In honor of the great Rev. Timothy Lovejoy, let’s talk consistency, more to the point the Los Angeles Rams lack of it. Once again, the Rams came into a game with great expectations following a smackdown of both the Cardinals and Patriots and befouled themselves in a manner befitting Willie in “Bad Santa” or Barney Gumble.
They were 17.5 point favorites against an aspiring 0-16 Jets team. The Rams came out like Mox in “Varsity Blues” after taking Lance to the strip club. It was inexplicable and both fan bases left the game feeling great shame and despair. Now, true fans, like Doctor Strange, saw a timeline where this game happens because not only are they accustomed to disappointment by nature, but they’ve seen it happen three times this year. The Rams inconsistency has become paradoxically consistent this season and throughout the Sean McVay era. It’s something that needs to be fixed or else no matter how they rebound the next two weeks it’ll bury their Super Bowl hopes in a ditch off the 405 freeway.
It wasn’t just the Rams losing to the Jets that stings, but how. As outlined on this site last week, the blueprint was so apparent. The offense came out sluggish and the defense allowed idiotic third-down conversions and made Sam Darnold look like Tom Brady. It was a pathetic showing but at least they did what they always do and clamped down when they had to.
The offense was even more pathetic because they actually would’ve won the game on a 30 yard Cam Akers run but they had one of their several ill-timed penalties nullify it. Jared Goff had two turnovers and while this game can’t be placed squarely on him, some of his bad habits, of course, surfaced yesterday. He doesn’t understand the art of throwing the ball away and thus takes sacks that bury the offense deeper. That said, those sacks are coming because the backfield was easier to get into than Arizona State.
The offensive line, which hasn’t hit its 2018 peak, has been very good this season but yesterday they delivered a performance befitting of a Razzie. They had more penalties than they’ve had in weeks and struggled to block.
The special teams were especially bad, not just Nsimba Webster struggling in the return, but they allowed a blocked punt and gave more evidence that Special Teams Coach John Bonamego needs to be replaced next year. The gap between his work and his predecessor John Fassel is wider than the gap in quality between “Caddyshack” and “Caddyshack II”. All of the Rams inconsistency issues can be traced to one source, and that is Sean McVay.
Don’t worry this won’t devolve into the dark and ignorant corners of Rams Twitter that think they need to fire Sean McVay. He’s safe and he should be. The man has coached the Rams to their fourth straight winning season for the first time since the Reagan administration.
That said, he hasn’t strung together three consecutive wins since 2018, and even then his bouts with inconsistency reared their head in the playoffs where they mowed down the Cowboys, battled back against the Saints (insert PI joke here), but then laid a Yoshi sized egg in the Super Bowl. McVay’s teams have routinely played down to competition and haven’t laid the smackdown on a lesser opponent since week 2 in Philly, although it wasn’t clear they were as bad as they would become.
Instead of taking advantage of a broken Niners team, they allowed Kyle Shanahan to increase his ownership stake in Sean McVay. It isn’t clear why this keeps happening and honestly, McVay isn’t the only coach this happens to. In fact, he shares this trait with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Tomlin routinely has winning seasons and yet still lays eggs from time to time. The reason this isn’t as widely discussed is that he’s been to two Super Bowls, winning one of them.
It could be the fact that both are young (er) coaches (Tomlin was the previous record holder for youngest head coach hired) and they still haven’t figured that out or if it’s a weird tic that won’t go away with age. The fact remains is that in the case of the Rams, McVay is out of clunkers. Yes, despite vomiting all over themselves they clinched a playoff spot, and they can win the west by beating a Seattle team that is struggling in their own way, but the games McVay can afford to screw up are gone.
Sure they can lose out (not likely) and still be at worst a 7 seed but why stack the deck against yourself when you don’t have to. If they win the West they can be a three seed play Seattle again, play at home, and then let the chips fall where they may in Green Bay or New Orleans. Or they can do it all on the road. The NFC is winnable, Green Bay and New Orleans aren’t world beaters but they’re at least more reliable than the Rams.
But they’re beatable.
Sean McVay said he was sick to his stomach and embarrassed about what went down with the Jets, as he should. The annoying thing is he’s allowed the team to get punched in the face unnecessarily by lesser teams while also shooting themselves in the face time and time again and while he does take the loss to heart and they do rebound well the following week, he also just lets it happen again weeks later. He, like Davey Stone, demonstrates growth but is prone to have an a-hole relapse.
Now that he’s suffered his biggest rock bottom maybe he changes how he prepares the team week to week for real this time. Or he allows his teams’ inconsistency to remain the biggest weakness; until then, every game will be a stomach-churning adventure. Here’s hoping when the ride is over it ends in high-fives and not with everyone on the ride home covered in their own vomit.