Found October 16, 2012 on 60 Max Power O:
The St. Louis Rams had three trips into the red zone Sunday afternoon in Miami but only cashed in with one touchdown, an abysmal rate of 33 percent. For this reason alone, the Rams are 3-3 instead of 4-2 following a 17-14 defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins.

Well, maybe not just that reason. St. Louis had many opportunities to make plays on all areas of the field, in all phases of the game. There was crucial play after crucial play that altered the final score in hindsight. But the most glaring disposition is one the Rams have faced all season and seasons’ prior: they can't convert red-zone trips into touchdowns.

Although they had been getting away with this flaw in 2012, the Rams’ safety net — rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein — finally showed signs of wear and tear. Zuerlein missed his first three field goals of the year, including a game-tying attempt to end the game.

This was the Rams’ second loss outdoors, but playing away from the Edward Jones Dome hasn't been a big advantage for opponents. In terms of yards, the Rams out-gained the Dolphins 462-192, including 259 yards in the first half. St. Louis got 162 yards rushing from Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson against the No.1 rush defense in the Dolphins.

Quarterback Sam Bradford had another stellar game for the Rams between the 20s, completing 26 of his 39 pass attempts for 315 yards. However, emphasis must be put on “between the 20s” as Bradford failed to get a touchdown in the air.

The first drive was promising, as Jackson and Richardson carried the ball to the edge of the red zone for the first time. However, Bradford took a sack on third down from Miami's all-pro defensive end Cameron Wake, causing the to Rams settle for a 48-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein.

After forcing the Dolphins to punt, Bradford hit rookie receiver Chris Givens on a play-action pass for 65 yards down to the 11-yard line, the longest play from scrimmage for the Rams this season. Again, Miami's defense held and forced a 32-yarder from Zuerlein, his 15th straight to open his rookie season.

The Rams’ rush defense did their job against an ever-improving Reggie Bush on Sunday, limiting him to 17 of Miami's 19 rushing yards on 12 carries. The defensive line maintained their position and forced Bush to stretch his carries to the sidelines often. That is, when they weren't ganging up on him in the backfield.

Bush, as he's known to be, was more effective in the passing game, catching 5 passes for 44 yards. Dolphins’ rookie Ryan Tannehill made sure to get Bush involved to open up his other options, including receiver Davone Bess and tight end Anthony Fasano. Brian Hartline, the team's leading receiver and top-10 in the league in yards and yards-per-catch, was shut out by corner backs Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins.

After scrambling twice to lead St. Louis to the Dolphins' 26-yard line, Bradford was subjected to another third-down sack, this time at the hands of linebacker Olivier Vernon. Zuerlein finally proved he was human on the following play. Kicking from the Miami 34 with a strong side wind breezing through Sun Life Stadium, the rookie hooked the ball left for his first career miss.

After the change of possession, linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar got in the backfield for a sack of Tannehill on first down, almost in response to Vernon. Tannehill responded with completions to Fasano and Bess to get the first down. He then found Marlon Moore across the middle for a 12-yard completion to the Rams’ 34. Two plays later, Moore caught his second-straight pass, streaking past a daydreaming Jenkins for a 29-yard touchdown reception to put the Dolphins up 7-6 with 5:27 left in the first half.

On the ensuing kickoff, fullback Brit Miller somehow found himself with the ball and fumbled it back to Miami. After a three-and-out stop by St. Louis, kicker Dan Carpenter knocked through a 42-yarder to add to the Dolphins’ lead.

Bradford connected with Brandon Gibson three times as the Rams marched down the field yet again with under two minutes left in the half. He then found tight end Lance Kendricks across the middle in heavy coverage to move the offense to the Dolphins’ 14. In what has almost become routine for the Rams, the offense stalled and again gave the scoring opportunity to Zuerlein, who responded with his second consecutive miss, this time from 37 yards.

The Dolphins picked their way down the field on the opening drive of the second half, which led to Tannehill hitting Fasano on a play-action pop pass from the goal line to put Miami up 17-6.

The game was still within reach as the Rams got the ball midway through the final period. Bradford led an inspired drive before punching the ball in himself for the touchdown. On 4th-and-goal, with the ball inches from the goal line, the third-year quarterback took the snap and stretched the ball forward as Dolphins’ linebacker Karlos Dansby leaped over the pile and landed on Bradford's head and shoulders, awkwardly bending him backwards as his legs buckled under him. The effort closed the deficit to 17-14 with 8:30 left in the game.

