Monday Night Football’s 24-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers brought back all the memories of how low the Los Angeles Rams could sink, as now seen in two of their four games this season. But the Rams might have looked better in their 31-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 than they did on Monday, and they had more good excuses for that night.
Week 4’s loss to the 49ers is far more concerning than Week 1’s defeat to Buffalo.
The Niners sacked Matthew Stafford seven times and hit him at least 11 times, including five by Nick Bosa alone. Stafford reacted by throwing a fourth quarter pick-six to Talanoa Hufanga that effectively ended the game, his third fourth quarter interception of the season already, and he only has one touchdown pass in the second half through four games.
But Stafford is not the sole person deserving of blame and that’s what is so concerning.
Sean McVay has proven capable of elevating the Rams into a top-tier offensive team without having an outstanding quarterback in the past, so to look so ineffective against a division opponent and to be struggling in key areas all season long, it implies that this is the best that Los Angeles can hope to achieve without the same personnel that they had as Super Bowl champions.
Joe Noteboom replaced Andrew Whitworth; Coleman Shelton replaced Austin Corbett; David Edwards was out Monday night with a concussion; Shelton left mid-game with an ankle injury, meaning that Bobby Evans and Jeremiah Kolone were in the lineup; Allen Robinson replaced Odell Beckham Jr and Robert Woods; nobody replaced Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson.
Ending on a fumble by Stafford with under 2:00 minutes remaining, the Rams managed 69 plays for 245 yards, an average of 3.6 yards per play, with 17 carries for 3.1 yards per attempt. L.A. dominated time of possession, holding a 10-minute advantage prior to the fumble, but they almost exclusively made mistakes when they got to the red zone, turned the ball over twice total, and went 5-of-15 on third downs. Not a single play went longer than 18 yards.
Stafford went 30/46 for 241 yards, 5.2 Y/A, seven sacks, an interception, and a rating of 69.2. Henderson had six carries for 22 yards, Akers had eight carries for 13 yards, and questions about recent decisions at wide receiver will continue to haunt Les Snead and McVay until answers arrive: Allen Robinson had two catches for seven yards on six targets, Tutu Atwell was a healthy scratch.
Players who could not be risked in the preseason because the team was afraid to lose them to injury.
The defense had its moments, but ultimately came out with zero sacks of Jimmy Garoppolo despite San Francisco being without Trent Williams, and only one QB hit. There was a 32-yard touchdown run by Jeff Wilson, a 57-yard touchdown by Deebo Samuel, and a 35-yard catch for Kyle Juszczyk.
Former Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam had two sacks, as did Nick Bosa, and three other 49ers.
The Rams fall to 2-2, putting them in a four-way tie in the NFC West but an early season loss—their seventh in a row in the regular season—to the 49ers. L.A. will need to look a lot different in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys, or they won’t be in first place for long.
Ben Skowronek struggled as a blocker on opening drive
There was so much attention on Skowronek going into the week, but whether the problems were on him or other player’s assignments, it did not look like something the team should have wanted to advertise.
Coleman Shelton leaves with injury
Shelton left, returned, and immediately left again with an ankle injury. Already starting Bobby Evans in place of Edwards,
Cooper Kupp productive again
It is a good thing that Matthew Stafford has no other target that he likes? It’s a good thing for Kupp’s stats: He added 14 catches for 122 yards in the loss.
Cooper Kupp has 11 catches, 95 yards— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) October 4, 2022
That is now a league-leading 12 games since 2021 with at least 9 catches and 90 yards. No other player has more than 7. Only three other players have more than 4.
Deebo Samuel highlight touchdown play
A rough one for the defense.
Bobby Wagner lays out a fan
Right after the Rams failed to tackle Samuel, they took down a 49ers fan without any issues.
Allen Robinson still hasn’t appeared
Robinson had two catches for seven yards on six targets.
Red Zone Struggles
Rams in red zone tonight:— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) October 4, 2022
-pass to Kupp, -2
-inc (dropped INT)
Rams couldn’t run
The Rams had 18 carries for 57 yards, with a one-yard carry for 11 yards by Brandon Powell.
Offensive Line woes
One of the worst nights imaginable.
Talanoa Hufanga pick-6 seals the game
I wrote about Hufanga last week as a potential x-factor in the game.