The Los Angeles Rams were blown out by the Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills 31-10 on a primetime Thursday night game. Sean McVay is now below .500 for his first time as an NFL head coach and has suffered his first loss in a season opener... and by golly did he do it in horrific fashion.
Do the Bills deserve a ton of credit? Of course they do. Josh Allen had all but secured league MVP before the season even started. They recruited Von Miller to fill a glaring hole in their otherwise top-ranked defense and nabbed some rookies that played admirably at the cornerback position—but I am not here to give Buffalo any credit. No. This is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly vol. 1.
Even though the Rams did not look like they would be repeating any of their successes from a year prior on Thursday night, Kupp looked like he is on a mission to receive the Triple Crown back-to-back seasons. He put up 13 receptions on 15 targets that went for 128 yards and touchdown and was the lone bright spot in what was a horrific offensive outing. It is still jaw-dropping what the sixth-year wide receiver can accomplish when the entire stadium knows where the ball is going almost every play. If you cannot stomach going back to watch the Thursday’s game it is at least worth watching Kupp’s highlights and pretending the rest did not happen.
Cooper Kupp fantasy owners having a great night pic.twitter.com/6Cwg6n3DgX— Bussin' With The Boys (@BussinWTB) September 9, 2022
I may get a lot of flack for this one, but I am going to go ahead chalk up a win for the Rams defense last night. Aaron Donald and Bobby Wagner finished with a sack apiece and the rest of the defense forced four turnovers. Terrell Lewis walked way with the first one when the ball slipped out of the receivers hands, offseason acquisition Troy Hill grabbed the second one when he read Josh Allen’s pass masterfully and jumped in front of the route to secure the interception, and Nick Scott and Ernest Jones both finished the game with a forced fumble that was recovered by Los Angeles.
Troy Hill! pic.twitter.com/kFl3yIIZHC— WeAreDBnation (@WeAreDBNation1) September 9, 2022
Yes, the defense did give up 31 points and at times left receivers deep down field wide open, but they also gave Los Angeles the best chance at staying in the game. The offense just never capitalized on the opportunities and kept their defense on the field for way too long.
Cam Akers/Run Game
Fantasy players and Rams fans alike were baffled Thursday night when they saw Darrell Henderson taking most of the snaps out of the backfield. Henderson had 13 carries for 47 yards in comparison with Akers paltry three carries for zero yards. Heading into this season one of the biggest opportunities for McVay was to improve the run game, but after last nights performance it might have taken a step back. Akers is the best running back on the roster—there might be a bigger issue with his health behind the scenes that no one in LA’s office plan on talking about. I mean, this is the same organization that kept Todd Gurley’s health issues in-house nearly a year.
Regardless of what the true story is McVay will need to figure out something quick. Thankfully he will have plenty of time to get it corrected.
Any receiver not named Kupp
With Van Jefferson on the bench nursing a knee injury the Rams were down one of their most consistent playmakers, but even with him on the field who knows if there would have been any real difference. The offense is not the same without Odell Beckham Jr. on the field. After Thursday’s massacre the cry to get Beckham signed will only get louder and his price might of just got a lot higher.
.@obj back in #RamsHouse. pic.twitter.com/ntqlvu7eJq— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 9, 2022
Allen Robinson was for the most part invisible and finished the game with one reception for 12 yards, just barely beating out Brandon Powell with his 10 yard reception. Tutu Atwell’s lone opportunity saw the ball hit his hands but instantly punched out by a defender and Tyler Higbee did not get involved until the game was out of hand and was likely at fault for a miscommunication that lead to an interception.
For #BillsMafia and others who might need all 3 Matt Stafford interceptions from tonight.— Manique (@Manic_Socratic) September 9, 2022
Stafford was shaky but he also did not get much help from his pass catchers either.
The Offensive Line
Who has Andrew Whitworth on speed dial? Anyone? Get that man some pads and a couple briefcases of money because that outing by the offensive line was bad. Stafford may have not been his normal self but he also did not have much of a pocket to step up into and when he did Von Miller was jumping like a cheetah after its prey and brining him down before getting the pass off. Stafford was sacked 7 times. Even if his receivers were open at any point in the game it was more likely the Super Bowl winning quarterback would be looking at the ground than down the field.
Von Miller's first sack with the #BuffaloBills! pic.twitter.com/Do7Mp3Xg6E— Replay Realm (@replay_realm) September 9, 2022
The inability to protect Stafford and create any holes for the backfield to run through has earned the entire offensive line my first “ugly” rating of the year. There are 16 games left for the unit to figure out what life will be like without Whitworth on the field—they only have 10 days to figure it out before they take on the Atlanta Falcons.
Who would you add to the list? What would you change? Let’s discuss!