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Rams-Saints Instant Reaction: If not for Texans, L.A. would be NFL’s worst team

Whether on paper or on the field, the Rams can’t seem to do anything right or catch any breaks

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

There are two teams in the NFC with 3-8 records: The Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers. Both teams have fired a head coach in 2022, both teams have had to fight to find ways to move the ball on offense, both teams were expected to be bad this season.

So how in the world did the defending Super Bowl champions end up nipping at their heels for being the worst team in the NFC?

The Los Angeles Rams lost to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, dropping to 3-7 on the season and coming to within a half-game of the Bears and Panthers for the worst record in the conference. Just give the Rams a chance next week against Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs and L.A. may yet catch up to those 3-8 records for Carolina and Chicago.

Before even counting injuries, the Rams have been one of the NFL’s worst teams regardless of who is out there. L.A. scored 20 points on Sunday, the eighth time this season that the Rams failed to score more than 20. A year ago, the Rams only failed to score 20 points twice, including playoffs. McVay’s offense is one of the worst rushing teams in the league—although Cam Akers and Kyren Williams were two of the only bright spots against New Orleans—and the passing offense lacks the explosive plays that helped propel Matthew Stafford to a Super Bowl championship in 2021.

Defensively, L.A.’s been a little bit better than the offense, but on Sunday they let Andy Dalton carve them up like he’s Tom Brady.

Now counting injuries and looking at the roster on paper as we head into the final seven games, there might not be a worse team in the entire NFL. Including the 1-8-1 Houston Texans. At least Davis Mills is the starting quarterback who the Texans expected to have at this point. The Rams lost Matthew Stafford with a head injury for the second time in three weeks and it was third-stringer Bryce Perkins taking over the reins this week.

On paper, the Rams could be starting their third-string QB, behind an offensive line with as many as four backups and multiple players who weren’t on the roster in September, without Cooper Kupp, and lacking depth at receiver and tight end. Side-by-side, L.A. could be worse than the Texans, Raiders, Panthers, and Bears.

Unfortunately, their first round pick (now slated at fifth overall) is headed to the Detroit Lions.

Defensively, the Rams lost A’Shawn Robinson on Sunday and he did not return. The secondary could use new starting safeties, better starters at cornerback next to Jalen Ramsey, and better threats on the edge surrounding Aaron Donald. But that’s all.

Next up, the Rams face the Chiefs in Kansas City. Expecting another 54-51 shootout like 2018? The Rams just need to prove they can field a full roster at this point.

We talk about how bad the situation is for the Rams, how to approach the rest of the season, and what to do next year in this week’s INSTANT REACTION podcast with myself, Chris Daniel, and JB Scott. Listen here or find us on your podcast apps under “Turf Show Times” to get every episode. I’ll post more discussion topics below:

Where do the Rams go from here?

Is there a concern with Jalen Ramsey?

Is Tutu Atwell the best Rams receiver at the moment?

Are the Rams the worst team in the NFL on paper right now?

How can the Rams survive the rest of the season with this OL?

What’s the goal against the Chiefs in Week 12?

Better days for Cam Akers and the running backs

Which secondary players should the Rams keep moving forward?

If you could compare the Rams to a movie or TV show, what movie?

Rams look at least as bad as the Raiders

What to expect from Sean McVay over the rest of the season

4th place division schedule

Will coordinators return?

Rams 2023 schedule