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Rams rookie report: No first-year bright spots for LA in blowout to Cowboys

Puka Nacua was only rookie to do anything...and even he wasn’t all that great against Cowboys

Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams lost a Texas-sized blowout to the Dallas Cowboys, falling 43-20 to drop their record to 3-5 on the season. LA really had no chance as their Week 10 bye can’t come fast enough.

It’s hard to have any hope for LA given how the last two weeks have gone. I legitimately believed this was a playoff team heading into the Steelers game. Now, I’m not sure what to believe anymore. Sorry, didn’t mean to have a mini existential crisis there.

There was little chance that the Rams were going to win in Dallas. Hell, the Broncos beat the Chiefs for the first time in 16 games so forgive me for believing that miracles might exist. LA’s lack of fight is what sucked the air out of an up and down campaign to begin with. Just when the team seemingly took a step forward, they took several steps back and so did their rookie class in this matchup.

That is what makes this game such a hard pill to swallow. I don’t even have a progress check for the rookies this week as there was very little to cover. Nearly all of the first-year players on offense and defense were lackluster or simply non-factors against the Cowboys.

Punter Ethan Evans was the lone rookie to do much of anything as he averaged 45.8 yards on four punts and booted a 58-yarder. Continue kicking ass and taking names Ethan. You were clearly the rookie MVP in this one.

The Cowboys are a force on defense (when they want to be) and didn’t allow Puka Nacua or Cooper Kupp to ever get it going. Nacua had his second career game where he tallied less than 50 receiving yards. Fun fact: those two outings have come within the last three weeks.

I figured Kupp and Nacua would compliment each other as the game wore on and one of them would find some success. With Kupp held under 30 yards for the second-consecutive game, it allowed the Cowboys to zero in on Puka and prevented him from racking up big yardage totals.

Even when one of the rookies did something right, it was negated by a penalty because why not? Who doesn’t love ticky-tacky officiating all the time? The refs took away an early sack from linebacker Byron Young which showed LA exactly how their afternoon was about to go.

Just how bad did this game get? Some fans were wondering where Stetson Bennett was given the struggles Matthew Stafford was going through. After seeing how meh Bennett was during the preseason, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in action at this point. Anything than watching Stafford throw away another game or routinely throwing passes a veteran like him should never attempt at this stage of his career.

Due to personal reasons, Bennett is not coming to the Rams’ rescue. It’s likely Bennett won’t be seen at all in 2023 due to the issues he’s working through. Not that I think he would provide much of a spark anyways but worth a shot. Injured or not, Stafford has to be on the bench. That was a tough sentence to write but it’s becoming more and more apparent by the week. There are glaring issues with this team and Stafford isn’t the band-aid to provide a quick fix anymore.

I’m at a loss for words even though I shouldn’t be. This was going to be a transitional year for LA as they figured out how to win with their young talent. Yet for a brief moment, the Rams gave me a glimmer of hope. Before I knew it, they had ripped it away and left Rams faithful enduring another lost season.

We couldn’t even enjoy a third-straight 49ers loss on Sunday. Look what you’ve done to us LA! You’ve stolen our enjoyment of watching the Whiners lose and seeing Brock Purdy for the overrated system QB he is. Shame on you!

Simply put, the rookie class has to put the team on their backs while LA navigates injury concerns to Stafford. Playing the Packers is the ideal “get right” game as Green Bay is one of the worst teams in the NFL. Lambeau Field is a hostile environment to play. However, there is zero excuse to lose to a quarterback who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.

Regardless of who is under center for that game, the rookie class has to carry LA into the bye week on a winning note. That means first-year pros like Puka Nacua, Byron Young, Kobie Turner for example have to be leading the charge.

Should they fail to contribute in Green Bay, then stick a fork in the Rams and break out the mock drafts. In such a weak NFC, it would be a shame if LA was forced into planning ahead for 2024 so soon. Well, at least they’d have an excellent draft pick if the season ended today.