Following a brutal and otherwise forgettable season-opening loss to the Bills, the Los Angeles Rams have more questions than answers after being exposed on national television. LA was clearly not ready for primetime. There is much pain and agony to go over so let’s dive into my initial thoughts on the team after the week one loss.
Cooper Kupp playing like an MVP; others...not so much
The All-Pro wide receiver picked up right where he left off following Super Bowl LVI. In the first half, Kupp caught eight of his nine targets for 56 yards and LA’s first touchdown of the 2022 season off some quality toe-drag swag:
This TD grab by Cooper Kupp is absolutely ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/OwlbEGgWre— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 9, 2022
That was about the only offensive highlight of the night. Kupp finished as the team’s leading receiver with 13 receptions for 128 yards.
As for the other pass catchers, no one, and I mean no one separated themselves behind Kupp. Free agent addition Allen Robinson was a no-show, catching only one pass for 12 yards in the first half. Tutu Atwell dropped the only target that went his way, also in the first half. Ben Skowronek was the only other wide receiver that caught more than two passes, snagging four for 25 yards.
The unit’s lackluster efforts were a desperate call for help. This group badly needs an OBJ reunion. Les Snead should be on the phone with his agent early Friday morning with a contract ready for him to sign. I don’t care if he won’t be recovered until around midseason, anything is better than the egg LA’s receiving corps laid on Thursday.
The offensive line is well, um pretty offensive
Speaking of terrible underperforming units, if tonight is any indication of things to come, I think Matthew Stafford is going to be running for his life all season. Stafford was sacked an unlucky seven times against Buffalo. It’s not like the Bills were blitzing all that often either:
The Bills have six sacks despite blitzing on only one of Matthew Stafford's 28 dropbacks so far (all six sacks were with four or fewer rushers).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 9, 2022
The Bills have only one game in the last 15 seasons with more sacks when using a standard rush (eight vs Washington in 2011). pic.twitter.com/aoaUFwUUGY
Are we sure Andrew Whitworth is happy with retirement? Wouldn’t hurt to double check.
Running back by committee? Don’t make me laugh
If Sean McVay was trying to tick off every fantasy manager that had drafted Cam Akers, I’d say mission accomplished. Prior to tonight’s game. McVay had said he preferred a running back by committee approach.
However once the game kicked off, Darrell Henderson started and was the one taking the majority of the snaps. Henderson did the most with the opportunities he was given. Through the third quarter, whatever role that was supposed to be carved out for Akers was virtually nonexistent.
Cam Akers in the first half— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) September 9, 2022
0 yards pic.twitter.com/ZNc3xtH7TR
Cam finished the game with no yards on three carries. It’s odd for someone who took the bulk of the snaps in the postseason to be reduced to minimal touches. I understand the Rams were playing from behind for most of the game but this will not be a recipe for success moving forward.
Hangover is real...but there will be a remedy
I will hold my tongue because any language that I should use to describe the Rams’ efforts against Buffalo would be far too inappropriate to say on a “family-friendly” sports site.
Between taking shots to down my sorrows, I fully understand why the Bills were favored heading into this game. Despite being an underdog though, I kind of expected LA to actually show up tonight since they’re I don’t know...THE FREAKING DEFENDING SUPER BOWL CHAMPS!!! Star power alone won’t get the job done boys!
Matthew Stafford was a turnover machine. The O-line couldn’t block. Hardly anyone besides Cooper Kupp could catch passes. It was a disaster all around and I still have no idea WTF this coverage (or lack thereof) is:
Perhaps Mr. Ramsey should quit running his mouth all the time and just stick to covering. Going back to the Divisional Round of last season’s playoffs, Jalen has been exposed in three consecutive games. Maybe it’s just karma for all the crap he talked about Josh Allen a few years back. What goes around, comes around I suppose.
The Rams looked so underprepared that it’s hard to fathom this team won a title just this February. Life sure does move fast in the NFL.
While tonight didn’t reflect well on the organization, I don’t see this loss defining the team for all of 2022. LA clearly wasn’t the better team tonight and for them to regain their championship form, they have to step it up. This team might need some time to click again as the SB hangover appears very real and rather unsettling.
I would expect the Rams to get going sooner rather than later. Now is not the time to hit the panic button just yet. Let’s give them some time to work out the kinks but I believe Los Angeles will have a harder path towards repeating than they had originally expected.