Reviewing The X-Factors In The Rams Loss To The Titans
The Los Angeles Rams lost to the Tennessee Titans in disappointing fashion on Sunday Night Football. The Rams seemed out of sorts with way too many uncharacteristic penalties. Turnovers plagued the Rams offense. Coaching decisions were suspect. Ultimately, it was just a poor effort. The Rams are now 7-2 and moving on to next week. Let’s review the x-factors that were discussed prior to the Rams letdown.
Shut Down The Titans Run Game
The Rams defense largely played great in this game. The run defense did exactly what they were supposed to do. The Titans running backs totaled 74 yards on 22 carries for a measly 3.3 yards per carry. Adrian Peterson and Jeremy McNichols were unable to get anything going. The only bright spot for the Titans was D’Onta Foreman who had 5 carries for 29 yards.
The defense was led by A’Shawn Robinson who had 4 run stops. Aaron Donald, Jordan Fuller, and Leonard Floyd each had 3 stops themselves. Ernest Jones didn’t have the same performance as the previous week but it wasn’t a bad game either.
Raheem Morris’ defense stopped the Titans from moving the ball effectively how they normally do. Unfortunately, the run defense had one big gaffe. Floyd did not keep contain on a red zone play where Ryan Tannehill faked the handoff and trotted into the end zone for six. Not only did Floyd break contain (very uncharacteristic) but he ran into Donald who looked like he might’ve made the stop as well. The Rams run defense was one of the most important x-factors in keeping this game close.
Continue Good Offensive Line Play
It couldn’t have gone any worse for the Rams offensive line on Sunday. Normally a stout unit, they looked atrocious against the Titans. While they looked good run blocking, until Sean McVay panicked and abandoned the run, the pass blocking just wasn’t up to par. Some of the sacks were at least partially the fault of Matthew Stafford holding the ball for too long. However, Austin Corbett, David Edwards, and Brian Allen were routinely walked back into the pocket but the Titans defensive line.
Sean McVay didn’t adjust in the first half to the pressure and it was one of the worst halves of football I have witnessed on offense. In the second half, he adjusted and had success running bootlegs to alleviate the struggling offensive line. However, he then seemingly abandoned what was working in favor of his stubborn ego and original game plan to the chagrin of fans. What resulted was more struggling and Stafford injuring his ankle.
As expected, Jeffery Simmons was dangerous with 9 pressures and 3 sacks. He did his best impersonation of Donald. Meanwhile, Denico Autry had 6 pressures and 2 sacks himself. Harold Landry also added 5 pressures and 1 sack. The frustrating thing was it seemed like the Rams had the answer to the problem but decided to bomb the test anyways. The poor play of the offensive line was one of the most critical x-factors in this loss.
Again, Raheem Morris’s defense was outstanding. They only let up 14 total points and 7 of those came late in the fourth quarter as they added the finishing touches to a gritty win. Tannehill was almost a non-factor as a passer, throwing for just 143 yards. He also threw an interception to Jalen Ramsey early in the game. The Rams got some decent pressure on Tannehill and they kept the Titans offense sputtering all night. Floyd led the charge with 3 pressures and 2 sacks. Donald and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo each had 3 pressures and a sack as well. Terrell Lewis had 3 pressures and Greg Gaines added 2 pressures and a sack.
Make no mistake, the defense was the only thing that kept the Rams in this game. They were one of the only bright spots in an overall abysmal effort. Tannehill was held to an 82.7 passer rating and didn’t complete a single pass over 20 yards despite having Julio Jones and A.J. Brown to throw to. The Rams stressing Tannehill was one of the more exciting x-factors in this game.
Big Performance For Stafford
As Stafford attempted to keep the lead for the MVP race, he had anything but a good performance. It was reminiscent of a former Rams quarterback who shall not be named. Stafford held the ball too long, he made bad reads, and he turned the ball over like he was back in Detroit. Stafford crumbled under pressure early in the game and threw the ball awkwardly to avoid a sack and it went right into the hands of David Long-it resulted in an inevitable Titans touchdown.
The second interception came in the exact way I was afraid of. Kevin Byard baited Stafford and as he released the ball Byard made a break on the pass and picked it off for a pick-six. Byard is having a great campaign and could end up as the Defensive Player of the Year as he now has 5 interceptions on the season.
Stafford and McVay’s terrible performances led to spotting the Titans 14 points and the Rams were unable to ever recover. Stafford’s poor play was one of the least impressive x-factors in this disappointing performance.