The St. Louis Rams were once known as the "Greatest Shown on Earth." Now, the Rams (0-5) may as well change their name to the "Greatest Show on Paper."
The Oakland Raiders (4-0), meanwhile, have played like the former description in outscoring opponents 162-90. The two teams meet Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. The Rams set the standard on offense for the previous three seasons but injuries to quarterback Kurt Warner, offensive tackle Orlando Pace, fullback James Hodgins and running back Marshall Faulk coupled with the fact that defenses have found a solution to slow down St. Louis have contributed to its demise.
Oakland, meanwhile, has fashioned the top-ranked offense in the NFL, second passing and seventh running. The Raiders have adopted a "go for the jugular" approach under first-year head coach Bill Callahan, one that is strikingly similar to what St. Louis had when it was at its peak. Raiders' tight end Roland Williams played on the Rams' Super Bowl winning team in 1999 and sees ample similarities.
"It's very similar to what we had in St. Louis," Williams said. "It's a very special offense."
In fact, Williams added Oakland running back Charlie Garner has similar qualities to Faulk.
"Marshall and Charlie are two of the best backs in the league," Williams said. "In fact, I think Charlie's the best in the league this year. When he hits the hole, he hits it with reckless abandon."
St. Louis head coach Mike Martz sees an ample comparison as well.
"They do a great job of spreading out and using the whole field," Martz said. "They do a good job of changing things. You can do that with a veteran quarterback in Rich Gannon. When they spread you out there are seams and they do a tremendous job of taking advantage of that."