ground. They got playmakers on the outside. They got a tight end, obviously, that they went out and got in free agency and paid a lot of money for. That's a darn good football player and leads their team in receptions right now in (Jared) Cook. Wide receiver crew that is excellent, can beat you vertically. One of the most dynamic young players in football in Tavon Austin, not only as a receiver but as a returner he's legitimately one of the best, going to be one of the best to play at this level. He's a dynamic guy and he can score from anywhere. It doesn't matter how they get him the football, again, he's a threat to score from anywhere on the field."
Josh Chapman, NT (knee)
Josh Gordy, CB (groin)
Delano Howell, S (neck)
Greg Toler, CB (groin)
Trent Richardson, RB (ankle) *
Hugh Thornton, OL (calf)
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR (hamstring)
Cam Johnson, OLB (knee)
Robert Mathis, OLB (shoulder)
* Chuck Pagano said that even though Trent Richardson is listed as questionable he was a full go at practice Friday and is expected to play on Sunday.
Despite being 3-6, the Rams are a tough team to beat. They took a significant blow when starting quarterback Sam Bradford went down with a torn ACL in the midst of a great year, but they still are playing hard and led by running back Zac Stacy's good year, which includes a current streak of back-to-back 100+ yard games. The defense, led by Robert Quinn's 10 sacks, has about as tough of a defensive line to play as there is and the defense as a whole is the best in the NFL in the category of sacks. Don't let their record deceive you - the Rams are a good, tough team. It won't be easy for the Colts, but I fully expect them to get the win at home. Colts 24, Rams 17