The Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl last season in large thanks to big, explosive plays of 20 or more yards. The Rams had a few of those in their Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals and Matthew Stafford pulled a Cooper out of his Kupp several times in the playoffs, including for 70 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A dynamic offense in 2021 that ranked seventh in points scored, the Rams are now 29th in points per game and have dropped a full 10 points off of their average so far. It is usually expected that the offense will show some regression to the mean and be above the current state of only 17.5 points per game—were it not for an offensive outburst against the Falcons for 31 points in Week 2 that still included two interceptions, a fumble, and a blocked punt—Sean McVay’s offense would be looking far worse.
And these days, how an offense looks, specifically with regards to entertaining fans with big plays, isn’t getting any uglier than how the Rams have played through four weeks: Their 16 big plays (runs of 10+ yards, passes of 20+ yards) ranks dead last in the NFL, per Marcus Mosher:
Most big plays through Week 4: pic.twitter.com/KmZcP4bycR— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 4, 2022
Right above them at 17 big plays are the Bengals and Panthers.
Yes, Baker Mayfield’s offense has more big plays than the reigning Super Bowl champions.
The explanations for this disaster to open the season are many. The team’s offensive line is not nearly the same unit it was with Andrew Whitworth, Austin Corbett, and Brian Allen (injured last three games) a year ago. The decision to trade Robert Woods and sign Allen Robinson looks iffy, at best. The running backs room wasn’t fortified with any interesting options to consider other than Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson. The team can’t run or pass the ball successfully to anyone other than Kupp and Tyler Higbee.
And Higbee’s never going to be a big play threat. Stafford, of course, is not without blame after throwing four touchdowns and five interceptions (with multiple dropped interceptions) through four games.
There should be some regression here and I do not expect L.A. to finish last in big plays. The runs might be harder to come by than the passes. But McVay and Stafford have to figure out how to make Allen Robinson worth the $48 million contract he signed, or the Rams won’t be getting back to the Super Bowl this season.
For that, you need big plays.