From a three-game winning streak to a three-game losing streak, the 2016 Los Angeles Rams’ season has turned on its head in the last three weeks.
Now headed into a bye week after a humiliating loss on an international stage, the Rams are forced to take stock of what’s going wrong and try to get it fixed before another season turns the second half of the schedule into preparation operations.
Here’s the landscape moving forward.
The Rams got through yesterday largely unscathed by all indications.
Going into the game with the official injury report, CB Trumaine Johnson and DT Michael Brockers were both ruled out while WR Nelson Spruce and G Jamon Brown were “Doubtful.” With the bye week, we won’t get an official injury report until November 2. There’s reason to think it will look very good for the Rams though if the bye week helps those four heal up with the rest.
And here’s the epicenter.
Now seven games into Jeff Fisher’s fifth season as head coach and the architect of the entire Rams’ performance arc, and things look...imperfect.
The Rams’ 2015 third-round QB and the 2016 NFL Draft #1 overall pick that they mortgaged most of their top draft capital in 2016 and 2017 to be able to select remain sidelined in favor of Case Keenum, the QB they brought in as the backup last year. Keenum is now averaging less than 250 yards per game having thrown eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions after yesterday’s quartet. Through seven games last season, former Rams QB Nick Foles was averaging less than 190 yards while throwing seven TDs to just five INTs leading the Rams to their only winning record through seven games under Fisher.
Todd Gurley, he who almost single-handedly carried the team’s offensive hopes into 2016 thanks largely to the team’s impressive marketing efforts, has been rendered inept. Inept due to the effect of the coaches’ play selection and interdependence. Inept due to the offensive line. And inept due to his individual degeneration. That was only reinforced by yesterday’s game plan which saw Keenum throw the ball 53 times to Gurley’s 15 rushes.
Meanwhile, the Rams’ defense put together one of its finer showings tamping down the Giants’ passing game with Odell Beckham, Jr., and Co. while making short work of New York’s running game.
Between Keenum’s four interceptions and the Rams’ eight penalties (culture change!), the offense found a way to squander the defense’s poor showing, a complete 180 from the week prior.
Last night’s tie between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals could be the difference for making and missing the playoffs for one of those two.
The Rams remain in striking distance of the Cards, but the three-game losing streak that knocked the Rams from the NFC West perch certainly threatens to put both Seattle and Arizona out of sight if things don’t turn around immediately following the bye week.
Into the depths we go.
The bye week comes at an opportune time. Rams fans need to brace for the upcoming five-game run that will determine the 2016 season. The pressure is already on to crown Jared Goff at some point in this two-week period. The injury report should thin out heading into Week 9. And the Rams will finally get back to the Coliseum for just their third game of the regular season there.
Welcome to the quiet before the storm.