ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams needed just one big play from their offense to knock off the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon. That play was there, floating through the air and into the hands of wide-open tight end Lance Kendricks, who was running down the left sideline with little more than 12 minutes to go in the third quarter.
It was a play eerily reminiscent of the game-tying touchdown Kendricks caught in that same area in Week 1 against Seattle. It could have turned the game and given the Rams a lead. But Kendricks failed to catch it. The ball bounced off his chest and fell harmlessly to the ground. The Rams went on to lose 12-6 to the Steelers at the Edward Jones Dome.
The Rams' offense isn't good enough to lean exclusively on big plays, nor is it consistent enough to run the ball with the frequency they've often discussed. So when big-play opportunities arise, they simply aren't in position to miss on those chances. The margin for error is too small, as Kendricks' drop proved once again.
What it means: At 1-2, the Rams find themselves in a precarious position just three weeks into the season. It was no secret that the defense would have to carry the freight early, but without much help from the offense, it has been too big of a task for them to handle so far. The Rams now hit the road for the next two weeks to play NFC powers Arizona and Green Bay in back-to-back weeks. While Jeff Fisher's Rams can spring a surprise on anyone, a 1-4 start seems well within the realm of possibility.
What were they thinking? All week, the Rams talked about the need to be better on third down and sustain drives. Then they went out and failed to convert time and again. They finished 2-of-10 on third-down situations and, most maddeningly, often threw passes short of the sticks in hopes that they could break tackles and move the chains. More often than not, they didn't.
One reason to get excited: The Rams took a big step forward against the run after Washington trampled them to the tune of 182 rushing yards last week. Pittsburgh mustered just 2.8 yards per carry on 22 runs. Stopping the run allows the Rams' ferocious pass rush to do what it does best, and it did with five sacks.
Fantasy watch: With 13 minutes left in the second quarter, rookie running back Todd Gurley played his first NFL snap. He went for a 2-yard gain. Rushing yards are hard to come by on this team, and Gurley only managed 9 yards on six carries for the day, adding a catch for 5 more yards. Not that Tre Mason or Benny Cunningham had much more success. The Rams finished with just 71 yards on 18 carries. Until the Rams' run blocking improves, it probably doesn't matter who is playing running back.
Ouch: The Rams seemingly made it through relatively healthy, though special teamer Maurice Alexander left the game with a groin injury.