The Los Angeles Rams’ rushing attack early in the season wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr. had plenty of moments that were valuable and productive.
But it certainly wasn’t a dynamic attack.
And then along came Cam.
The Rams drafted Cam Akers in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft with hopes that he could be the type of dynamic attack out of the backfield that could elevate a good team, and turn it into a great team. And while it took a little while for Sean McVay to start to use Akers in that role, the Rams are now getting the type of return on their investment that we should all strive for in our portfolios.
Through the first 10 weeks of the year, Akers played in eight games and had 50 carries for 201 yards and no touchdowns, and three receptions for 27 yards and one touchdown.
And then he found his groove, and the Rams started using him more. Or perhaps the Rams started using him more and he found his groove. It’s a bit of a chicken or the egg situation.
In the Week 11 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Akers had nine carries for 84 yards and one touchdown. In last week’s win against the Arizona Cardinals he had an old school game: 21 carries for 72 yards and one touchdown, and one reception for 22 yards.
And on Thursday night, as the Rams crushed the New England Patriots 24-3, LA repeatedly leaned on their rookie back, and he repeatedly rewarded them for doing so. Akers ran the ball 29 times for 171 yards, with a pair of receptions for 23 yards.
The 171 yards was the most rushing yards by a rookie this season, and the 194 yards from scrimmage were only 26 fewer than the Patriots entire offense.
It was a dominant showing. Akers ran 35 yards on just the game’s second play from scrimmage, and immediately set the tone for the night.
His performance took some pressure off of quarterback Jared Goff, who was able to slide into something of a game manager role. And it certainly invigorated a fanbase that has been craving some offensive performances to match the dominant defense.
A Star is Born! Wow!!! A diamond in the Rough— AZTEC PRIDE (@AzusAPride) December 11, 2020
Cam is the man, exactly what I wanted to see, keep pressure off Goff and play great Defense. More rushing yards than Goff had throwing. Thank you mcvay.— Alex (@Alex70family) December 11, 2020
Dude is consistently getting yards! I love it!— soccernicholas6 (@soccernicholas6) December 11, 2020
His vision is CRAZY!!!— Joseph E. Johnson IV (@jejiv_) December 11, 2020
Yup, that’s about right.
We’ve known for months that the Rams would have an all-world defense. How far they could go this year was dependent on how much the offense could try and match it.
There’s a long ways to go. But right now Akers is proving to be the type of weapon that can be an X factor when the lights are brightest.