The Los Angeles Rams were completely dominated by the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 31-10. The big guys upfront were under somewhat of a microscope, after last week’s contest against the AFC leading Tennessee Titans, in which the middle of the pocket was non-existent. This week, the blockers did a better job in all phases, earning surprisingly decent grades, considering the final score. Let’s review how they did protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford, run blocking for Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel, and those dreaded drive-derailing penalties.
Pass protection: B-
The offensive line did a decent job in pass protection in San Francisco. They allowed two late sacks against the 49ers, but quarterback Matthew Stafford seemingly had an adequate amount of time in the pocket for the majority of the game.
There is one developing trend on the offensive line. Left guard David Edwards has had instances of being bullied. Early in the game, similar to last week’s effort against the Titans, Edwards was again bull rushed deep into the pocket, though Stafford was still able to get the pass off unscathed. Late in the fourth quarter however, Edwards was beat instantly off the line of scrimmage by defensive lineman Arden Key, resulting in the 49ers’ first sack of the night.
There were other instances where the pressure for the 49ers defense did cause issues for the O-line, like when Joey Bosa and Airk Armstead collapsed the right side of the protection, but Stafford was able to break those sack attempts and dangerously flick the ball out to running back Darrell Henderson, which still resulted in a loss of yardage.
Run blocking: A
There were some rushing lanes created for the Rams against San Francisco, but Los Angeles again decided not to run the ball in the early portion of the contest, while the game was still competitive. By the time the second half rolled around, the Rams faced a three possession deficit and had to mostly abandon the running game.
There just weren’t enough attempts, as L.A. only rushed the ball nine times. On those nine rushing attempts, the Rams’ running backs gained 51 yards, good for 5.6 yards per carry. If the Rams are going to do anything of importance this season, they will need to throw the ball less and hand the ball off to Henderson and Sony Michel.
The offensive line accounted for two penalties on the night: an unnecessary roughness call on Andrew Whitworth and a false start on Brian Allen. Whitworth attempted to lunge into a pile to break up the gang tackle on Henderson but lowered his head enough to the point where the officials threw a flag.
Allen’s penalty occurred when he attempted to snap the ball, but couldn’t get the ball off of the ground. The timing of this penalty couldn’t have been much worse, as the Rams were pushed out of the red zone as a result of the mishap. Though this may have been due to a lingering elbow injury, it was still that kind of night for the Rams.
From an offensive line perspective, this wasn’t a terrible game; they played well enough to not be considered the reason Los Angeles was demolished on national television for the second week in a row. Just like the rest of team however, there are things that will need to be tweaked if Los Angeles is going to be considered a team that can compete for the Super Bowl this year.