Rams vs. Eagles Takeaways
The Rams aren’t a Top Tier Team
As much fun as the season has been, one takeaway from this game is that the 2023 Los Angeles Rams can’t compete with the top level of the NFL. For all of the “this offense is actually explosive” and “this defense can hang with the best of them,” there are teams that prove this a team that will prove that it’s just not true.
Coming into this game the Rams offense was averaging 24.5 points per game. Good, but not great. Today they put up just 14. They came into the game as the 10th-best team by EPA per play on offense. Is it good? Absolutely. But it isn’t the 30-point-per-game offense that they actually need to be to beat teams like the Eagles and 49ers.
The defense that has done ‘just enough’ to keep them in games, didn’t against the Eagles. Yes. They managed to do it for the first 37 and a half minutes, largely in part due to an Ahkello Witherspoon interception that ended a 75-yard Eagles drive, holding the Eagles to a manageable 14-17 deficit.
Moreso, the offense couldn’t manage to tally one single point in the second half. They only ran 29 plays on five drives in the last two quarters. They went two for seven on third downs in the back 30 minutes.
The mediocre defense is to be expected. But this offense, with Cooper Kupp, should be better than this. Sean McVay should be able to dial up calls to score on two drives in the second half. But his teams have proven to stall in the second half. This offense should be able to elevate the Rams to where they can be expected to win against most of their remaining opponents. But until then, this team is no better than middling.
Cooper Kupp is still Matthew Stafford‘s favorite target. Puka Nacua is too.
Cooper Kupp targets: 12
Puka Nauca targets: 11
62 percent of Matthew Stafford’s went to either Kupp or Nacua. Kupp was tops with 118 yards. Nacua caught a touchdown.
The big question was how would these two fit into the offense. Turns out, Pretty good.
The question still remains; are they enough? The rest of the pass catchers totaled just 33 yards. The Rams ran the ball just 14 times. In this game at least, Kupp and Nacua were not enough offense.
The Rams Offensive Line Needs Answers For The Blitz
Stafford has been THE REASON that the Rams offense has functioned as well as it has this season. Keeping him upright is integral to the Rams success. There is a point in every game that the Rams have lost that the defense commits to blitzing and it has worked every time. The 49ers blitzed 16 times and the Bengals 15 times. The Rams are giving up sacks 7.4 percent of the time when facing 5 or more defenders. When not blitzed they are giving up sacks 3.9 percent of the time.
In this game, the Eagles started blitzing and then gave up four sacks. Two sacks came on the Rams second to last drive, when they could have significantly closed the gap in the Eagles lead.
The Rams play 11 personnel at the highest rate in the league. This means they have one running back and one tight end to add to QB protection. Building in plays that add more protection can mitigate the effectiveness of blitzes.
Every team but the Colts have ratcheted up the amount of blitzing when facing the Rams. Teams will continue to do so until the Rams find an answer.