Normally, Los Angeles Rams fans would be talking about the regular season that was and the playoff run that could be right now. Instead, thanks to the extra game this year, the Rams are just now gearing up for an important Week 18 tilt against the 9-7 San Francisco 49ers to defend their lead in the NFC West. However, to get to this point, the Rams needed a comeback win against the Baltimore Ravens. The team got the job done and emerged victorious. However, not every player had the game they wanted. Here’s a look at the winners and losers of Week 17.
Los Angeles Rams Winners And Losers: Week 17
With Cooper Kupp’s performance, he’s entered immortality in the Rams’ organization. Kupp passed Isaac Bruce as the franchise leader for receiving yards in a season. Kupp’s name will be listed above some of the best players to ever play in the NFL. His single-season total is also in range to break the all-time record. With a big game against the San Francisco 49ers, Kupp could pass Calvin Johnson‘s 1,964-yard season from 2012.
To do this, Kupp would need 136 yards. He’s earned that much in three games this season. Will he be able to do it for a fourth? If not, he will only need 33 yards to have the second-highest total of all time. Aside from a win, every Rams fan should be rooting for this and make an effort to see it live.
It wasn’t the prettiest performance of the year, but the Rams rallied back from a down deficit at halftime the spring a rare Sean McVay-led comeback. Before this game, McVay was 6-24 when trailing at halftime. While a win in this fashion doesn’t move the needle much on this stat, it could be something that he can study and glean what led to the comeback. If he can figure out how to replicate what led to the comeback, he can be better at fighting his way back into games going forward. At this point, comebacks have been one of the largest and only knocks against McVay’s teams as a head coach. Even at their best, they’ve struggled to counter-punch teams.
Sony Michel is redefining his career in the NFL before the Rams’ eyes. After two months with the Rams, it seemed like Michel was going to get the ax when Cam Akers returned. Instead, Akers is back and Michel is still the leading rusher. Of course, Akers is still fighting back from his injury, but one would guess that if Michel wasn’t playing as well as he is, Akers would have played by this point.
Considering the injury to Darrell Henderson, the Rams would have seen Akers as a godsend and immediately thrown him into the lineup. Instead, Michel has given himself extra runway with the team to fight for a chance to start next season. If he doesn’t start with the Rams, he could be a starter elsewhere in the NFL. Sunday’s performance gave Michel plenty of reasons to argue that in 2022. Michel rushed 19 times for 74 yards and a touchdown in the contest.
It has been a quiet result from a loud signing thus far, but Von Miller is heating up at the best time. During the game against the Ravens, Miller earned two sacks, including one that essentially acted as a dagger. It was vintage Miller and exactly what the Rams will need if they are going to make a deep playoff run. If Miller is going to explode in the post-season alongside Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford may not need to do much to get to the Promised Land. Miller currently has three sacks with the Rams. If he can get two next week, he will have earned more with the Rams than the Broncos this season.
Once again, Matthew Stafford had a rough outing. He threw a pick-six and had two interceptions overall, plus a lost fumble in the contest. Considering Joe Burrow lit up the Ravens’ secondary the previous week for the fourth-highest passing yards total of all-time, it was thought that Stafford could also have at least a good game. Instead, Stafford fell on his face. The Rams won the game, and Stafford deserves credit for that, but he cannot play like he did against the Ravens and expect to win playoff games. In the contest, Stafford threw for two touchdowns and two interceptions.
To beat his career record for passing touchdowns in a season, Stafford will need to throw for at least four in Sunday’s game. If he fails to do this, he won’t have a new passing touchdowns personal record despite having an extra game and better roster. Put simply, it would be a disappointment after the overall season that Stafford has had to stumble in the final month and slip short of the record.
Of course, on paper, the Rams’ defense was fine. They allowed 12 points of offense. However, situationally, they allowed the Ravens to do what they wanted. The zone calls allowed easy first-downs and kept the Ravens’ offense on the field. Despite having an overflowing vat of talent, the Rams’ defense has taken a big step back since letting Brandon Staley walk. This is clearly evident. That said, with the talent level and playoff experience present on the team, the Rams will still have a big advantage against the first round of opponents in terms of playoff experience. However, if Raheem Morris calls a game like this against a playoff opponent, the Rams’ defense will be in trouble as players find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time repeatedly.