It would’ve been nice to have seen the Los Angeles Rams come out swinging and defeat Green Bay but alas the Rams still can’t get out of their own way. Once again, the Rams blew a winnable game and for a lot of the same reasons. While there were areas of improvement, there were still signs that something is still wrong and time is running out to fix it. The biggest thing the Rams need to fix, and they need to do it yesterday, are turnovers.
Matthew Stafford had another absolutely DREADFUL series of unfortunate events that helped cost the Rams a win. He had a fumble after getting hit in the elbow and had another pick-six, tying Matt Shaubb for most pick-sixes in a three-game stretch. Yes, he had three touchdowns today but he’s still having trouble moving in the pocket which makes sense because he’s hurt.
His line didn’t do him a ton of favors though as they struggled to give him time against a Packers defense that is missing three starters. Stafford is still holding onto the ball too long and that is having massive reverberations on the rest of the team. He’s not the only reason they lost today, however, yes his turnovers killed them but they also had a bad fumble on special teams which remains a tire fire.
Sony Michel is apparently the kick returner now which…fine, but the punting unit was disastrous. Not just the fumble by J.J. Koski but Johnny Hekker had several short punts which in turn makes life harder on the defense.
Defensively, the Rams were a mixed bag. On one hand, they didn’t give up 100 yards of rushing and did make stops when they had to. On the other, Troy Reeder was picked on ALL DAY which resulted in converted third and fourth downs.
Von Miller had five tackles but he also had an IDIOTIC penalty on third-down.
Greg Gaines played well and continues to get better as a run stopper.
The secondary gave up too many big plays but that stems from a front seven that has Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, and Aaron Donald against a battered Packers line, and YET couldn’t generate much of a pass rush. That’s the most baffling part of the defensive performance today. As much of a punching bag as Raheem Morris is that’s not on him. Aaron Rodgers is always able to make magic, even with a fractured toe, but the Rams front seven should’ve at least made it harder for him. It’s baffling.
Despite the turnovers, there were positives on offense. As previously stated, Sean McVay ran the ball a lot more this week and even utilized play-action a little more. Stafford had two explosive touchdowns to Van Jefferson and Odell Beckham and they even converted a two-point conversion (yes in spite of themselves). Unfortunately, they struggled to get Tyler Higbee involved much and they’re clearly still trying to figure out what to do without Robert Woods.
While McVay did fix some stuff there were still calls that were as cringe as Kendall Roy’s birthday party. He went for it on fourth down on their own 30 and while it’s nice he’s being aggressive they couldn’t get enough push for a one-yard run. He also elected NOT to go for it in the fourth quarter when they actually needed some aggression. McVay did run the ball but not nearly enough and still opted for empty sets. Sure, their tight end room is thin but there wasn’t any effort to integrate Hopkins or anyone else to run 12 personnel or attempt much of anything creative beyond empty sets.
The Rams are their own worst enemy. It isn’t clear why and despite what the future GMs and coaches of America will say, no one outside the building actually knows. Yes, they are BANGED UP and while they didn’t get blown out there were stretches where it seemed hopeless. That isn’t just fatalism. It does feel like something is fundamentally off and while they might (MIGHT) win a tune-up game against the Jags, they haven’t demonstrated that they can rise to the level of their competition since Tampa.
They are 1-3 against teams over .500. That doesn’t bode well going forward. They’re honestly staring down the barrel of being third place in the NFC West and while their problems are still fixable there aren’t many signs that they know how to do that. They haven’t won a game since Halloween and it’s about to be December. They have plenty of talent but they need to stop stepping on rakes. They’ve slogged through “No Win November”, let’s hope the Rams can make the next month a December to remember (fondly).