Rams Remain Healthy, Lose 14-13 in Miami

Posted Aug 29, 2014

The Rams returned from Miami with no signs of injury heading into a difficult weekend of roster moves and preparing for the home opener next Sunday.

The Rams capped off preseason on Thursday night with a 14-13 loss to the Dolphins in Miami. Here are some highlights from Thursday’s action.


Fisher said earlier this week that that rookie E.J. Gaines has a chance to fill in for the injured Trumaine Johnson for the first few weeks. And the young corner made a strong case for himself on Thursday night.

Gaines has had a good preseason and kept that going against the Dolphins. In addition to recording a defensed pass and showing his strength in making tackles, the sixth-round pick notched his first interception of the preseason.

“It felt good to get my first pick,” Gaines said. “I should have kept the game ball, but I was too hyped, so I dropped it.”

Gaines intercepted a tipped pass in the second quarter, which led to the Rams’ first touchdown. The rookie said that the pick helped cap off a strong preseason for him personally, but added that he still has a long way to go.

Still, multiple times the Mizzou product came up strong to stop a receiver in his tracks once he caught the ball. That’s a real asset when it comes to playing cornerback in the NFL.

It remains to be seen whether or not Gaines has secured that fill-in role for Johnson. But if nothing else, Gaines has shown that he can make an impact on the Rams’ defense this season.


Quarterback Austin Davis started the game for St. Louis and did a nice job once again of leading the offense. Fisher said earlier in the week the third-year pro would be the No. 2 quarterback if the season started on that day, and Davis looked like he solidified that position on Thursday night.

Davis played the entire first half before giving way to rookie Garrett Gilbert, who played the second. In his two quarters, Davis completed 12 of his 19 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. He connected with receiver Austin Pettis three times for 28 yards, including the touchdown pass.

“I thought Austin was a little excited early -- he sailed a couple of balls,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “But he settled down, made some plays.”

Davis finishes the preseason having completed 39 of 63 passes -- a 62-percent mark -- for 534 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception.


The perceived position battle between Michael Sam and Ethan Westbrooks was in full swing Thursday night as both players finished at the top of the defensive stats sheet. Sam led the Rams with six total tackles. Westbrooks tallied a sack in the second quarter, a tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits. He finished with four total tackles.

“It looked as if Ethan was making plays every time I looked, but I didn’t really see anything good nor bad out of Mike,” Fisher said. “We’ll look at the tape. But [Sam] played hard, and he got a lot of snaps.”

The Rams may keep one, both, or neither of the two players. But whatever happens, Westbrooks and Sam have both played well enough in the preseason to make the decision more difficult.


…Neither the Rams nor Dolphins elected to play their starters in Thursday night’s contest.

“Obviously, this took on the appearance of a fourth preseason game. I think coach and I were on the same page as far as not playing players,” Fisher said of himself and Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. “Not typically something that we do, but again, after our experience last weekend, thought it was the best thing for our team.”

The head coach added, “Our training room’s empty right now, so that’s good news.”

…Part of that decision included electing to exclusively use a three-man front on the defensive line -- something quite atypical for the Rams. Fisher said that allowed the team to give some young linebackers good playing time.

“From a commitment standpoint, for most of them, we told them they would get a chance to play in the preseason -- the young guys -- and they did,” Fisher said.

…The Rams’ coaching staff and front office will now finish off the process of evaluating the roster to get it down to 53 players by Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. CT. Fisher said that depth at both the offensive and defensive line means that the team will have to waive some talented players.

“This is the hard part about the National Football League right now in the next couple of days, when you start reducing your roster to 53,” Fisher said. “We’ll have some discussions tomorrow and go from there.”