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Los Angeles Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles: What we learned from the big loss in Week 14

If the Rams learned anything on Sunday, it should be how to play football like the Philadelphia Eagles.

Philadelphia Eagles v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Rams were not ready for the Eagles

The Rams played competitive football. In fact, it felt like a postseason matchup between these two. But the Rams were not ready for the Eagles, plain and simple.

The first half of the the game was all Eagles. Philadelphia took advantages of mismatches in the defense, specifically their tight ends against SS John Johnson. Two of the three first half touchdowns had Johnson on his back after the tight end came down with the catch. You could argue that Johnson should have taken better angles. But it ultimately came down to the smaller Johnson getting beat by a bigger body with good hands.

The Eagles defense also rattled the offense at times. QB Jared Goff had a handful of terrible throws that, fortunately for him, went incomplete. When the Rams drove down near the goal line, setting up for their second touchdown, Goff tossed a weak pass that could have been easily picked off by the linebacker. The next play, HB Todd Gurley fumbles a pass in his chest and the pass goes incomplete. Had it not been for WR Cooper Kupp, the Rams would have had to kick a field goal from inside the 10 yard-line.

The Rams played solid football. But they failed to execute against Philly, who took everything the Rams gave them.

The Rams need to finish

At the beginning of both halves, the Rams offense and defense came out firing. In the first offensive drive for the Rams at each half, Goff and the offense looked like a well-oiled machine. The defense in turn bent but didn’t break and forced the Eagles to punt the ball on their first drive after half.

Then, things slowed down.

The Rams seemed hot-and-cold throughout the game. After the punch-in from Gurley to take the lead, the Rams had the game slip through their grasp. While it was terrible to see, QB Caron Wentz’s injury should have been the opening the defense needed to close the game out. Instead, QB Nick Foles managed the game well enough to keep the Rams from their 10th win.

The pass-rush could do nothing when the opportunity presented itself. Wentz was on a bum knee for the last drive he played, and he stayed in long enough to throw a touchdown that reclaimed the lead.

There’s no need to blame the refs

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to chalk up a bad penalty to the refs. While agree that jawing between the CB Trumaine Johnson and the WR Ashlon Jeffery should not lead to a massive penalty, I will say that shoving the receiver and then getting in his face isn’t smart, either.

Neither is hanging on the tight end by MLB Alec Ogeltree. Neither is going off-sides when the Eagles are driving in the second-half.

And neither is this blatant late-hit.

However, I will say that DT Aaron Donald never committed a roughing-the-passer penalty. It’s a textbook case of the NFL protecting the start quarterbacks.

I also have no idea what the hell “leveraging” is or that it was an actual call for a football game.

Blaming the refs is a cop-out. It’s a straw man argument that allows the losing fan base some sort of comfort as they ALL-CAPS their way through a message board debate. The Eagles committed more penalties than the Rams, but they found a way to come out of the game victorious.

Robey-Coleman deserves some credit for his performance Sunday

The pass-defense had a bad football game. But the best player on the field was not the No. 1 corner. Instead it was CB Nickell Robey-Colman. While he let up a big gain that eventually led to Philly points in the second quarter, he otherwise played lights-out football.

Robey-Coleman made his tackles, had tight coverage for most of the game, and came up big late in the game when the Rams needed him, stopping the Eagles from gaining the first down and forcing them to kick the field goal instead of getting another shot at a touchdown.

His teammates need to mimic his play, especially Johnson.

Again, there is hope

Take away last-second touchdown off the Music City Miracle play, and the Rams only lost this game by two points. A loss is a loss and this is a game they should have won, but the Rams proved how talented they are. This isn’t the Jeff Fisher spin-zone, where we just speculate that if 1,000 things went differently, the Rams win. The game could have actually changed if a few plays went a different way.

And the Rams are learning. Against the Minnesota Vikings, the Rams offense played bad football against a tough defense. Against Philly, whose defense is No. 1 against the run and No. 6 overall, the Rams offense put up nearly 30 points.

We are in the fourth quarter of the season. The Rams have three games against the division (Seattle, San Francisco) and one game against the Tennessee Titans, who is no slouch.

The Rams are battle-tested and will continue to learn. Let’s just hope the learning curve is low at this point in the season.