There’s a black and white philosophy to sports that’s certainly appealing in a sense. If your team does their job and plays up to their potential and they win more than the other teams, they will be rewarded. To some, this is a more satisfying of an escape than something subjective like a book or a movie.
With sports, even though things are essentially black and white, there’s a grey area that lurks underneath the surface, adding the dramatic tension before things get boring.
What sort of grey area has affected the Rams, you ask? Well, first off, the LA Rams could possibly finish with a better record that the NFC East division winner, who could potentially finish with a below 500 record and still make the playoffs.
Other grey area excuses include:
- The offensive line has only two starters, LT Andrew Whitworth and OL Austin Blythe, from their Week 1 roster — that’s almost just an injury excuse, but RT Rob Havenstein’s regression has been mysterious. He’s being paid like a superstar offensive lineman while a third-round rookie is playing better than Havenstein before his injury.
- RB Todd Gurley has only 177 touches and any sort of justification for his lower than usual usage is still specultive.
- QB Jared Goff has regressed significantly from last season without an injury to blame.
- K Greg Zuerlein’s field goal % has dropped to 75.9 from 87.1 the previous year.
Is this how the LA Rams are dealing with their Super Bowl hangover?
Los Angeles Rams fans, like any other NFL fanbase, have been telling themselves that if the Rams can just win, they will be in charge of their destiny.
If the Minnesota Vikings win their last three games, they’ll have the #6 seed in the NFC playoffs and whatever happens with the Rams’ final games will be irrelevant. Of course, any team finishing with an 11-5 record and NOT making the playoffs is a bad beat. But will the finger pointing be on the LA Rams or just the cruel hands of fate?
So, a decent amount of luck will be needed for the Rams to sneak into the postseason, that’s nothing new. What will sting for Rams fans is the idea that the team is finally playing to the level that many fans thought they were capable of at the start of the season.
Maybe I enjoy chaos more than most, but I find these sort of predicaments fascinating and obviously agonizing. I wouldn't say that it’s accurate to label this season a bust if the Rams don’t make the playoffs. Yes, it’s a disappointment. But there are levels to a fan’s grief.
Talk to a New York Jets fan and this idea is very clear. No matter what their final record ends up being, a Jets fan will talk your ear off on all the insane injustices that could only happen to the Jets. Their starting QB, Sam Darnold, missed the first quarter of the season because he got the kissing disease that the weird drama kid at your high school got when he was 15. You know, the grey area.
Maybe I’m just trying to talk myself into a good feeling about this season. There’s a lot about this season’s LA Rams that has been a blast to watch. The emergence of ILB Cory Littleton, the recent play of rookie OL Bobby Evans, and the idea that both WRs, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, could each amass 1000 yards receiving. Oh, and DE Aaron Donald — the LA Rams have Aaron freaking Donald on their team.
So, if my QB Kirk Cousins voodoo doll fails to live up its lofty expectations and the Rams don’t receive the luck they need, I will still enjoy every minute of this team — grey areas and all.