To quote William Munny “Deserves got nothin to do with it” and boy was that ever the case in the Los Angeles Rams’ season sweep against Seattle and their first November win since 2020. Sean McVay is now 10-5 all-time against Pete Carroll (4-0 with Stafford) and the Rams snap a three-game losing streak.
Did the Los Angeles Rams get lucky? Yes. Did Sean McVay almost blow it multiple times yesterday? Yes. Do all the problems that required Drew Lock and a fortuitous field goal miss to overcome still exist? ABSOLUTELY! But, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. It was a weird and agonizing game that sent fans into a glass case of emotions and even though some are still salty in victory it’s ok to enjoy the little things.
Sean McVay Remains His Own Worst Enemy
It isn’t clear why, McVay who is by all metrics a good coach and YET seems to find ways to put the Rams in a corner. He nearly Munson’d the end of the game.
The offense was running the ball and then forcing Pete Carroll to call timeouts and chew gum at the same time. Then on second and goal calls an absolutely risky pass play that Puka Nacua nearly allowed to be intercepted. Sure, he was trying to go for the touchdown but they were running it with relative ease. Not only that but he allowed Pete to keep his last time out until the end. That wasn’t his only blunder.
The entire game the offense seemed out of sorts, unprepared, and stale. Unfortunately, it took Cooper Kupp going down (more on that later) for the offense to get creative.
Puka Nacua finally got his first target post-Kupp injury and Matthew Stafford had to throw to Tutu Atwell, Demarcus Robinson, Darrell Henderson, and Austin Trammell. The running game even functioned better once he stuck with Royce Freeman because he had a burst post tackle.
Henderson scored the touchdown in the fourth but he was routinely tackled behind the line for a loss or would fall down on first contact.
The offense was so efficient the first two weeks and now it just seems like a disjointed mess. On the opening drive, they were gifted 50 penalty yards and yet couldn’t punch it in on a fourth and goal. He called an idiotic sweep on third and goal instead of trusting his backs to barrel in or figure out a way to get his receivers open.
His play-calling has been dreadful for weeks now and it’s baffling what happened. The flea flicker he called was cool but was so poorly executed and Stafford got speared Goldberg style. The offense was sloppy all around and inefficient. It all starts with him.
The defense kept them in it in the second half and McVay and the offense almost refused to accept the gift at every turn until the end. He needs to figure himself out if the Rams are to get better.
Cooper Kupp Might Get Gurley’d
Two things can be true. Cooper Kupp is an incredible receiver and the Rams are better without him. Also, the play-calling got better when he went out with an ankle injury. It’s not his fault. This goes back to McVay.
Coop is on the wrong side of 30 and McVay can’t put all of the offense on his shoulders because like what happened with Todd Gurley, he’s being run into the ground at his expense and the expense of the rest of the offense.
By not having one central figure to run the offense through, more people got involved, and guess what? Good things happened. It’s not a bad thing to want to get your Super Bowl MVP involved but not to the point where he can’t stay healthy.
The reason why the play-calling got better when Kupp was out is also because the offense became simplified and less reliant on precise timing. At this stage in Kupp’s career, McVay should be finding ways to preserve Kupp not make him a surprise trade/cut in the offseason.
Derion Kendrick And Tyler Higbee Can’t Help Themselves
Derion Kendrick inexplicably started at corner yesterday despite being consistent at two things, getting burnt, and committing a dumb penalty at the worst possible time. Kendrick has been called for nine penalties this season and even when he made the pick in the fourth quarter he still got a penalty for taunting because, of course, he did.
Higbee similarly whiffs on blocks to the point where it feels like he’s actively trying to get Stafford killed. He murders drives with ill-timed drops and even when he does something awesome like his seventeen-yard catch that put the Rams in the red zone late, he took away a Henderson touchdown because he committed a penalty. Their consistency is almost admirable at this point.
Aaron Donald Is Still A Monster Even Without The Stats
Aaron Donald only registered one tackle yesterday and YET he remains on Monarch’s most-watched list. His ability to get pressure is well-documented but today he swung the game by absolutely demolishing Geno Smith and forcing a bad throw that was almost intercepted.
Geno was out of the game until the last drive and the Drew Lock stretches were fortuitous for a defense whose DBs were more than happy to leave the middle of the field open for D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba especially when it was on third or fourth down.
Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford Is A Tough S.O.B.
Stafford’s body is breaking down but damn it if he isn’t trying to fight it. Yes, he can be frustrating at times like missing Henderson on what would’ve yielded at least a 50-yard gain rather than a punt. He was running for his life all day and yet still evaded defenders and found receivers when needed.
He was sacked only one time and yet hit a ton. It looked like Carson Wentz would be coming in but NOPE. He came back after being GORED and led two game-winning drives. Yes, he still had his turnover but he’s not a quitter and he’s definitely not retiring.
The timeline where the Rams make the playoffs hasn’t been entirely pruned (but it’s close). Kyren Williams comes back and they have a mostly favorable schedule going forward.
Arizona presents an opportunity to sweep another divisional opponent and dig themselves out of their hole. It will take Sean McVay to not be sloppy and whether they do it without Kupp or not remains to be seen.
Things looked dark all day and while the tanking crowd took a hit because, as of now, the Rams would have the twelfth pick as opposed to the seventh but that’s okay. They still shouldn’t tank. Their young guys are learning to overcome adversity and the pieces are still there to win games. It all comes down to whether or not McVay can get out of his own head.