The Los Angeles Rams found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, giftwrapping a 16-13 victory to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his latest edition of coach speak, Sean McVay had one repetitive and blatantly obvious observation: The Rams have to do better.
Defense did enough to win, but the offense does enough to lose
“I thought our defense did enough to win that football game. Clearly, offensively not even close to good enough. I’m a big part of that. ... This is not good enough and I have to do better too. I’m a huge part of this and that’s just the reality of where we’re at right now.”
L.A.’s offense continued its season-long struggle, going 4-15 on third down leading to Riley Dixon punting the ball nine times. The Rams had negative yardage in the fourth quarter. They didn’t get a single first down in the final quarter. It was ugly. Outside of two chunk plays to Cooper Kupp, there wasn’t much to speak of offensively.
Oh, that damn O-line
“There’s a lot of things that we’ve got to continue to look at. Whether this is the best five, I’ll look at the tape and we’ll figure it out.”
It’s been the same thing every game in terms of the offensive line. At this point, Matthew Stafford is on the verge of losing time off of his career with the pass protection he’s received this year. He was sacked four times today and hit several more. Vita Vea lived in the Rams backfield. It starts up front and there is no magic fix coming for the Rams.
To sum up the rest of McVay’s press conference, he reiterated the team has to do better, he has to do better, and blah blah blah. At this point, you can guess what he said and you would probably be right.
8 of 12 Rams possessions (not counting kneeldown or end kickoff) resulted in a three and out on Sunday.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) November 7, 2022
Through 8 games, 38.9% of possessions after defense forces three and out/turnover on downs have been followed by Rams three and outs, per @TruMediaSports query (24th in NFL).
Until McVay can figure out how to fix this offensive line, the results are likely to be the same. The Rams don’t present a running threat at all, in large part thanks to what has devolved into one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.
With all the hoopla about Cam Akers returning to the team, it was Darryl Henderson that led Los Angeles on the ground, rushing for 56 yards on 12 carries. He also had the Rams’ longest run of the season with a 23-yard gain on the ground in the third quarter. Henderson ran tough, doing the best he could behind a makeshift offensive line while Akers was once again a non-factor, with his two carries leading to nine yards.
While L.A. isn’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, this loss felt like the end. It’s one thing to lose to good teams in the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, and the San Francisco 49ers. But now, the Rams are losing to bad teams. And with defensive players now speaking their mind on the offense’s lack of productivity, It’s likely going to be a long season the rest of the way.