Things couldn’t have gotten any uglier on Sunday afternoon for the Los Angeles Rams as they fell to the Dallas Cowboys 43-20 in Week 8. LA will fall to 3-5 on the season and have lost nearly all momentum following their encouraging performances from early in the season.
The Los Angeles defense made life difficult for Dak Prescott early on, sacking him multiple times on the opening drive. Still, Prescott was able to connect with CeeDee Lamb—who had a monster day with 12 catches for 158 yards and 2 TD’s—on an 18-yard catch and run to steal back the momentum. Dallas scored on their first possession to take an early lead.
After trading field goals with the Cowboys, Matthew Stafford threw a pick-six deep in Rams territory and then it was all downhill from there. Prescott finished with four scores and Stafford was ultimately pulled for backup Brett Rypien.
How did we get here? There were a number of individual performances that just weren’t good enough on Sunday.
Even though there were some shining individual moments—especially early on—based on this being a total team failure in nearly all aspects of the team, no one deserves to be called a “winner” in this one.
Matthew Stafford, QB
Stafford has been abysmal for the Rams over the last two weeks, and it’s becoming clear and obvious that he’s not Los Angeles’ long-term solution at quarterback. The sooner the Rams move on, the better off they will be—and that’s a position I’ve maintained over the last year or more.
His pick-six, which moves him squarely to second in NFL history behind Brett Favre, was as ugly as you’ll see from someone who has been in the NFL for a decade and a half.
Derion Kendrick, CB
Ahkello Witherspoon, CB
CeeDee Lamb was open all day and he connected with Prescott to move the chains with ease all afternoon. Kendrick was called for another pass interference penalty (he has ranked towards the bottom of the NFL in this category over the season) and allowed a number of downfield completions. Ahkello Witherspoon was feet behind Brandin Cooks on a long touchdown pass to close out the game.
While Witherspoon has forced turnovers and generally been solid for LA this season, Kendrick lacks the overall ability to be a full-time starter. Why have the Rams not given either rookie Tre Tomlinson or veteran Duke Shelley a look on the outside yet? To be fair, Cobie Durant has been playing more often on the perimeter instead of in the slot with DB Quentin Lake mixing in, but it’s still time to give the rookie a look over Kendrick.
Sean McVay, head coach
We may never know how much having his first child during the week of game preparation affected Sean McVay, but it’s at the very least interesting timing that a total team collapse came at the same time as Jordan John McVay. You can’t fault McVay for taking time away if that is truly the case, but you’d expect the assistant coaches to step up and fill the void—instead the Rams looked as unprepared as they ever have since McVay took over as the lead man in 2017.
The 23-point loss by the Rams is tied for their second-worst in the Sean McVay era, according to @ESPNStatsInfo.— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) October 29, 2023
Two of their three largest losses under McVay have come against the Cowboys in Dallas.
Not drafting Will Levis, QB
There are obvious connections between McVay and Will Levis, as former Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen coached the quarterback during his best individual season at the University of Kentucky. Levis, somewhat surprisingly, slipped to the second round of this spring’s NFL Draft. The Tennessee Titans, understanding the Rams’ connection to the prospect, traded up to select the quarterback three spots ahead of LA’s first pick.
Levis made his debut for the Titans on Sunday and tossed four touchdown passes.