The Los Angeles Rams lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday. The Rams had a lead in fourth quarter and they had chances to take bigger leads or score more points. They didn’t. In the end LA didn’t play well enough to earn this win, but they absolutely played well enough to give themselves a chance. It’s the age old question would you rather be in a game and lose or not be in the game at all? The Rams were very much in this game until the very end. Whether LA lost because of a controversial call is not the takeaway here. The takeaway is the Rams lost, are now 3-4 and are looking like a team that may not extend their season past 17 games.
Going into this season it was not totally expected for the Rams to be dominant. Some thought they would still be competitive though, and so far the team has been exactly that: competitive, but for whatever reason the team has not been able to play excellent football down in and down out. This team is streaky right now and inconsistent. Let’s see how head coach Sean McVay is feeling after this latest loss.
“Congratulations to Pittsburgh. Finding a way to be able to get it done. We didn’t help ourselves. There was a lot of plays that we could’ve been able to make.”
It’s like McVay has a personal vendetta with special teams.— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) October 22, 2023
The weakest element for LA today was their special teams unit. Brett Maher missed two field goals and an extra point. That’s not a recipe for success and it wasn’t. However the offense and defense both did not do enough to will their team to a victory. The play calling didn’t seem bad, but again it wasn’t enough to get the win. This team lost as a team. Every unit shares some blame.
“Anytime we don’t get it done it’s a collective effort, as a team, but there was a lot of things that we didn’t do to be able to finish this game.”
On the opposite side of the field was the Steelers who did do just enough to get this win. They go to 4-2 in a crowded AFC North. There was a questionable call made at the end. It absolutely looked like LA’s defense made a huge stand and forced a turnover on downs to give LA a chance to tie or win the game. However the officials ruled a first down in Pittsburgh’s favor and that was that.
“They were able to finish the game. We weren’t. I’m not gonna sit here and make any excuses cause I know there’s a lot of things that we can do to be better collectively, that I can do a better job of.”
Did LA’s coach agree with the call?
“It doesn’t matter what I think that was the spot they made.”
I am not going to say that was the soul reason this team lost the game. As mentioned up top it seems like each unit can share the blame for not finding a way to win this one. McVay seems to agree that his team should have or could have won this contest.
“Those plays shouldn’t of come down to that if we executed the way we’re capable of. You guys saw the same stuff that I did, but it doesn’t do any good. That was what was called and that’s what we have to be able to live with.”
McVay didn’t have too much to say about Maher’s performance. The head coach did admit that his kicker needs to be better.
“He’s got to better. That’s seven points that we missed out on.”
It will be interesting to see any changes that LA makes. Despite giving up 24 points, and seven of those were basically because of a Matthew Stafford interception, the defense showed up. It seems like the defense has given their offense a chance to win in every game. Unfortunately though the defense also had lapses over all four quarters of play.
“They weren’t really getting anything early on in the game. There’s was just a coupe vertical seams, he was, it’s like anything else you gotta be able to play a full four quarters.”
It’s not like Pittsburgh played a perfect four quarters either, but they did do enough in the right moments.
“I think they did a good job of executing and we didn’t.”
It seems like there are times when maybe the defense is playing good ball and the offense isn’t. We’ve seen the defense make some mistakes by not helping LA keep a lead after it’s earned. The two units have not been in sync at parts of the season.
“We gotta be able to play better complimentary football. I like the way that we responded, end up being able to get the two point conversion and then they were able to, you know, kinda bounce back and counter and you give them credit for being able to do that today.”
LA did have an effective ground game and to McVay’s credit he called runs and passes and didn’t seem to give up on the run the way he has in games past.
“I thought we ran the ball well.”
The coach is asked why this LA team has not been able to string together two wins in a row this season. It’s true. LA has yet to put together back to back wins this campaign. The NFL is challenging, and this team has flashed some real potential. There seems a good team here but for whatever reason they have not been able to put it all together to go on a bit of a run.
“I think the NFL’s hard, Gary. I think it’s challenging every single week. We’ve lost and played some pretty good teams, and that’s what the goal is gonna continue to be. Is figure out how do we string together those consistent performances. Thought we were in a position to be able to do that today and ultimately we didn’t get that done, and I gotta be able to figure out, ‘Alright how do we do that?’ How do we string together some consecutive performances but ultimately it’s really about how do we look at this? How do we correct it? And how do we move forward next week because this game is over with, but it is something that. you know it’s an honest and it’s a fair question and I think the NFL is very challenging and to get wins on a consistent basis is really difficult, but we gotta be able to figure out how to do it at a more consistent clip because I think that we can, and I trust that we will.”
Is this team improving through the first seven weeks?
“I think that’s been illustrated in a lot of ways. I think there’s a lot of things, you know I think the biggest challenge is the consistency through four quarters.”
The Rams put together a great performance and second half against the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams also put together a strong effort when they beat the Arizona Cardinals. Otherwise they have played close games and really haven’t looked consistent to enough to think they can make a run in the post season.
“You look at it I think there’s some really good opportunities, you know for us to just run away with some games, or be able to kind of extend some leads, and we haven’t been able to do that. When we get into these tight games how do we figure out a way to finish and get some of the results that we’ve gotten.”
Until LA is putting games away more often than not then questions will arise. Like is this team capable of being better than mediocre? Can they be consistently great? McVay does still believe in this team and he overall seems to handle the losses so far this season even-mindedly.
“I’m more encouraged now that I was at the very beginning of the season, and you know I’m an optimistic guy.”
The coach, even in a loss, seems to be feeling good and that’s encouraging to see.
“I feel very energized. I feel very disappointed right now in the moment because there’s always things that you wanna do to be able to help these guys do well and have the success.”
The Rams will have to get ready to take on the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve also had an up and down year, but Dallas I would say has looked better overall than LA. McVay is going to have to get his team ready and it seems like he still has a lot more coaching to do if this team wants to get to where they are hoping.
“I love this. I love working with this team.”
Understandably, fans can get too high or too low. Win and the Rams are a playoff contender. Lose and they might as well tank.— Blaine Grisak (@bgrisakTST) October 22, 2023
Don't think the loss today is end of the season.
Lot of 3-4 teams in the NFC. Rams are exactly where I thought they'd be. 9-10 wins still possible.
We find out next week if the Rams can get back to .500 with a 4-4 record, or if they fall to 3-5. Can this team do anything now in 2023, or will this team need to start looking to 2024? We will find out over the course of the next few weeks. This team has talent. Can they put it all together to make a run in the NFC? There’s still enough time to find out.