Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/19/12
As the Chiefs and Rams squared off for the annual Governor’s Cup match-up, both were entering the game after drastically different outcomes in the previous week. While the Chiefs jumped on the Cardinals early to make their mark with offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s newly-installed offense, the Rams and their revamped squad dampened the high hopes for the beginning of the Jeff Fisher era in St. Louis in a dud against the Colts.

In this contest, however, the Rams flashed the big-play ability sorely lacking last season. In wide receiver Danny Amendola’s second taste of action after a gruesome elbow injury ended his season early in 2011, his chemistry with Sam Bradford remains as strong as it ever was. Amedola caught 3 passes for 58 yards, including an 8 yard touchdown reception and a 35-yard snag to kick off the action.

Tight end Lance Kendricks began acclimating himself into the prominent receiving role that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer expects in his variation of the West Coast offense, making 2 receptions for 34 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown reception from Bradford. Back-up Mike McNeil also had 3 catches for 41 yards, solidifying an important position.

Like he has for his entire tenure in St. Louis, Steven Jackson ran with his impeccable blend of power, vision and finesse to the tune of 7 carries for 49 yards. Back-up Isaiah Pead unfortunately had another disappointing game, running with the second team against a Chiefs’ first-team defense that was embarrassed early by a Rams offense that only managed a field goal against the Colts. Third string back Daryl Richardson had a performance that could keep him on the depth chart, toting the ball 8 times for 35 yards and a touchdown.

The Rams defense was equally impressive, swarming the Chiefs behind their line to close up any lanes for running backs Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles. Matt Cassel was solid against the Rams’ first team, but Rams’ cornerback Janoris Jenkins made the most of his spot in the starting lineup, looking outstanding in coverage and forcing a fumble from a much larger wide receiver in Jonathan Baldwin.

Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis was everywhere on the field, making plays against the run, in coverage and rushing the passer to knock down a ball at the line. First-round selection Michael Brockers continues to improve his technique to compliment the natural block-eating ability that a man of his giant stature offers.

On the Chiefs side of the ball, all is not the doom and gloom that the Rams’ big night implies. While the offense sputtered at first, they began to figure out the Rams’ pressuring front-seven and eventually Charles found a rhythm. He broke off a few nice runs taking advantage of his stop-on-a-dime agility and used his explosiveness in the flats in the passing game.

Hillis managed to score a touchdown on a tough goal-line offense run and Cassel ended up with respectable line of 13/18 for 142 yards in one half of work. Tight end Kevin Boss created mismatches using well-run routes and knack for finding holes in coverage to end the game with 4 catches for 62 yards.

While the Chiefs’ offense started to click in their extended playing time, the defense responded by demolishing the second-team Rams offense. Tamba Hali was in the Rams’ backfield most of the game, only thwarted early on by Bradford’s decisive play and quick release. After giving up two touchdowns to the Rams’ starters, the Chiefs responded by making the Rams’ second-team offensive line look like a blocking sled, inserting a white, red and gold jersey in every gap in the running game. Quarterback Kellen Clemens’ 5 yards per attempt were a result of a constant stream of check-downs due to throwing under a fast-collapsing pocket.

The Governor’s Cup remains in the Gateway City, but both teams have positives to take away from the I-70 series. The Chiefs, riding high after making a statement in a big way against the Cardinals, fell back to earth early on then looked very resilient after a rocky start.

The much-maligned Rams’ offense came out firing against a very stout Chiefs’ defense, and even if the Chiefs were missing star cornerback Brandon Flowers, the Rams can hang their hats on a solid performance. Their young defense continues to learn to harness the controlled chaos of Jeff Fisher’s system and will put the offense in a position to win.

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