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Late Loss In Week 11 Changes Perspective For LA Rams

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Here’s the landscape for the Rams coming out of Week 11.

Los Angeles Rams Vs. Miami Dolphins
Los Angeles Rams Vs. Miami Dolphins
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was disappointing. And really that’s all it was.

The Los Angeles Rams dropped their Week 11 home showing against the Miami Dolphins, 10-14, ruining QB Jared Goff’s NFL debut in the process.

Heading into the backstretch of the regular season, here’s how things are shaping up for the Rams.

Injuries

Having placed WR Nelson Spruce on IR, none of the Rams’ six players on the final injury report missed the game on Sunday.

The Rams didn’t get through this weekend unscathed though as rookie LB Josh Forrest might have torn his ACL which would end his season and perhaps delay his 2017 entry beyond training camp.

Performance Issues

We’ll have to see how things get re-calibrated for the offense now that Jared Goff will be able to get into a weekly groove for games that aren’t his NFL debut warranting sob stories from Jeff Fisher acolyte Mike Silver over at NFL.com. Of course, that also assumes the Rams actually focus on practicing and installing the offense instead of entertaining Britney Spears and LA Dodgers CF Joc Pederson.

The real problem is that Fisherball doesn’t operate an expanded offense so trying to do so will be forced and disfigured. The same way a QB feels pressured to make tougher throws if their team is losing late in a game, that pressure isn’t likely to lead to positive outcomes consistently from Goff moving forward. And if Jeff Fisher is serious about his commitment to Goff’s long-term development and not just exploiting him in the short term to invite a contract extension, shoehorning Goff into some more aggressive passing packages just because isn’t a good way to display that commitment.

And so we’re stuck in this weird rut of taking Jared Goff’s 134-yard debut and normalizing it because, well, it is the norm for this offense.

Standings

2016 NFC West Standings - Week 11
2016 NFC West Standings - Week 11

Since the Rams’ Week 2 win over the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle has gone 6-1-1. LA is 3-5 in the same span.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals couldn’t complete the comeback over the Minnesota Vikings as QB Carson Palmer looked all of his 36 years. The loss moves them to 4-5-1 and deep in the pocket of the NFC playoff picture:

2016 NFC Playoff Standings - Week 11
2016 NFC Playoff Standings - Week 11

For the Rams, the firewall in front of them of the four-win teams makes a playoff run very tough. Sure, their recent form going 1-5 doesn’t make that kind of run likely, but the point is that even if the Rams do pick up some wins in the upcoming weeks they’re going to need help across the conference as well to turn things greener.

Schedule

And this is why it’s incredibly hard to buy in to a playoff run even in spite of the recent results — the upcoming stretch is ugly.

The Rams now face a two-game road stretch against the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots before coming home in Week 14 to take on the 6-4 NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons. The Rams then turn around on a short week to head to Seattle to meet the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football in Week 15.

Tough sledding indeed.