ByHoward Balzer for KSDK Sports

*That the Rams under Jeff Fisher are just as capable of playing awful football as they were in the mostly forgettable days of Scott Linehan and Steve Spagnuolo. This one was right up there with some of the worst we have seen.

It's difficult to believe the Rams could be as inept as they were in every phase in the first half of Sunday's 31-7 loss to the Cowboys. They had seven "possessions" in the first half, and none lasted more than four plays.

Their 22 offensive plays, including a failed fake punt, totaled 18 yards and one first down. They had five running plays for five yards, while quarterback Sam Bradford completed 6 of 12 passes for 43 yards, while being sacked five times for losses of 30 yards.

It looked like the Rams were simply going through the motions, like they do in walk-through practices. On one sack, defensive end DeMarcus Ware knocked left tackle Jake Long to the ground. On another, defensive tackle Jason Hatcher threw guard Chris Williams to the ground as if he were a rag doll.

Defensively, the Cowboys did want they wanted, especially running back DeMarco Murray. He had 26 carries for 175 yards to go with his club-record effort of 253 yards against the Rams two years ago. Murray had 1,846 yards in his career, with 428 (23.2 percent) coming in two games against the Rams.

Dallas ran 33 plays for 202 yards and 12 first downs in the first half, streaking to a 17-0 lead. The Cowboys were 4-for-7 on third down, while the Rams were 0-for-6. Coupled with what the Rams did in the first half the previous week against Atlanta, it seemed like they never got off the bus.

In the first quarter of the last two games, the Rams have six possessions with 21 plays for 27 yards and trailed by a combined score of 24-0. Sunday, they ran 13 plays for 2 yards in the first 15 minutes. The Falcons and Cowboys totaled 35 plays for 291 yards in the first quarter.

The Rams have been outscored 41-3 in the last two first halves, and their two opponents totaled 440 yards on 65 plays with 23 first downs.

It gets worse. In 10 of their 12 first-half possessions the last two weeks, the Rams ran 35 plays for 58 yards and three first downs.

As coach Jeff Fisher said, "We didn't really do anything well today. We didn't run it, we didn't stop the run, we didn't throw it, we didn't stop the passing game and had difficulty on third downs, both sides of the ball. We obviously had some penalties on special teams."

There were two Rams penalties on what appeared to be a punt-return touchdown by Tavon Austin.

*The Rams have shown no semblance of a running game. Here is what the team's runners have done in the first three games: Daryl Richardson, 30-98; Isaiah Pead, 7-21; Benny Cunningham, 6-16; Zac Stacy, 1-4. For those counting, that's 44-139 (3.2 per attempt). Tavon Austin lined up as a running back on the first play of the game Sunday and gained three yards. He has four carries for 10 yards rushing so far. It's a good thing the Rams didn't show that in the preseason so opponents wouldn't be ready for it.

Richardson had no carries Sunday and barely played. Then why was he active? He injured his left foot in the season opener, and was in a boot for Wednesday's practice. Richardson did the team no good standing on the sideline along with the inactive Stacy. The NFL gamebook listed Richardson as not playing, but he on the field for two plays on the Rams' first possession.

Said Fisher, "Daryl was a little nicked earlier and we just felt that we would go with the other guys."

There's no rest for the weary. The Rams, like San Francisco, now have a short week to prepare for Thursday night's game at the dome. The 49ers were blasted at home by the Colts Sunday, 27-7, and they have been outscored 56-10 in their last two games.

The 49ers will travel to St. Louis without linebacker Aldon Smith, who played Sunday despite a DUI arrest Friday morning at 7 a.m. After the 49ers' loss, chief executive officer Jed York said Smith will be out indefinitely while he reportedly seeks in-patient treatment for substance abuse.

Meanwhile, after having his Hall-of-Fame ticket supposedly stamped in Week 1 after passing for 412 yards, in the last two games San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has completed 26 of 55 passes for 277 yards, six sacks, no touchdowns, four interceptions and passer ratings of 20.1 and 49.9.

Licking their wounds, these teams will be on NFL Network because we all know the NFL cares so much about player health and safety.

The NFC is a Muddle. Yes, it's early, but the six teams that made the playoffs in the NFC last season are now a combined 6-12. And, it's 3-12 without Seattle. Minnesota and Washington are winless, while Atlanta, Green Bay and San Francisco are 1-2.

The Giants are 0-3, and managed to match the Rams' 18 first-half yards in a 38-0 loss to Carolina. Quarterback Eli Manning was sacked seven times Sunday.

Things can change quickly, but there are only five teams in the NFC with winning records, and four weren't in the 2012 post-season: Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle are 3-0, with Dallas and Detroit 2-1.

It's like that because the AFC has won 11 of 14 interconference games. The only NFC successes have been Chicago defeating Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and Seattle beating Jacksonville. The AFC was 6-2 in this week's games.

Meanwhile, after there were 22 games in the first two weeks decided by seven points or less, there were only six Sunday, while seven were decided by 20 points or more. The 15 games so far in Week 3 have been decided by an average of 15.4 points.

Howard Balzer will be contributing to KSDK Sports throughout the 2013 season. Howard hosts PrimeTime Monday-Friday from 6-8 pm on CBS Sports 920, and Pro Football Sunday pre- and post-game shows on 590 the Man. He is also a host on SiriusXM NFL radio and one of 44 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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