The Los Angeles Rams are coming off of their worst collective loss of the season to the Dallas Cowboys. All three phases looked outmatched and LA’s coaching did not save the day in any way shape or form. To add injury to insult, Matthew Stafford comes out of this game with an injured thumb. It’s uncertain how serious the injury is, or if it will keep Stafford out of any games. The Rams had plenty of questions to answer without the Stafford injury, but in all fairness, it didn’t seem like LA was going to win this game whether Stafford finished the game or not. The Rams were down 33-3 probably before most people had even turned their television on.
Sean McVay tried to talk about the game in the subsequent press conference. He offered some optimism as he expects this team to get better. He talks about relishing the opportunity to bounce back. He also doesn’t seem to have any answers outside of belief in the current team. See some of what the faithful coach has to say about his team and the most recent loss. NOTE: LA kept this press conference pretty brief.
LIVE: Rams Postgame Press Conference with HC Sean McVay following our matchup against the Cowboys. https://t.co/hhTl9zMBdd— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) October 29, 2023
The coach starts off by acknowledging that the Cowboys looked like the better team today. This game got out of hand quickly as the Cowboys jumped out to a 30 point lead after mistakes by the Rams on defense, offense and special teams. The entire Rams roster seemed to cave all at once. McVay still sited some positive moments, but LA never had this game. That’s the coach trying to find silver linings in what may have been a lost learning opportunity.
“Congrats to the Cowboys. They did a great job today. Got out of hand real quickly. Especially when I felt like we had some good momentum on the first drive offensively looked like we were gonna be able to get off the grass even on their first drive offensively, have a penalty, that ends up extending the drive. We go right back down and got a chance to be able to score on that screen. There was a couple plays earlier that gotta go back and look at but...you end up getting to 7-3 game...you end up getting that ball back, they end up getting the defensive touchdown, they get a blocked punt thing kinda just got outta hand quickly.”
It’s like the coach says the Rams lost after the blocked punt. LA would’ve been down 19-3 at that point. Dallas quickly added to it, but it seems like McVay was shellshocked. As though once Dallas forced the pick six and blocked punt the Rams had no answers. The head coach points out the Rams kept fighting, but they didn’t really fight until they were down multible scores. At that point Dallas probably was allowing LA to make some plays. McVay is going to give his patented “how do we respond?” quote, but how do you respond?
“What I did love..the guys kept battling. Thiers a lot of things that we can learn from and this is what sports is about. How do we respond?”
I ask again, how do you respond? Really, what is to learn other than to say the team was outplayed from the jump? Their quarterback threw a pick six at a time when the game was still competitive, and apparently LA’s head coach and the team couldn’t respond until it was too late. How will LA respond if Stafford misses time?
“I don’t have any more information on Matthew. I’m sure that’s what you guys are gonna ask about. It is his thumb. We’ll see what the significance of that injury is...I don’t want to speculate until I have full clarification from the doctors, but obviously he wasn’t able to return...it’s a good humbling day for us.”
Arguable the best play of the day was Tutu Atwell throwing to Matthew Stafford for a two-point conversion. You read that right.
Unfortunately for LA, that was also the play that reportedly hurt Stafford’s thumb.
“It did occur when he ended up catching the two point attempt from Tutu.”
McVay had a new kicker in Lucas Hasirik, who had never kicked in a NFL game before today. The coach is calling trick plays for two-point conversions while down 20+ points. It was an exciting play, it showed the Rams wanted to get back in it, but would the Rams have been better off just taking the extra point, giving their kicker some experience and moving on to the next series? Instead of exposing Stafford, who has an injury history, and already was taking a beating by Micah Parsons and the rest of Dallas’s D?
Cobie Durant was hurt as well, but the head coach wound not or could not provide much of an update. The coach just says injuries are a part of the game.
“Injuries is a part of the game and hopefully he’ll be ok.”
Whether the injury bug is hitting the Rams or not they are going to have to find a way to play on. There is still a lot of this season left. 10 more games in fact.
“Unfortunately or fortunately however you want to look at it this provides an opportunity for us to be really be tested, and I do trust the character of the men in that locker-room...let’s respond the way that we’re proud of and if we have to make some, you know, planning decision in regards to how we move forward if Matthew or Cobie Durant...tough heck yeah and I feel for him more than anybody...if in fact it’s gonna be an injury that leaves him out...”
McVay wouldn’t offer much, but he spoke highly of his quarterback. I can remember when the head coach was tired of Jared Goff and his turnovers. McVay eventually verbally called out Goff and when Goff wounded up with an injured thumb McVay made the decision that LA was better off with John Wolford than an injured Goff. For now LA’s head coach continues to stick up for Stafford. Stating that he loves the player and his competitiveness. McVay calls Stafford a stud. All of that can be true, and Stafford can still be a reason this team is losing football games.
LA made the gamble for Stafford and it paid off. They won the Super Bowl, It was worth it, McVay, Stafford, Les Snead and more probably all got extensions and all kinds of benefits from that successful playoff run. Of course they are all tied to each other. At the same time LA will need to make some tough decisions. How long can Stafford lead this team? How much does Aaron Donald have left? Does Puka Nacua need to keep taking the hits he is taking for what could be a lost season? Nacua was getting blasted on near every pass thrown his way.
There’s so many questions after a loss. Even more after a loss like this.
The good news is the season is not over. LA can still be competitive this year. Maybe the playoffs are out of reach (they actually aren’t), but that was probably never very realistic to begin with. What is concerning is that the Rams sold the idea that they could compete with Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp. The team might be happy that other players are stepping up, but at what point will the Rams need their veterans to do more too? This isn’t just one game. LA has been a losing team since they won the Super Bowl. At what point will LA admit that what they are doing might not be working?
This team showed they know how to get to the big game and then a couple seasons later they showed they know how to win the big game. Now the questions is, what does the franchise do now?