The 2022 season ended with another loss - the 12th of the season - for the Los Angeles Rams. They fell to the Seattle Seahawks 16-19 in overtime. In turn, Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions were officially eliminated from the playoffs - but Seattle will earn a trip to the post-season if the Lions take down the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football.
The Rams remained competitive throughout the season even though at times they were trotting out third and fourth stringers from their preseason lineup. But the end of 2022 won’t necessarily bring closure to the team or its fans - rumors are swirling fast whether head coach Sean McVay will return to the team. LA faces no shortage of questions heading into the offseason.
But we can put a lid on the game against the Seahawks, and the individual performances we saw in that game will have a lasting impression over the course of the offseason and as we approach free agency and the draft.
Jalen Ramsey, CB
It was Ramsey’s best game of the season.
He picked off Geno Smith’s first pass of the game to put the Rams’ offense in favorable field position. He had another interception in the second half. The Rams scored a total of three points on the two turnovers, which was a disappointing outcome that worked in Seattle’s favor.
Ramsey also had an impressive run stop on rookie Kenneth Walker at the goal line which helped forced the Seahawks to settle for a field goal and take the game to overtime. The star corner finished with five tackles and three deflected passes.
Cam Akers, RB
Akers finished the game with 104 yards on 21 carries (5.0 avg), which makes three straight 100 yard outings to close out the season. If you expand the field to total scrimmage yardage, he also had 100 total yards against the Packers (65 rushing, 35 receiving).
It’s safe to assume that the offense line in front of Akers won’t be any worse than what he played with this season, so the running back could be headed towards a big year in his fourth season.
Quentin Lake, DB
Two plays stick out in the rookie’s performance in this game. The first was a dropped interception where Lake was strangely looking backwards while he started to run with the ball. The second was a touchdown bomb from Geno Smith to Tyler Lockett - I can’t explain what Lake was doing on this play.
All in all, the rookie safety finished with a team-leading eight total tackles, a TFL, and a pass deflection - and he wasn’t even on the field regularly until Russ Yeast suffered a chest injury. It was only part of a game, and there were both good and bad moments, but this was an encouraging performance for Lake heading into 2023.
Leonard Floyd, OLB
The Rams were using Floyd in a variety of ways, which is somewhat unusual as they normally just line him up as the left edge rusher. Floyd swapped sides with fellow edge defender Michael Hoecht multiple times and the Rams also lined him up as an inside linebacker to send him on an interior pressure.
The result was pretty good as Floyd had three hits on the QB and was the main generator of pressure on LA’s defensive front.
Baker Mayfield, QB
Mayfield is auditioning to become a starter for another team in 2023 - that’s a goal he has stated himself. However, his final pass attempt this season was an interception with Van Jefferson seemingly wide open for a game-winning completion. Mayfield put too much air under the ball, which allowed Quandre Diggs to catch up and intercept the pass.
What impact will Mayfield’s lasting impression leave on his potential free agent suitors? Is he able to shake the dreaded label of being mistake prone when his team needs him the most?
Late in the fourth quarter during Seattle’s final regulation offensive possession with the score tied, the Seahawks lined up to punt on fourth-and-three to give the Rams back the ball. Jonah Williams was shoved into the punter by safety Jonathan Abram and drew the five-yard running into the kicker flag. The Seahawks earned a first down and...
To help get them in position for the field goal was an unnecessary roughness flag on Ramsey, where he stood in the boundary ready for contract and Geno Smith collided with him to draw the penalty. This put the Seahawks in range to try the game-winning field goal - Jason Myers missed to send the game into overtime.
Jalen Ramsey gets run over by Geno Smith while potentially still in bounds and gets an unnecessary roughness flag— Bad Sports Refs (@BadSportsRefs) January 9, 2023
Then DK Metcalf puts his finger in Metcalf’s face and the taunting is ignored
Wild sequence of officiating #LARvsSEA pic.twitter.com/kaxpE6vGsQ
The Seahawks got the first possession in overtime. Smith was pressured outside of the pocket and threw the ball behind the line of scrimmage - no intentional grounding foul was called on the play.
Diggs pointed the ball towards former teammate Bobby Wagner after intercepting Mayfield’s pass, which went uncalled for taunting. Seattle kicked the game-winning field goal on the ensuing drive.
Robert Rochell, CB
Riley Dixon had two nice punts that should have been downed within the three-yard line; however, both times Robert Rochell seemed to botch the situation. The second-year corner hasn’t been able to get onto the field after standing out on defense at times as a rookie. His struggles in this game on special teams don’t suggest that he will be able to turn things around.
Wowwwww that's twice the Rams could've downed it at the 1 and Rochell couldn't do it.— Field Gulls (@FieldGulls) January 9, 2023
Rams’ future & Sean McVay’s big decision
The world will continue to turn no matter which way Sean McVay lands in his decision whether or not to return to the team, but the manner in which he has approached the topic is ripe for criticism.
McVay was asked about the rumors this week at practice - he failed to throw much water on them and reiterated his interest in a broadcasting career at some point. After the game the head coach refused to shed any further light on the subject, which is essentially the same as pouring gas on the fire.
The decision on McVay’s future should only be handled internally with the Rams brass - owner Stan Kroenke, COO Kevin Demoff, and general manager Les Snead. Instead, it seems the coach has done more explaining to reporters like Peter Schrager than he has to his own team of players and assistant coaches.
It’s not fair to criticize the decision itself, but McVay has mishandled the situation and the buzz surrounding it.