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Cam Akers gives Rams fans reasons to celebrate, hope

Akers reached the century mark for second straight week

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Following a 31-10 loss to the Chargers on New Year’s Day, the Los Angeles Rams didn’t have a memorable start to 2023 on Sunday. Very little went right for the Rams on Sunday, except for one thing: Cam Akers.

The third-year running back carried the ball 19 times for 123 yards, his second game in a row going over the century mark.

Akers has seemingly found new life after wanting a trade from the team early in the season. Since Week 11, the Florida State product has rushed for 506 yards and six touchdowns off 105 carries. During this span, he has started every game except for the one against New Orleans. For reference, Cam had just 176 yards and a single touchdown in the seven games prior to his hot streak.

Everyone including myself, had been especially hard on Cam Akers. Fans were praying he would be cut or traded by midseason. Those fans were about to get their wish back in mid-October.

Funny how the football gods decide to reward us with the unexpected. Either Akers got a jump on the good stuff for the New Year’s festivities or he’s finally back to his old self. Like c’mon, when was the last time you saw him have a dynamic run like this?

Or have a totally wicked block like this?

Sheesh, talk about protecting your QB while taking the scenic route. With his 100-yard performances against the Broncos and Chargers the last two weeks, Cam is the first LA rusher to do so in back-to-back weeks since CJ Anderson(!) Akers is rushing with a renewed confidence which bides well for his future in Los Angeles. Over the second half of the season, he looks like a vastly different player and it’s caught the attention of Sean McVay.

“I think right now, with what he’s done continuing to build on that momentum, I think it’d be silly based on what a great job he’s done to think of it anything differently than him being a big part of what you want to be able to do moving forward.” said McVay via Los Angeles Times.

“There’s totally a different trajectory in terms of what he’s done. And the way that he’s handled himself and the way that he’s playing the way like we know he’s capable of and hopefully you just continue to see him build on it these last couple weeks and into next year with the Rams.”

In a lost campaign packed with injuries out the wazoo, seeing young players step up should make the fanbase excited for the future. Who needs draft picks when you got Cam Akers? That was definitely not a sentence I expected to write this season, not after he gained zero yards on three carries in the season opener.

Watching Cam silence his doubters while giving his all each week has been a joy. It makes me hopeful that he can build off this recent success into next season and beyond. The front office better be taking notice of Akers as he’s proving himself to be the workhorse back they envisioned when they drafted him. McVay has committed to his young blossoming star by refusing to shop him in the coming offseason. That commitment has meant the world to Cam.

Young players deserve at least three years to show their respective teams what they’ve got. Obviously Akers’ NFL path in his three-year career hasn’t been a smooth ride which made that evaluation process all the more difficult. He flashed at the end of his rookie season in 2020 with 221 yards and two scores on the ground off 46 carries in playoff games against the Seahawks and Packers.

When Matthew Stafford was traded to the Rams in the 2021 offseason, Cam’s role in the offense was projected to expand. That was until he tore his Achilles tendon in preseason. With an injury expected to shelve him the entire season, he returned in a Week 18 loss to the 49ers where he only played 13 total snaps. Akers won a ring but wasn’t a reliable contributor as he struggled mightily. He was rushed back way too soon and just wasn’t healthy. It showed on his 67 rushing attempts where Cam had 172 yards, “good” enough for a dismal 2.57 average.

The progress and maturity the third-year running back has displayed with the season mercifully coming to a close is one to celebrate. I’ve had my fair share of issues with the guy but who hasn’t? On a team with several key areas to address, the ground game likely won’t be one if Cam has something to say about it.

Get a better O-line around him and the sky is truly the limit with Cam Akers. Again, who saw that one coming?