The Los Angeles Rams offensive line had been playing very good football. PFF had three of the five linemen rated 15th or better at their position, Los Angeles averaged over 32 points per game, and Matthew Stafford had only been sacked eight times through as many weeks. Then, Week 9 and the Tennessee Titans happened, a 28-16 loss at home on Sunday Night Football.
As you can imagine, the grades for how the Rams’ offensive line did vs. the Titans will not come out well.
Pass Protection: F-
Stafford was harassed from the opening drive of the game, including back to back sacks which foreshadowed what would be a night offensive line coach Kevin Carberry would love to forget. The O-line gave up interior pressure on what felt like every snap. The Titans racked up five sacks on the night. One of the most deflating sacks occurred when left guard David Edwards, who appeared to have replaced his cleats for skates, was absolutely manhandled by Jeffery Simmons, who alone tallied three sacks on the night.
Overall, Stafford was sacked five times, three times more than he had been in any other game.
Even when Stafford was able to avoid being sacked, the Titans’ pressure still created nightmares for the Rams. While being wrapped up in a near sack by Simmons in the end zone, Stafford threw a Goff-like interception, giving Tennessee an instant goal-to-go opportunity, which turned into a touchdown for the Titans.
There was also a bad snap in there by Brian Allen, which Stafford was able to save.
Los Angeles struggled with loopers and delayed pressure in the first half, but were able to find a way to handle the Titans front a smidge better in the second half; they did just enough to avoid this being the surefire blueprint for how to slow down the Rams going forward, though we are likely to see this strategy at least attempted a few more time this year.
Run Blocking: B
The running game was working, but unfortunately Los Angeles didn’t stick with it early. Eventually, they couldn’t stick with it at all. This contest, in so many ways, resembled the game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams were able to run at will against the Cardinals, but eventually had to turn to the air.
Overall, the team had 21 carries for 94 yards.
Darrell Henderson averaged five yards per carry against Tennessee. It would have been nice to see what would have happened if the L.A. continued to give Henderson the ball. While we’re at it, add a few handoffs to Robert Woods on the jet sweeps that used to be a staple of McVay’s offense.
Rob Havenstein and Andrew Whitworth were both called for holding penalties. Brian Allen had a false start. Havenstein added a false start of his own very late in the game. You get the picture. It was that kind of night for the Los Angeles Rams, and more specifically, the offensive line.
Nothing to do at this point but credit the Titans and get ready for a team that has served as L.A.’s kryptonite: the San Francisco 49ers.