Following two bad losses to NFC contenders, the Los Angeles Rams clicked at the right time to put away the Carolina Panthers.
A 24-10 win over a reeling squad was exactly what the defending champs needed to get back to .500 before their bye week.
After a weekend where the Dodgers completely disappointed Hollywood, the Rams didn’t so here are 3 things I think about LA following a big win.
Matthew Stafford is a Hall of Famer...at being inconsistent
I don’t mean this as a slight towards Stafford but I know how it’ll come across.
Matt played a pretty good game once he got into a rhythm and quit throwing touchdowns to the opposition.
As LA fans have noticed during his two season stretch with the Rams, Stafford is as inconsistent as they come and this game captured his career in a perfect yet aggravating nutshell.
For one, #9 passed Hall of Famer John Elway in a crucial category and etched his name further into NFL history.
#LARNotableStats— Los Angeles Rams PR (@TheLARamsPR) October 16, 2022
With his 20-yard completion to Cooper Kupp, QB Matthew Stafford passed John Elway for 11th in all-time regular season passing yards with 5,492 yards.
He is one of four active quarterbacks to have over 50,000 regular season passing yards.#LARvsCAR pic.twitter.com/ppX1yhkbR8
That was the good Stafford. The bad Stafford came near the two-minute warning in the first half when he forced this throw in the direction of Cooper Kupp:
On that horrific pass, Matt had the 29th pick-six of his career, passing Dan Marino for the second-most in league history. Stafford also passed other HOFers in Joe Namath (28), Drew Brees (27) and Peyton Manning (27) who round out the top five. Maybe #9 should earn a bust after all as he joins elite company there.
Stafford simply had no reason to force this throw. The team was already up at the time and were looking to extend their lead going into halftime. Instead of building upon that lead, Stafford instead tore it down as LA entered the half down three.
As much as I love the Rams’ QB1 and have always been a vocal supporter of him, this rollercoaster ride of the Matthew Stafford experience is getting more tiresome by the week. His turnovers are hurting this team and his penchant for having them at the worst possible time will be another Achilles’ heal for a Rams repeat.
Stafford’s overall body of work in the turnover department is staggering through just six games:
Matthew Stafford with 11 turnovers now on the year, including two interceptions returned for scores and a forced fumble returned for a TD.— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) October 16, 2022
His tendency for throwing freebies to the defense is even more so:
Most pick-sixes since 2020:— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 16, 2022
Matthew Stafford 9
4 players tied w/ 4 pic.twitter.com/OFpgvKiQEL
Again, I’m not trying to throw Stafford under the bus and nitpick every single thing he does wrong but his inconsistent resume doesn’t scream Hall of Fame caliber like the QBs he passed today.
I can give him a pass for his days with the Lions but on one of the most talented rosters and a preseason Super Bowl favorite, those mistakes will only be more magnified.
Who knows if Stafford will ever reach Canton someday. I still believe it’s too early to tell. Supposed HOF-level talent shouldn’t lead the NFL in interceptions. Although Brett Favre threw a few back in his day and it seemed to work out for him.
Offense finally finds a groove (along with Allen Robinson!)
Cam Akers sat out this game due to personal reasons and he could be on the way out of LA. The run game did enough without him (don’t know how it could have gotten any worse) and distributed the touches quite nicely.
Darrell Henderson led the way with 12 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown. Los Angeles took the term “running by committee” to a whole different level after a total of eight players carried the ball at some point against Carolina. Wide receiver Ben Skowronek actually scored his first NFL touchdown off a 17-yard scamper.
The Rams shouldn’t have to do this every game but all these players add new winkles to the offense that McVay can have some fun with as the year goes on.
In other news, Allen Robinson decided to show a glimpse of the playmaker LA had hoped for when they signed him in free agency.
Robinson was targeted six times and caught five of them for 63 yards and this spectacular touchdown:
A-Rob also had another awesome catch that should have Rams faithful hopeful that this game will be the start of things to come as the veteran receiver becomes more comfortable in the offense.
Defense has enough firepower to carry offense through crucial stretch
While the offense hasn’t flashed many signs of their elite potential so far in ‘22, the defense has played on another level.
Yes, LA was playing against a Panthers team battling through adversity with an interim head coach and a backup quarterback but that shouldn’t take away from how well they played on Sunday.
In fact, the Rams defense has been superb since the Falcons game even if the win column doesn’t reflect it.
#Rams defense the last 4 weeks:— JAKE ELLENBOGEN (@JKBOGEN) October 16, 2022
Panthers - 3pts
Cowboys - 16pts
49ers - 17pts
Cardinals - 12pts
This defense is great man. They will be 3-3 but probably should be 5-1. Keep this up out of the bye get healthier and put the offense on that same level.
This unit even at full strength just yet and have the potential to get even better after the bye. That is when the real test will begin as Los Angeles will be playing four of their first five games after the break against playoff teams from last season.
None of those teams should be overlooked in any way once the meat of the schedule becomes tougher to work through. LA is entering crunch time and those four games in particular will determine whether the Rams deserve to defend their crown.
After these first six games, the Rams haven’t been as dominant as expected so the defense knows they have to keep up this stellar play to earn a trip back to the playoffs. This is what they wanted and this is what they had better hope they’re built for.