The 7-4 Los Angeles Rams offensive line had a rough outing against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12. According to Pro Football Focus (and the eye test), Andrew Whitworth showed his age at Lambeau Field, where he earned his worst overall grade of the season. There was plenty of blame to share for Los Angeles’ latest loss and the big guys up front certainly had their blunders, as all but one of the five linemen graded out under their season average.
Pass Protection: F
The Rams offensive line struggled to keep Matthew Stafford clean against Green Bay, allowing 14 pressures, 12 hurries and two sacks. The first sack of the day also caused a turnover, as Whitworth was beat around the edge by linebacker Rashan Gary.
Rashan Gary is battling injuries and playing through it.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 28, 2021
Forces a Matthew Stafford turnoverpic.twitter.com/DcxohrCROr
Gary swatted Stafford’s throwing arm, forcing a fumble which was recovered by Preston Smith. The turnover gave Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense an instant goal-to-go opportunity, which they cashed in for their first touchdown of the day.
The O-line did block well enough for Stafford to launch two touchdown bombs of 79 and 54 yards, respectively. However, Van Jefferson’s touchdown could have easily been called back if the officials noticed Rob Havenstein hugging Smith as if they were meeting at their 20 year high school reunion.
Matthew Stafford Van Jeffersonpic.twitter.com/q9r5t6VxO4— PFF (@PFF) November 28, 2021
However, there were moments that the pass blocking was immaculate, as Stafford had a few clean pockets to work from. Unfortunately, some of that pristine protection was wasted by bad throws.
They still get a damn “F.”
Call it what you want, but Matthew Stafford has been awful the past few weeks. This should be pitch and catch. Lead your receiver to the boundary. Can't miss these layups in the NFL. Not with a clean pocket and open receiver like this. pic.twitter.com/qHOO8XkzEn— Sosa Kremenjas (@QBsMVP) November 29, 2021
Run Blocking: F+
Sean McVay finally gave Darrell Henderson some opportunities to run the ball against the Packers; Henderson got 16 carries, his most since Week 6. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a ton of yardage to be found as the Memphis product only averaged 3.4 yards per carry. It’s never a good thing when there are two Rams offensive lineman on the ground and there are no pancakes in sight.
Kenny Clark is 314 lb and moves like a goddamn cat. Dude was an absolute menace vs the run today. I mean look at this. pic.twitter.com/ICIOrmx4aY— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) November 29, 2021
A lot of the physicality that used to be present in the run game is gone, thanks impart to a heavy usage of shotgun. There’s a bit of a trend where Los Angeles has been unable to convert on third and fourth downs on the ground. In those crucial “must have” situations, the offensive line has not been able to bully people as they have been in past seasons.
Insert Adrian Amos, literally. He was a missile, meeting Darrell Henderson behind the line of scrimmage to deny LA on fourth-and-1. There aren’t many running plays where the safety is the O-line’s responsibility, though it is their job to climb to the next level of the defense and get to certain areas in a zone blocking scheme.
McVay noted in his postgame press conference that there was a “fundamental mistake” with the offensive line staying on a combination block too long. Right guard Austin Corbett seems to be the culprit in question on this play.
Adrian Amos is freakishly good pic.twitter.com/JQG6uKpiJn— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) November 30, 2021
You can see Corbett notice Amos and recognize that he has to get to the second level to fulfill his duty on the play. He just doesn’t get to the second level in time. I still hate the decision to go for it there and the play call itself. If you are going to gamble there, I’d like to see a quarterback sneak, especially with no one covering the center.
Big Whit was called twice for holding (including the play he allowed the sack-fumble), but the Packers declined both penalties, due to Green Bay having favorable results on each play. Left guard David Edwards was also called for a false start. Technically, the offensive line was not responsible for any backbreaking penalties that killed drives, with the Packers only accepting one penalty for five yards, but it certainly felt worse than that.
Hopefully the offensive line can use the upcoming game against the Jacksonville Jaguars as a tune up of sorts before traveling to Arizona in the game that could make or break the Rams’ 2021 season.