The Los Angeles Rams that were at one time 7-1 have now lost three in a row and sit at 7-4 with six games remaining in the regular season. The Green Bay Packers dismantled the Rams defense and the LA offense remains stunned over the last three games save for a few explosive plays that aren't tied together for any sustained momentum. Here are three takeaways from LA’s 36-28 loss in week 12.
Playcalling on offense is not working
On offense, the Rams have become predictable, disconnected, and ineffective. McVay is using the same concepts from the same formations and this week against Matt Lafleur, a former assistant and colleague that learned these schemes at the same time or before McVay learned them before either were head coaches. Things like no creativity or misdirection in the run game, lack of diversity and play action in the pass game, seem to be allowing defenses to jump gaps like on the failed 4th down run in the first quarter and jump passes like in the interception touchdown to Cooper Kupp.
Playcalling on defense is not working
When offenses are finding ways to set up mismatches in coverages, the defense must counter by mixing up their coverages and disguising their alignments. The Rams secondary in particular is not deep enough in talent to rely on their third best defender to cover the offenses WR1 like when the Ram’s Donte Deayon, an elevated practice squad player is assigned to one of the leagues best in Davante Adams. Also, no matter the matchups, the coverages are too soft too often. This is most obvious when the corners play 10 yards off the ball on a third and four situation. Aaron Rodgers made this painfully apparent and didn’t really need to be an all time accurate passer to take advantage.
Defensive talent gap is being exposed
Ram’s linebacker Troy Reeder was the San Francisco 49ers main target to run and pass at. The game plan appeared to set him up to cover zones and make tackles and if he couldn’t the 49ers would dominate. Reeder didn't and so the 49ers did. The Green Bay Packers seemed to have copied that part of the plan and it was another long day for the Rams linebacker. He is not alone, the secondary is also getting exposed. Darious Williams who had an excellent season last year under Brandon Staley seems to have regressed. Deayon is in off the practice squad because David Long Jr proved unable. Most playoff bound teams are at least three deep at receiver like the Packers, so defenses must also bring the same depth at the secondary positions. Right now, the Rams have Jalen Ramsey and that seems to be it. The safeties Taylor Rapp and Jordan Fuller are also making critical errors and missing opportunities to create big plays.
And now for today’s links:
Shocked Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams ‘way too good’ to be mired in three-game skid (ESPN)
This isn’t the L.A. story Rams expected to be telling (NFL.com)
Game Recap: Rams fall to Packers 36-28 at Lambeau Field (Rams.com)
How did Jalen Ramsey perform against Davante Adams on Sunday? (RamsWire)
2021 NFL season, Week 12: What we learned from Sunday’s games (NFL.com)
Patriots roll past Titans for sixth straight win, showing flexibility that should concern rest of NFL (NFL.com)
Struggling Cam Newton benched by Carolina Panthers in fourth quarter of blowout loss (ESPN)
In rivalry’s ‘changing of the guard,’ Cincinnati Bengals complete sweep of Pittsburgh Steelers (ESPN)