The phrase “any given Sunday” comes to mind when trying to define what happened at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night. The St. Louis Rams entered the contest on a three-game losing streak, with backup quarterback Kellen Clemens win-less as a starter. However, despite recent struggles and seemingly little to play for, the Rams thoroughly dominated the AFC South-leading Indianapolis Colts in all three phases of the game.
The Colts players and coaching staff had preached the need for a fast start during the week in preparation for Sunday’s game. Comeback wins have been a stable of this young team, with 10 come-from-behind victories in 25 games, the most recent coming last week against Houston, over-turning a 21-3 halftime deficit. Any hopes of establishing an early lead this week were dashed on the Colts’ opening drive. Rams’ defensive end Robert Quinn forced a strip-sack fumble of Andrew Luck which Chris Long recovered and returned for a 45 yard touchdown. A four-play drive in the second quarter saw the Rams extend their lead, before a 98-yard punt return by rookie Tavon Austin increased the lead to 28-0.
Austin – a product of West Virginia University – continued to wreck havoc, catching a 57-yard deep ball for a touchdown before running 81 yards on a short pick route from the Rams’ 19-yard line. He finished the game with 310 total yards and three touchdowns, helping St. Louis to a 38-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
Due to the early deficit, the Colts were virtually forced to abandon any running game. Trent Richardson carried the ball five times, for a total of 2 yards, and Andrew Luck amassed 17 yards on four scrambles. Wide receiver T.Y Hilton had another productive afternoon, catching 7 balls for 130 yards, while running back Donald Brown caught 6 passes out of the back-field, including a 13-yard touchdown reception. Luck threw for 353 yards on 47 attempts for one touchdown, but was picked-off three times as the Colts tried in desperation to close the gap. Indy linebacker Robert Mathis managed to stay atop the NFL sack table, bringing Clemens down twice to increase his sack total to 13.5 for the year. It was the only bright spot for a defensive unit which conceded 140 rushing yards and 247 yards through the air by a journeyman quarterback.
Indianapolis remain two games ahead in the AFC South after the Tennessee Titans experienced an upset of their own, going down to the previously win-less Jacksonville Jaguars at home. Things look even worse for the Titans as reports suggest starting quarterback Jake Locker is out for the remainder of the year with a foot injury, offering backup Ryan Fitzpatrick a chance to impress for the second time this season. The Colts will travel to Tennessee this week for Thursday Night Football in a game of increased importance following Sunday’s shock defeat to the Rams. A win over the Titans would put Indy three games ahead in the division and place one hand firmly on the AFC South Championship.
Final Score: St. Louis Rams 38-8 Indianapolis Colts
Next Game: St. Louis Rams – Chicago Bears
Indianapolis Colts – @ Tennessee Titans
Photograph by: Darron Cummings/wishtv.com