The Los Angeles Rams are playing for pride over the rest of the season after losing to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The Rams lost 27-20 and dropped to 3-7, with the Saints able to improve to 4-7 with the win. One week after ruling Matthew Stafford out against the Arizona Cardinals while in concussion protocol, head coach Sean McVay opted to start his number one QB against the Saints but then pulled him in the third quarter with another concussion scare.
McVay was asked after the loss if the Rams could shutdown Stafford for the rest of the season and his answer was that he couldn’t answer yet.
“I think it’s probably too soon for me to be able to answer that one,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that we’re working through that are, I would say, unprecedented. What I do appreciate is the way guys continue to battle, continue to try to compete, and we’re gonna coach these guys up that we’ve got. As far as it relates to Matthew, we’re gonna be smart for him. He’s such a warrior, he’s such a stud competitor. I know how badly he wants to be out there and thought he played really well with the opportunities that he did have.”
Stafford had one of his best games of the season, going 11-of-18 for 158 yards and two touchdowns. He wasn’t sacked until the third quarter, about when he was pulled from the game in favor of Bryce Perkins. The third-string Perkins went 5-of-10 for 64 yards and was sacked three times for 26 yards lost.
The Rams are already playing without most of their Week 1 starting offensive line and reigning Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp.
The thought of shutting down Stafford has been apparent since the Rams returned from their bye week to lose to the 49ers 31-14. That dropped L.A. to 3-4 and was their third loss in the last four games. The next week, the Rams blew a late fourth quarter lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and fell to 3-5. Then Stafford was ruled out for Week 10’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, another loss, and the Rams dropped to 3-6.
This makes a four-game losing streak and losses in six of their last seven games, by far the worst period of McVay’s head coaching career. The Rams are now three games out of first place in the NFC West and in last place in the division. Despite how bad the offense looks with Perkins or John Wolford, McVay must consider if there’s a reason to put Matthew Stafford in harm’s way again this year behind a patchwork offensive line and without Kupp.
Right now, it doesn’t seem like there is. But he’s not saying that it is quite yet.