The Los Angeles Rams lost arguably the ugliest game under Head Coach Sean McVay’s tutelage on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 17-12. The performance wasn’t the worst the Rams had under McVay as they’ve been completely stifled in past performances against teams like the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers, but this game represented a massive opportunity for the Rams to attempt to close the gap in the NFC playoff race, and they miserably failed.
Let’s get into the stock report:
What a putrid performance by this group upfront. Unfortunately for the Rams, they lost both C Brian Allen and RT Rob Havenstein to injury in the game, with neither returning after going down. It made absolutely no difference though as the offensive line was terrible prior to and after the injuries. The running game was completely invisible outside of the runs that were specific to Todd Gurley — those actually turned out well — and the pass pro was just horrendous. QB Jared Goff was sacked four times, but he was pressured on nearly every dropback.
QB Jared Goff
Goff wasn’t given any chance to succeed in this game, but he was also bad, regardless of the situation that surrounded him. Goff was credited for two interceptions and three fumbles on the day, a total of five turnovers. That is obviously a recipe for disaster. Goff wasn’t accurate or decisive, some of which can surely be blamed by the muddied pockets and getting clobbered all game. Still, Goff can’t really get knocked too badly due to the performance from his offensive line.
The best offense the Rams had on the day was when Todd Gurley was running the ball. The issue was Gurley only received 12 rushing attempts, totaling 73 yards and 6.1-yards-per-carry. McVay went away from Gurley way too often, particularly in the 4th quarter.
The refs were terrible. The issue was the lack of any semblance of consistency. Goff was credited with a fumble on a play where his arm looked to be going forward, ala the Tuck Rule. The issue wasn’t the way it was called. The thing to note was the refs letting the play-play out, and then using the video evidence to confirm/review the call. They handed the Steelers a defensive touchdown, which ultimately was upheld upon review. The Rams then hit QB Mason Rudolph on two separate instances that were nearly identical, and BOTH were ruled incomplete throws as opposed to fumbles, letting the play go, and then reviewing it as they did with the Steelers. Why was there no consistency in these calls, and why did only one side get to benefit from the refs calling it properly?
TE Gerald Everett
Everett continues to be a mismatch for defenses, especially when you consider his incredible yards-after-catch (YAC) ability. Everett secured eight receptions on 12 targets for 68 yards. Everett’s only gaff on the day came in a two-minute drill where he elected to stay in-bounds as opposed to getting out and stopping the clock, but otherwise had a great performance.
WR Josh Reynolds
JRey stepped in for the injured Brandin Cooks, and as he always does, produced and ensured there wasn’t much of a drop-off. Reynolds pulled down three receptions on five targets for 49 yards. Reynolds didn’t do anything spectacular, but it’s good to know he’s prepared to be the guy for as long as Cooks remains sidelined.
DT Aaron Donald
Not really getting to enjoy his homecoming due to a loss, Donald balled out as per usual. #99 was the force behind the safety, which ultimately gave the Rams momentum and a shot to really turn the game around, but they didn’t capitalize offensively. Donald finished the game with five tackles, 0.5 sacks, and two tackles-for-loss.
EDGE Clay Matthews
Playing in his first game since Week 5, Matthews performed incredibly, showing no signs of rust. Matthews registered three tackles, 1.5 sacks (half a sack on the safety with Donald), and one tackle-for-loss. It was a nice return for the veteran edge rusher.
RB Todd Gurley
Gurley was awful as a receiver — zero catches on four targets — though his quarterback did him no favors with inaccurate passes. As a runner, Gurley looked incredibly fresh and decisive, gaining 73 yards on the ground for an average of 6.1 YPC. Gurley showed a nice jump-cut in the backfield which helped set up his holes on multiple occasions.