The Los Angeles Rams were facing a “cannot lose” scenario against the Carolina Panthers in Week 6 - it may not have been pretty at times, but LA picked up the 24-10 victory to move to 3-3 on the year.
It was mostly a tale of two halves for Los Angeles.
The Rams deployed a very limited, constricted offense in the first two quarters. The game plan included a lot of screens and short passes intended to manufacture catch and run opportunities, which allowed LA to dominate the time of possession but resulted in only 7 points.
Just before halftime, with the Rams offense backed up in their own territory, Matthew Stafford threw a pick-six that put LA down by three points. It was Stafford’s third straight game with a turnover that resulted in a defensive score.
But it was all hands on deck in the second half in terms of offensive production - seven different players were given opportunities to run the ball.
Brandon Powell touted the ball on three carries for 13 yards, though he probably left some yards out on the field. Third-string running back Ronnie Rivers made an impactful play to get the Rams down to the Panthers’ goal line. Even Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek got involved in the action - and Skowronek scored his first career touchdown on a 17-yard jet sweep.
The team-oriented approach on offense resulted in 17 second half points - ultimately carrying Los Angeles to victory and back to a .500 record.
Allen Robinson, WR
Robinson has been often maligned over the last few weeks as he hasn’t made the immediate impact most expected from him.
5 receptions for 63 yards and his second touchdown of 2022 will help quell those fears - and this was the most involved we’ve seen Robinson in this offense so far. The veteran receiver went aerial to come down with his touchdown and a 22-yard sideline catch - both were impressive grabs.
Ernest Jones, MLB
Jones led the defense with 12 total tackles on Sunday, and the second-year linebacker played an important role in bottling up star running back Christian McCaffrey. He also deflected a pass from Jacob Eason on the goal line, which was plucked from the air just before it hit the ground by safety Nick Scott.
Ben Skowronek, WR
5 catches for 40 yards on top of his 17-yard touchdown run makes for an impressive day from the second-year receiver/fullback hybrid. Skowronek has become an important contributor for this Los Angeles offense, and he even was able to work down field against Carolina - being on the receiving end of a 19-yard chunk play.
Aaron Donald, DE
The box score won’t necessarily show how impressive of an outing Donald had on Sunday, but he was consistently in Carolina’s backfield. He didn’t record a quarterback hit, and Jalen Ramsey was able to sack PJ Walker just before Donald got there - but Donald played an important role in constricting the Panthers’ passing attack and helping contain McCaffrey.
Darrell Henderson, RB
Similar to Donald, the eye test was much better for Henderson’s performance than the box score might indicate.
12 receptions for 43 yards (3.6 avg) and a touchdown don’t make for an impressive stat line, even after you account for another 9 yards earned on two catches. But Henderson did just enough to keep the Carolina defense off-balance, and when the Rams were facing a 3rd and a mile scenario Henderson was able to rip off a swift 16-yard gain.
Brandon Powell, WR
Powell is often handed the ball with what seems to be wide open space in front of him, but it has become more than a rare occurrence where he slips before he can take advantage. It’s happened in a few different games so far in 2022.
Powell deserved the benefit of the doubt that these slip ups were unlucky outcomes, but the more they happen the more they seem to be part of who the player is.
3 rushes for 13 yards (4.3 avg) and 4 receptions for 27 (6.8 avg) don’t suggest an explosive player making the most of their opportunities.
Matthew Stafford, QB
Yes, Stafford played an important role in leading the Rams to their highest touchdown total (3) in almost a month; however, he made the one mistake LA couldn’t afford against this desperate Panthers team - he gave them free points by throwing a pick-six backed up in his own territory to surrender the lead just before halftime.
It was Stafford’s third-straight game with a turnover that resulted in a touchdown for the defense, and ball security has become a major concern for the veteran in 2022.
You don’t get credit for putting out the house fire when you were the one that started it, and that’s why Stafford finds himself on the “loser” list this week.