For the third time in four years, the Rams ended their season with a loss to Seattle that resulted in a seven-win season.
It was a roller coaster of a season that saw lots of highs (wins over Indianapolis and New Orleans) and lows (pretty much every game against their NFC West opponents). But who were the best players on the Rams offense and defense? Read on.
Offense – Zac Stacy
The offensive game ball is not nearly as much of a slam dunk as defense. The top pass-catcher for the Rams was tight end Jared Cook, who led the team with 51 catches for 671 yards…and he was mostly a disappointment after a splashy first game. Sam Bradford and Kellen Clemens each had their moments, but neither impressed enough nor played enough to get this award.
Therefore, the season-long offensive game ball goes to running back Zac Stacy, with offensive tackle Jake Long a very close runner up. I shudder to think how bad this team would have been without Stacy’s 250 carries, 973 yards and seven touchdowns in his 12 starts. He fizzled out a bit in his last game against the Seahawks, only accumulating 15 yards on 15 carries, but that can be largely attributed to a completely battered offensive line in front of him. Overall, Stacy was an important stabilizing force for an offense that was quickly sinking after their first four games.
Defense – Robert Quinn
Who else? Quinn established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the entire NFL. And that was way back in October! Since then, he’s only become more unblockable. On the season, Quinn finished with 19 sacks, 36 quarterback hurries, 33 QB hits, seven forced fumbles and 18 tackles for loss. He led the league in forced fumbles and came up one agonizing sack away from winning the Deacon Jones Award for most sacks (Indianapolis’s Robert Mathis had 19.5). Quinn’s terrorizing defense single-handedly won at least two of the Rams games, and it can easily be argued that he played a deciding factor in every single win the Rams picked up this season. (He played pretty well in most of their losses too). Like Stacy, I shudder to think how the Rams would have done this season without Quinn speeding around the opposing team’s left tackle every week.
Read why the Rams must bring Sam Bradford back next season.