Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Rams players bristled when St. Louis reporters suggested they quit during a season-opening blowout defeat at Philadelphia. The score wasn't much better against the Giants, but the Rams were far more competitive this week. They pulled within one touchdown, 20-13, when Marc Bulger found Torry Holt for a 45-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
The Giants broke it open with an interception return for a touchdown and a 31-yard touchdown run from Ahmad Bradshaw.
The Rams' effort level isn't the problem. This simply isn't a very good team. The Rams had the oldest 53-man roster in the league entering Week 2. They lack young depth. They are also without their best pass rusher, Leonard Little, and starting left guard Jacob Bell. St. Louis simply doesn't have the talent to deal with injuries to starters.
Offensive coordinator Al Saunders, perhaps sensitive to claims that the Rams lacked effort in the opener, singled-out a high-effort play from the fourth quarter of the season opener. He showed video of the play to offensive players in preparation for the Giants game. The play showed tight end Randy McMichael breaking tackles, a running back throwing a block, a receiver throwing a block and two other players hustling downfield.
The Rams will need that kind of effort every week to give themselves even an outside chance, particularly against good teams. They also need more carries for Steven Jackson, who finished the game with 13 rushes for 53 yards. Bulger absorbed six sacks. He won't make it through the season without better protection and/or a run-heavy game plan.