As much as I’d like to be an optimist, this Los Angeles Rams season is probably over. It held so much promise only to get stiff-armed into oblivion by the likes of Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Christian McCaffrey, Cooper Rush and Colt McCoy.
Where exactly has it all gone wrong? Where I should begin would be a better question.
The defending champs find themselves sitting in last place in the NFC West at 3-6. This has been the Rams’ worst start ever under Sean McVay. It’s gotten so bad for LA that now we’re over here comparing McVay to Jeff Fisher:
Jeff Fisher's final season with Rams:— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) November 14, 2022
32nd in scoring (14.0)
23rd in scoring defense (24.6)
31st in rushing yards/yards per carry (3.3)
Sean McVay's 2022 season with Rams:
29th in scoring (16.5)
20th in scoring defense (22.2)
31st in rushing yards/yards per carry (3.2)
I’m not even going to comment on this as we all know how poor the Rams have played this season. They just lost to a Cardinals team that was barreling towards a Kliff only to have a career backup save his hide. We really don’t need it rubbed into our faces anymore. I think we get it already!
With the Rams and Cardinals likely out of the running for the division, the race will come down to the 49ers and Seahawks. Seattle remains in first place at 6-4 despite losing in Germany to the Bucs last weekend. I desperately wanted the Seahawks to be a doormat this season. Thanks a lot Santa for failing to grant me that Christmas wish. Turns out excellent drafting and fleecing the Broncos out of Russell Wilson helped their rebuild go faster than expected.
Prior to their verlust, which is “loss” in German, Seattle’s defense had turned a corner after struggling out of the gate. They’ve been one of the top units in football during the last few weeks.
The focus on the #Seahawks has been Geno Smith's turnaround and the success of the offense.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 8, 2022
But over the last 4 weeks, the Seahawks has had arguably the league's top defense as well. pic.twitter.com/XMJessDptk
That turnaround has been attributed to rookie stud cornerbacks in Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen. Bryant leads the NFL with four forced fumbles. Woolen has snagged five interceptions including one over wide receiver Tom Brady. Yeah, that Tom Brady. That must’ve been the easiest pick of his life.
Tariq Woolen joined Casey Hayward and Earl Thomas today as the only players since 2010 to have at least 5 INT’s in their first 10 career games.— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) November 14, 2022
The Seahawks rookie CB is ELITE pic.twitter.com/E4DTAaRUfb
It’s not just their defense getting it done. Geno Smith has been cooking. Never did I expect to type a sentence like that in my life. Smith has performed like a top-10 quarterback and has thrown 17 touchdowns to just five picks for a 108.0 passer rating. To put that in perspective, he has thrown 10 more touchdowns than the QB he replaced.
Those poor fans out in Denver who had Rocky Mountain high expectations this year. Man I hope the Broncos kept their receipts but we all know how Walmart feels about refunds.
To keep myself from gagging too much as I say this, I’ll admit the Seahawks have been a pleasant surprise in 2022. Do I expect them to maintain their slim hold on the division? Not if a certain team in the Bay Area has something to say about it.
San Francisco only sits a half game back of Seattle. They also hold the edge over the Hawks as they pounded them by 20 back in Week 2. As much as it’ll kill me to say this, I envision the 49ers will eventually take the West. Gross, I just threw up a little in my mouth.
Their defense is playing out of this world. They’ve been great all season unlike the Seahawks and it just might carry them through the playoffs yet again. Since Patrick Mahomes burned them alive, the Niners have completely shut down their last two opponents from the Golden State.
49ers defense in the second half over their past two games:— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) November 14, 2022
-0 points allowed
-52 and 58 yards, respectively, allowed
SF not only holds the edge in the NFC West but I can see them making another deep run eerily reminiscent of last season. The NFC is much weaker this time around and it unfortunately wouldn’t be a surprise if they represented the conference in the Super Bowl.
With Rodgers and Brady seemingly out of the picture for now, the 49ers would only have to worry about the Eagles and possibly the Cowboys. I’m more confident in the Niners than Philly, Dallas or any other upstart in the conference.
I believe the last two weeks have shown the Eagles are beatable and due to them not being much of a second half team, it’ll wind up costing them. The Cowboys haven’t had a good track record since the ‘90s. They also have Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott running the show so that puts them at an automatic disadvantage. I don’t really care how awesome their defense is. They can only overcome those liabilities for so long.
When San Francisco traded for Christian McCaffrey, that signaled they were ready to win now. For all the capital given up for CMC, a deep run is the expectation for them. LA handled all the pressure stemming from that mindset during the Super Bowl run. Will a similar strategy work for for the Niners or will they collapse under the pressure?
Time will tell I suppose. Rams faithful might as well sit back and watch the chaos unfold. They don’t have anything else going for them at the moment.