What we learned.
More like what we need to find out…
The Los Angeles Rams were slapped on national television on Sunday night by the Chicago Bears. They have now dropped road games against the other top NFC contenders; one loss because of their defense in New Orleans, the other due to a flaccid offensive performance in Chicago.
It happens, mulligans flow in a league that trends toward parity. In fact, it’s remarkable that the Rams were able to roll to an 11-1 record prior to Sunday’s loss. However, this season is about winning the franchise’s second Lombardi trophy, so trends can be alarming late in the season, so the Rams need to right the ship this week.
Since the bye week, the Rams offense has looked inconsistent at best. They always have the chance of striking in a hurry, but when that doesn’t happen they’ve had little to hang their hat on. For most of the season, the Rams celebrated offense has shown a mastery of rhythm, and pace to keep defenses off balance and vulnerable. The Bears are a great defense, and the Lions have some disruptive pieces, yet there was still plenty left to be desired in the last two showings. Quarterback Jared Goff looked off, and way off, in his two worst games of the season. Some of his passes made it look like he needs a spot on Frasier Crane’s couch to sort out some issues out before taking the field again. While not all his sloppy work was due to pressure, plenty of it was, and Goff is clearly not very comfortable.
Early in the season there was plenty of debate over who deserved the lion’s share of credit for the Rams prolific offense. Should praise be sent first to Sean McVay and his magic playbook? Or to Goff, who was performing surgery on defenses week in and week out? Or was Todd Gurley the one who set everything up? It was obviously the line the whole time. They were the Jenga piece. The last two weeks they have started looking older and having mental lapses, and the consequently the offense has taken a hard face plant. Can they turn it around and regain their form?
The Rams pulled things together after their other loss to the Saints in Week 9, but this one felt more like the Twilight Zone. We’re simply not used to seeing this offense look like zombies, they have been a constant with this team. With Philadelphia coming to town for what might be a rain soaked game, what can McVay design to help Goff regain his mojo and reestablish Todd Gurley? This week will tell us a lot about what this team can be in the playoffs. They have the pieces to claim that it’s more about themselves than any opponent, but without their line, there will be no stage for the Surf Show.
If the offense continues to struggle, then the defense, which is looking far more capable lately, will have to flex in ways that we have only seen in spurts so far. But hey, maybe Marcus Peters playing more zone schemes and the addition of Dante Fowler can turn them back into a Top 10 unit.
Last season the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles limped into the playoffs and looked like an easy out. The book is not yet written for the 2018 Los Angeles Rams, it’s just getting good, we hope.
Let’s see if the Rams take their loss personal and reestablish their identity back home