Yesterday’s defensive failure for the Los Angeles Rams was a very unwelcome reminder of how hard it is to sustain the kind of defensive performances we had gotten accustomed to this season.
The Rams had gone four games in a row holding their opponents to 17 points or less.
That is good.
We won just one of those games.
That is bad.
Having won just one of our last seven games, here’s what we’re looking at heading into December.
CB E.J. Gaines missed a bit with a “chest injury”, but he was able to continue. WR Kenny Britt was shaken up too, and he was also to stick it out.
The bigger hit is OL Rodger Saffold who incurred a hand injury and didn’t return. We’ll have to see if the injury is significant enough to warrant extended time out, but his inability to return to the game is worrisome.
Losing Saffold not only thins out the depth for the line but removes many of the personnel options his versatility provides. Take yesterday’s starting lineup change with the (temporary) demotion of LT Greg Robinson. That move might have only been feasible because Saffold could slide over to fill in. If OT Andrew Donnal doesn’t feel anywhere near comfortable at the position in his second NFL season, it’s hard to endorse handing him the starting keys.
Yes, the defense was horrible yesterday in nearly every aspect. It’s worth acknowledging the offense’s first half though which was very, very good. The Rams, per usual, looked solid in the early, scripted work. But it was the eight-play two-minute drill at the end of the first half that impressed the most. That’s a very inspiring sign from QB Jared Goff in just his second NFL game and his first road contest.
The problem for Goff and the offense is that the second half reverted to the form we saw in his debut against the Miami Dolphins. Over the final two quarters, Goff went 8/12 for 47 yards and nothing close to a touchdown.
A 1-6 run from the last seven games hasn’t allowed the Rams to stay competitive in the NFC West despite the failings from the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers. It’s also helped the Rams plummet in the playoff picture:
Things aren’t inviting on this front.
The Rams have to travel to New England before coming home to face the NFL’s highest scoring offense in the Atlanta Falcons before turning back around to visit the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks.
No rest for the weary.