CINCINNATI -- On the heels of yet another poor offensive outing, the St. Louis Rams could have a different starting quarterback next Sunday for the third consecutive week.
With Case Keenum still dealing with a concussion that rendered him inactive for Sunday's 31-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Rams and coach Jeff Fisher turned back to Nick Foles to start at quarterback. Foles didn't fare much better than he did in the weeks before he was benched and Fisher made it clear that once Keenum is healthy again, he'll be back in the starting spot.
"As far as our decision to go with Nick, Case has still not passed protocol," Fisher said. "That’s why he was third and he was inactive. When Case does pass it and we’re hopeful that it is this week then he’ll go back to under center as the starter."
After a one-week hiatus, Foles stepped back into the starting lineup as Keenum was limited in practice during the week but never completely cleared the concussion protocol to get back to starting. Foles finished 30-of-46 for 228 yards with three interceptions and no touchdowns for a passer rating of 49.9.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, on throws that traveled 15-plus yards downfield, Foles was one-of-seven with all three interceptions. In his past two starts, Foles is one-of-13 with three interceptions on such throws.
Asked after the game what's changed between 2013 when he went to the Pro Bowl and now, Foles said he believes he's the same guy.
“I still feel like the same player," Foles said. "It’s one of those things where it’s just a bump in the road and you learn. It’s a lot of character building and a lot of adversity. Every week you want to turn it around, and it’s one of those things where it’s longer than you think. You just have to keep working on the fine details, like going in the weight room and watching film. You just have to keep working at it because you can’t give up. There is no choice. I know I’m not going to give up, and I’m going to keep working.”
With the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, the Rams gave rookie Sean Mannion his first chance to play in his first game on the active gameday roster. In fact, Fisher called a series of timeouts late in order to try to give Mannion reps.
Mannion went six-of-seven for 31 yards in his short opportunity but at least got a closer look at the speed of the game.
“You get a taste of it in the preseason," Mannion said. "Everybody tells you, and I think it’s true, preseason is a whole different animal compared to the regular season. It was great to get in there. I tried to play a simple game. I focused on getting the ball out of my hand fast, being accurate, completing some passes. I think the other thing is trying to stay engaged all game long on the sideline -- helping the defense, doing whatever I can to help Nick -- tell him if I see anything, or ask if he wants me to look at anything in particular. I think staying engaged all game long really helped me to be prepared for the looks. I just tried to complete some passes and operate the offense.”
Mannion seemed to do that OK though he did it with the game well out of reach and the Bengals defense backed off a bit. As for whether Mannion will get a closer look moving forward, Fisher said he doesn't believe the third-round pick is ready.
"Not at this point, no," Fisher said. "He hasn’t had enough time. I slowed the game down at the end just to give him an opportunity to get in the game. He was excited to play."