On a typical game day for the Los Angles Rams, 27 points would be enough to come away with a win. However, on those games, the score wasn’t 55-40, the defense showed up, and the offensive line was... well, it was better than this performance.
Suffice to say, the grades are in and it’s not good.
I know, I know. some fans believe QB Jared Goff should get a failing grade because he turned the ball over four times and missed several open receivers in what could have been a competitive game early on. However, Goff never gave up and kept the offense moving in the 4th quarter to get out of garbage time, making it a game for a hot second. Throwing 517 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions, and one fumble, Goff was all over the place, but he kept fighting and I have to respect that. He was the reason the Rams were never truly out of this game.
Was it performance or play design? Regardless, 28 yards rushing is not what you want out of your run game. But with 11 touches, it wasn’t like they really had the opportunity to do much damage.
These guys played like stars again. WR Robert Woods was an MVP, constantly bailing out Goff when they needed it. WR Cooper Kupp had a fantastic touchdown reception, but I keep thinking about how valuable Woods is — 13 catches for 164 yards.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is weak in the middle of the field, allowing big tight ends to thrive and that’s exactly what happened with TE Gerald Everett. It wasn’t a dominant performance statistically, but he provided the juice to the offense when the Rams needed it.
How do you give an offensive line unit a bad grade when the team scores 40 points? Well, it felt like the Rams scored all those points despite the O-line. Too many penalties, too much broken coverage, and a non-existent run game. The play that sealed the game — Goff’s strip sack — had the O-line’s fingerprints all over it. And honestly, Goff would have had a much better game if the offensive line played better.
DT Sebastian Joseph-Day was very active and played pretty well and DE Michael Brockers was more alive than usual. DE Aaron Donald had a tackle for a loss, but wasn’t spectacular as usual. The problem was: they gave QB Jameis Winston way too much time to pass.
Again, Winston was relatively comfortable on Sunday, passing for 385 yards and four touchdowns. The EDGE rushers just couldn’t get enough pressure, allowing the Bucs to explode with the passing game.
CB Marcus Peters had himself a dramatic pick 6 that pulled him out of the game, but when you look at the rest of the plays, it was a disaster. Peters got torched on the previous drive with a WR Mike Evans TD reception. The Rams have been relying on the secondary to cover up for the struggles with the offense early in the season, but this was the game where the wheels came off.
K Greg Zuerlein made all his kicks, including a 58 yard beauty. WR Jojo Natson had a nice 22 yard return. And P Johnny Hekker had a great punt.
Coach Sean McVay never committed to the run game and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips never found a way to keep WR Chris Godwin from lighting it up. If something is truly up with Gurley, then McVay and company need to address this on the field. What really hurt the Rams is that they started the game playing like they were down 21 by passing on every play.
This was a frustrating loss that now feels inevitable and hopefully will serve as a wake up call for the team. Jared Goff can make plays, but the running game needs to function and the defense needs to get off the field.