Fisher: Sunday a Display of Season-Long Improvement

Posted Nov 12, 2013

A day after a 38-8 vanquishing of the Indianapolis Colts, Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher summed up what was abundantly clear the previously day: the Rams’ second road win of the season showed considerable strides in a wide range of areas. With a dominant showing in all three phases, the Rams ended a three-game skid against the best of the AFC South.

However, what may have been lost in translation during the last three weeks were the strides made that culminated in Sunday’s performance, a point emphasized by Fisher on Monday.

“Since Carolina and losing (QB) Sam (Bradford), we’re throwing the ball to the end zone two weeks in a row to win and to tie,” Fisher said, referencing the conclusion of single-possession losses to Tennessee and Seattle. “And then we come back here and we just kept playing. Guys are working hard playing and practicing and feel like we can match up against anybody. So, ups and downs from wins and losses, yeah, but from effort and execution, it’s consistent, it’s steady and I think we’re seeing improvement.”

Sunday’s performance on the defensive side of the ball appeared similar to the team’s Week 5 win in Houston, when the Rams forced four turnovers en route to a 38-13 road win. The key difference on Sunday, however, lied with the run defense, which limited the Colts to just 18 yards rushing, the lowest total against a Rams team since the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995.

Fisher praised a special teams unit that excelled in both the coverage and return games. Three times, the Colts were held within their own 15-yard line on kickoffs. Punter Johnny Hekker averaged 48.4 yards on five punts, including a long of 61 yards. The Rams’ return unit was led by rookie Tavon Austin, who registered his first career punt return for a touchdown when he ran back a 98-yarder in the second quarter. It was a performance that was well-representative of how the afternoon went for St. Louis.

“It was an outstanding job on special teams,” Fisher said. “(Special Teams Coordinator) Coach (John) Fassel and (Assistant Special Teams) Coach ‘Bou’ (Paul F. Boudreau) did a great job with the plan. Guys were running free and just carrying over what they’re learning on the practice field into the game. Everybody took turns. Everybody was involved. (S) Cody (Davis) had some big plays. It was just good to see everybody involved. We punted the ball well, covered, and we returned it well. It was a good overall day for us.”