Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hochman: Foles Looks like Weak Link

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hochman: Foles Looks like Weak Link

Article excerpt

MINNEAPOLIS * The truth was in the dare.

"I was telling the boys 'Are they serious, do they really want to give us the ball?'" recalled Rams receiver Kenny Britt, in what surely sounded like loquacious squawking.

But they were serious the Vikings dared Nick Foles to try to beat them with a touchdown ... and Nick Foles responded like Nick Foles.

Yup, the Rams signed a guy to be a franchise quarterback, and Rams opponents want him to have the ball in overtime.

Even an overtime win Sunday wouldn't have masked the overall issue Foles is flimsy and fallible, and the Rams' offense has been reduced to surviving with him at the helm.

"I put a lot on myself, and I just have to keep playing better and growing as a quarterback," he said after going three-and-out in overtime, as his Rams then lost, 21-18, on an ensuing field goal. "We have to get touchdowns, especially on the road. We have to get touchdowns and get in the red zone."

Ugh, it's hard to hear that the franchise quarterback, who's paid as such, needs to continue to grow. But on Sunday, the Rams entered their biggest game since 2006 they were in the playoff picture, but it appeared they didn't have a playoff quarterback.

Maybe it's on the receivers, too. And the offensive line. But Foles infuriates with ill-timed passes and floppy floaters toward St. Paul. From the very first play of the game, when the quarterback missed a preposterously wide-open Britt, Foles didn't seem all there.

And later, it appeared that even coach Jeff Fisher lacked confidence in Foles.

Down 18-15 late in the fourth, Todd Gurley galloped down field, unleashing a trio of tributes, if you will, to the angry rushing style of Adrian Peterson. The Rams were barely within field goal range. After two more run plays, they faced a third-and-11 play, but Fisher had Foles hand it off to Gurley, setting up a field goal attempt. Somewhere, even Donald Trump was thinking: Man, now that's conservative.

Of the third-down call, Fisher said: "Big picture, we felt fairly confident that defensively we'd get the ball back and have a chance to win in regulation. And then we missed the kick."

Greg Zuerlein redeemed himself with a field goal in the final ticks, sending it to overtime.

But then came the game-changing coin toss. …

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