Rams like no-huddle results, ponder picking up pace

Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Given the impressive results in a near-comeback at Atlanta, the St. Louis Rams might turn to a no-huddle offense more frequently.
Circumstances dictated the up-tempo approach and the Rams scored touchdowns on three consecutive second-half possessions that were 74, 75 and 67 yards long and used 30 plays.
"I think it made a pretty big difference. It seemed to just put them on their heels a little bit," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "I don't think they were expecting us to go to it that quickly. We put our guys in space and they did a great job creating separation and then running with the ball after the catch, too. It was positive to see us perform that way in our no-huddle."
In the three scoring drives, Bradford completed 17 of 27 passes for 188 yards and three touchdown passes, two to Tavon Austin and another to Austin Pettis.
There was only one called run among the 30 plays (Daryl Richardson for two yards), while Bradford scrambled twice for 26 yards, including a 23-yard run.
"Sam has a good understanding of that, he can run that, he does it in practice and it's good to see," coach Jeff Fisher said. "We got points, we got their defense tired and got it within seven and thought we had a chance to get the ball back. We needed a key stop and we didn't get it.
"It's because we were down and you know that when you get down we knew we had to pick it up. And midway through the third quarter we were going to have to come out and cut loose."
The Rams won't go turning their identity on its ear just yet.
The no-huddle might not have been necessary had the Rams had better field position earlier in the game and produced more points in two second-quarter possessions. Special teams penalties resulted in four drives beginning at the 5-, 8-, 11- and 13-yard lines.
In the second quarter, trailing 14-0, the Rams drove 48 yards in nine plays to the Falcons 32-yard line when a first-down pass from Bradford deflected off the hands of Richardson, was intercepted by Osi Umenyiora and returned 68 yards for a touchdown.
On the next possession, the Rams drove from their own 20 to the Falcons 16 in seven plays when Bradford hit Richardson for an apparent first down to the 5-yard line. However, Pettis was called for illegal motion, creating a second-and-15 situation at the 21. The drive stalled, and they had to settle for a 29-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal.
When not in no-huddle, Bradford was 15-for-28 for 174 yards.
Considering what the Eagles are doing with their fast-paced offense (Philadelphia had 511 yards on just 58 plays Sunday while having the ball for only 19:43), Bradford wasn't overly supportive of running the high-paced offense the whole game.
"That is tough to say," he said. "I think we put a lot of pressure on them and wore them down but at the same time to play that way for an entire game; for those guys up front that is pretty tough on them to do that. But you never know and next week maybe it's something we'll go to a little sooner if we're struggling early."
That offense can also create a lot of wear and tear on a team's own defense by being on the field too much. In Philadelphia's game Sunday, the Chargers had the ball for 40:17, ran 79 plays for 539 yards and converted 10-of-15 third downs.

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