Rams will keep going north on South Beach
OCT 12, 2012 11:02a ET
Go back to January, and Jeff Fisher had a choice between South Florida sun and a Midwest franchise that had set. The St. Louis Rams were as stable as waves off Key West in a tropical storm after Steve Spagnuolo was fired. They went 15-65 in the last five years. They paid Josh McDaniels real money. They devised "Ram Rules." Little went right.
Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins rolled out the velvet carpet in their courtship of the former Tennessee Titans coach. They flew him to their Davie, Fla., facility via helicopter. They trotted out Carl Peterson. They ran two separate searches, knowing that, much like the current pair of New York Jets quarterbacks, two equals none at all.
In the end, the chase worked out for everyone. The Rams got their man and the Dolphins got Ryan Tannehill's wife. Both catches are undefeated at home.
Fate has a sense of humor, because Fisher meets his old flirt Sunday at Sun Life Stadium. He looks mighty fine after making over St. Louis from a homely schoolgirl into Scarlett Johansson through five games. Joe Philbin's no eyesore, but he's not Eva Longoria either.
Who received the better bargain after trying to hook Fisher: St. Louis or South Beach?
On to Week 6…
How will the Rams rely less on Greg Zuerlein?
One day, a nickname will stick. More impressive than Zuerlein cranking 13 consecutive field goals – including four from at least 50 years – is that he has just about as many monikers floating throughout Internet Land. There's "Greg the Leg," "Young GZ" and "Legatron," a newcomer to the stable. Meanwhile, Josh Brown is pegged with "Unemployed."
Zuerlein's launch into the NFL's stratosphere is like receiving a compliment from your sister: It turns your brain into a scrambled egg – then you search for the true meaning behind those words. For the Rams, the answer can be found by looking at themselves through a cracked mirror. They rank No. 29 in total offense, averaging 278 yards per game. Sam Bradford threw two touchdowns in a Week 5 romp over the Arizona Cardinals, but before then, he had failed to find the end zone after tossing three scores in a Week 2 victory over the Washington Redskins.
So Zuerlein has become a national-media crush while Bradford sits on aluminum bleachers with a wilted bunch of roses. Perk up, Sam. A facelift will come if you lift the Rams to more "7s" than "3s."
How will the Rams survive without Danny Amendola?
A trusted partner is hard to find. Batman had Robin, Regis had Kathie Lee, Caesar had Brutus. Only one of those dynamic duos never split.
Amendola's clavicle injury, sustained in the second quarter of the victory over Arizona, puts a kink into a dry hose of an offense. The slot star was Bradford's wingman, leading the Rams with 395 yards on 32 catches with two touchdowns. Brandon Gibson, meanwhile, stands a distant second with 184 yards on 13 catches with two touchdowns.
Good news for the Rams: Amendola could return in about six weeks. Worst news: That means about six weeks of Bradford working with a wide-receiving corps as deep as a kiddie pool.
There's always a silver lining in the storm. Remember, St. Louis went through this song and rain dance in 2011. Amendola was injured early in the fourth quarter of a Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The results that followed were as pretty as a Lindsay Lohan mug shot. But hey, the Rams lived to swing another day.
What will happen?
This contest begs for a fitting title. Fisher Bowl? 'Stache Staredown? The "Thank-Goodness-We-Booted-Steve-Spagnuolo-and-Tony-Sparano-to-the-Alley" Game, presented by Stan Kroenke and Stephen Ross?
For now, an unnamed Week 6 wrestle will do. The Rams are hot, but they've yet to prove their sizzle on the road. The Dolphins have a pulse, but they've yet to prove that they can breathe as an AFC East contender for more than a month.
No matter what happens, Fisher will remain on top of his world. He's a savior in St. Louis, he gets to eat toasted ravioli whenever he wants, he has Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan in his secondary, and he works in "gorgeous" Earth City, Mo. (OK, chalk that last one up as a loss.)
He made his choice. He chose wisely.
Going south on South Beach? Nah, the Rams will keep jetting north in the NFC West.
Pick: Rams 20, Dolphins 17
You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.