A loss is a loss, and Thursday night’s loss to the Buffalo Bills was not a competitive one for the Los Angeles Rams when things got out of hand in the second half. There were probably more negatives than positives, but I’ve split the difference in looking for the bright side and the harsh realities out of Week 1.
Negative: One of Jalen Ramsey’s toughest nights
As mentioned by Chris Daniel in our instant reaction show, this is the third time in the last four games that Jalen Ramsey has been targeted early and often by the opposing quarterback. Do top tier passers and receivers still fear the NFL’s most revered cornerback?
Stefon Diggs looking At Josh Allen every time lined up against Jalen Ramsey pic.twitter.com/BrilPCnoG0— Trey 7 (@Trey2Trigger) September 9, 2022
On the bright side, Ramsey shouldn’t have too many more games like this one over the rest of the season. He got a bad one out of the away against a very powerful QB-WR duo.
Positive: Cooper Kupp hasn’t changed one bit
Kupp had 13 catches on 15 targets for 128 yards and a touchdown. While it would be nice to see Matthew Stafford have success to other receivers, let’s not rob ourselves of enjoying Kupp’s ability to dominant—when defensive coordinators expect him to dominate—while it lasts.
Negative: 7 sacks allowed
The Bills sacked Matthew Stafford seven times without blitzing on a single play.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 9, 2022
Buffalo's seven sacks with four-or-fewer pass rushers is tied for the 4th-most in a game since 2016.#BUFvsLAR | #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/AX8VoPOyAK
According to NextGenStats, the Bills didn’t send a single blitz all night. Yet Stafford was sacked more times than Jared Goff was during his entire Rams career—and during Stafford’s prior Rams career.
The pressure was coming from all over the house, not just Joseph Noteboom, but we can’t discount how many times Andrew Whitworth gave up multiple sacks in a game. Did that ever happen?
Positive: Aaron Donald will be more dominant than this and he still looked dominant
Having Aaron Donald is always a positive. Here is AD and The Rock teaming up to make more money probably:
The Rock working out with Aaron Donald pic.twitter.com/BzJE699sis— Daily Loud (@dailyloudclips) September 8, 2022
Negative: 31-10 loss at home when raising the banner
Just to put yesterday's game in proper perspective:— Chris Nass (@NassNFL) September 9, 2022
LA Rams' 10-31 loss to the Buffalo Bills is the biggest home loss by a defending Super Bowl Champion in Week 1.
There are a lot of situations when a team can lose and feel good about their effort. This is not one of those situations. Yes, the defense came out with four turnovers. However, the team only scored 10 points. And the defense still got brutalized in the second half.
Losing by three touchdowns is survivable for great teams, but it is never acceptable. The rebound against the Falcons next week must be emphatic.
Positive: A’Shawn Robinson a formidable AD partner
Troy Hill’s pick was nice to be sure, but Hill was not perfect and for me the bigger standout was A’Shawn Robinson. He’s on a roll dating back to last season.
Negative: Players need to be prepared for the big stage
Far be it from me to question the strategical decisions of a coach like Sean McVay with his record of success. However, I think it is important for players to become accustomed to playing in front of 30 million people. There’s a huge jump from college to the NFL. The Rams were coming out as the Super Bowl champions in front of the whole world that had been anticipating the return of professional football this year. Those are huge expectations.
There is some value to getting through some of those early-career mistakes during the preseason, when the results don’t matter but the lights are still bright.
Not gunna lie, the Tutu Atwell drop stung a little— Joshua Hirsch (@JustJoshinYa83) September 9, 2022
Positive: 16 more opportunities to correct the mistakes
We shouldn't be questioning L.A.’s ability to run it back just because of Thursday night. The Bills are a great team and it is Week 1. However, if the Rams do lose to the Falcons next week, then the “must-win” comments will come crawling out of the woodwork by Week 3’s game against the Cardinals.