After getting the ball back, the Rams defense physically abused Miami en route to forcing a fourth down with just under four minutes remaining. Instead of relenting possession, however, the Dolphins converted a fake punt opportunity by snapping the ball to safety Chris Clemons for the first down. Although St. Louis stopped the Dolphins’ again, precious time had been taken off the clock. Punter Brandon Fields then pinned the Rams at their own 6-yard line with a 51-yard boot.

With 1:41 left in the game, receiver Steve Smith finally got involved in the Rams’ offense with two catches. Bradford then found Gibson twice, including a highlight grab, to move the ball into Dolphins’ territory. However, the worst thing that could've happened did: the Rams got into a third-down passing situation. Vernon found his way to Bradford for his second sack of the game, pushing the ball back to the Miami 49. Zuerlein attempted an NFL-record 66-yard field goal with time expiring, and even having a day like he was having, the rookie showed the distance was there as he missed the equalizer.

Gibson would finish with a team-high seven catches for 91 yards. Jackson rushed for 52 yards on 12 carries, while his rookie counterpart Richardson had 11 carries for 76 yards. The Dolphins’ Tannehill threw for 185 yards on 21-of-29 passing to go with his two touchdowns.



Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Fisher: Second quarter doomed Rams in Miami

ST. LOUIS (AP) The St. Louis Rams finished with 462 yards at Miami. But they didn't get enough points with all that offense, made too many errors and now they're back at .500. Coach Jeff Fisher mentioned numerous breakdowns in the second quarter as the biggest reason the Dolphins won 17-14. The Rams (3-3) had six of their 16 double-digit offensive gains in the second quarter...

Fisher: Second quarter doomed Rams in Miami loss

The St. Louis Rams finished with 462 yards at Miami. But they didn't get enough points with all that offense, made too many errors and now they're back at .500. Coach Jeff Fisher mentioned numerous breakdowns in the second quarter as the biggest reason the Dolphins won 17-14. The Rams (3-3) had six of their 16 double-digit offensive gains in the second quarter, but didn...

'Re-energized' Rams Relying on Youth, Defense

The St. Louis Rams, who haven't had a winning record since 2003, enter Sunday's home game against Green Bay with a 3-3 record. It's a new-look franchise, from the coach (Jeff Fisher) to the roster (31 of the 53 players are new to the team). A defense full of top picks is leading the way.

"Greg the Leg" Zuerlein comes back down to earth

While Felix Baumgartner was busy breaking the sound barrier with his jump from outer space, many St. Louis Rams fans felt that it would be just a matter of time before kicker Greg Zuerlein would break the record for longest field goal in NFL history. Zuerlein got an opportunity to do so in Sunday's 17-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins, but failed to crack the record books. In...

St. Louis Rams' notebook, Week 6 - holding steady

To the casual football fan, the St. Louis Rams didn't look too much like the lesser team in Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins. Sure, both teams currently sit at 3-3 following the game but so do 10 other NFL franchises, including the entire AFC East. The game didn't get nationally televised thanks to the Dallas Cowboys – Baltimore Ravens battle, but it still pitted...

Cruddy: Rams simply need more play-makers

Statistically speaking, the St. Louis Rams dominated the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon in South Florida.  Unfortunately, the result did not reflect what happened on the field as the Rams lost 17-14 to the Dolphins. Despite racking up 462 yards of total offense, versus just 192 for the Dolphins, the Rams were only able to muster 14 points and lost their third road game of...

Beating the Odds

If you thought there was something unsual about the Dolphins' 17-14 victory against the St. Louis Rams Sunday, well, that's because there was. After all, it's not every week you can win a game despite being outgained by 270 yards.

Packers to Their Critics: 'Shhhh!'

The Packers' confidence has been bolstered by a big win at Houston, not that there was anything "wrong" with the team. Now, the page turns to the vastly improved St. Louis Rams.

Miami Dolphins Defeat St. Louis Rams 17-14

This time it would be their kicker who cost them the game. The Miami Dolphins finally had luck (and wind) on their side on Sunday as they beat the St. Louis Rams 17-14. Rams rookie kicker Greg... Come here for the best Miami Dolphins blog on the web. We have all of the most up to date new and opinions on the Dolphins organization for its fans.
Rams News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.