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Rams-Cowboys observations: Is this the worst Rams offensive line of the last 10 years?

The issues stretch from the left side to the right side

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Another week and another ghastly offensive performance from the 2022 Los Angeles Rams. It’s become clear that this is not the same team that won the Super Bowl eight months ago. Matthew Stafford has been harassed, battered, and rushed on nearly every snap. The offensive line play will either need to improve quickly or Sean McVay and the Rams will watch this season drift away. For the fans, it’s a very hard watch every week with not much to cheer for. And yet, the division is still completely up for grabs with the San Francisco 49ers only a game ahead. Here are my observations from the Rams 22-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

• Matthew Stafford is not the problem. As I said last week, it’s easy to pile on the quarterback. But he was getting hit left and right with pressure in his face seconds after every snap. Can’t expect any QB in this league to succeed under those circumstances.

• Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson don’t have much room to run but I don’t see either one of them creating much of anything. This team lacks a real difference maker at RB and the position group continues to lack juice.

• The offense remains a “Cooper Kupp either makes a play or nobody does” situation. Ben Skowronek out targeting Allen Robinson is unacceptable. Tutu Atwell was open on two long passes and finally caught an accurate ball from Stafford. Happy for him and would love to be proven wrong moving forward.

• This may be the worst offensive line play that I have ever seen in my ten or so years of following this football team closely. I watched every single player on that unit completely whiff more than once. RT Rob Havenstein was abused by Micah Parsons all day. On the other side, Joe Noteboom has not looked like a starting tackle. If this unit isn’t fixed, the playoffs will slip away. I just don’t see a way out of this hole between injury and overall lack of talent.

• TE Tyler Higbee remains an effective piece of the quick 5-yard passing offense but his blocking leaves a lot to be desired.

• I thought the pass rush was better this game and Aaron Donald was a force. I can’t remember the last time Leonard Floyd had a sack and although I noticed Takk McKinley playing quite a few snaps, I didn’t see him reach the QB. Donald is great and was a menace in this game. But it is a similar situation to Cooper Kupp. It seems Donald either makes a play or nobody does when it comes to the pass rush.

• Jalen Ramsey had a good outing with his first sack. He’s gotten close several times this season so it’s good to see him finally get home. He is a tremendous athlete.

• The secondary as a whole played adequately all game and did more than enough to win. Terrell Burgess played more snaps and I didn’t notice a drop off from the play of Jordan Fuller.

• Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones limited Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard most of the day outside of a big Pollard run. Again, I think the unit did more than enough to win this game.

• Overall, Raheem Morris’ unit played a good football game and limited the Cowboys offense most of the day. This loss was simply not on them.

• I loved the fake punt and it took me by complete surprise. Good call and good execution by the special teams group. Brandon Powell also continues to be a good returner with sure hands.

• Matt Gay finally missed a kick. It looked as if it would be meaningful in the outcome of the game but the offense never scored another point.

• My final thought is Sean McVay’s play calling. I think it could be more effective. McVay needs to accept that this offensive line simply will not hold up long and plays need to be designed accordingly. Short quick routes, screens, reverses, and maybe some more 12 personnel. Give the running game more of a chance to develop through the course of the game to prevent Stafford getting hit so often. Unfortunately intermediate to deep route concepts do not have time to develop and the lack of a true secondary receiving option outside of Cooper Kupp doesn’t help. McVay will need to find new ways to move his offense. Can he coach around the glaring offensive line deficiencies or will this be a lost season?