The Los Angeles Rams (2-3) lost to the Philadelphia Eagles (5-0) by a score of 23-14 on Sunday. At one point LA held a 14-10 lead, and there were some positives to take away for Sean Mcvay and his team. In the end, the Rams looked outmatched by what looked like a superior opponent. LA can still have a competitive season, but they have not shown enough that would say they can beat the top teams in the league. Can this team get these wins by season’s end? I wouldn’t say no, but the fact is the Rams have lost to the San Francisco 49ers, and now the Eagles who many believe are the top teams in the NFC.
Let’s see some of what the head coach had to say after the team’s latest loss.
“You give Philly credit. They did a great job being able to make enough plays. They possessed the football, they were really efficient on third downs. I thought we came out ready to go and I thought we had a good momentum.”
McVay’s squad had moments of brilliance. Again, they had a lead in this game, but it was extremely short lived when the Eagles pulled ahead in the literal closing seconds of the first half. Philly tacked on this touchdown with about 30 seconds to work with before the second quarter ended.
It is no surprise that touchdown would prove very costly. If you want to beat the best then you typically need to play at your best.
“I thought they did a good job of being able to convert towards the end of the first half. The margin for error was really small.”
The Rams did not play their best football in this game. There is an argument to be made that this team’s best games are still in front of them.
“We gotta play better complimentary football, and that’s one of the things I thought was really reflected. Whether it was in the first half or even in the second half. I thought Ahkello Witherspoon’s interception, where it’s still a one possession game, we’ve gotta figure out how to go turn that into points. There’s opportunities I know we’re capable of making, and we’ve just got to be able to string it together. One thing to say, we gotta be able to do it but I believe that this team is capable of making those plays. I know they’re capable of making those plays. I’m excited about going back to work with these guys.”
"I'm excited about going back to work with these guys... I believe in this group." pic.twitter.com/fHIK5ouVzk— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) October 8, 2023
This team is still young and there are plenty of areas for this team to learn about and improve upon. The best way to get better at something is repetition and real experience. This team has shown they can hang in games and they can take leads. They still need to learn how to close games out consistently, or get back in games when things are not going their way. There is no excuse. The fans have high expectations because this team has shown flashes and the team internally seems to have high expectations as well because of their belief in the roster.
“There’s a lot of learning opportunities, and that’s gonna be consistent with any team but I think especially a lot of guys that are going through things for the first time, I’m not making excuses at all because we expect to accelerate, you know, our progression and I believe in this group, but you know disappointed with the inability to be able to play off one another but we’re gonna come back, we’re gonna look at this film, we’re gonna figure out where to be better and we’re gonna respond and I can promise you that.”
LA had chances, and that cannot be stressed enough. Ahkello Witherspoon and the defense forced a huge interception. Matthew Stafford had Tutu Atwell for why could’ve been a long score, but they didn’t connect. LA has had opportunties to change the outcome in all three of their losses, but in all three of their losses the team has come up short.
“We made some plays, and we missed on some opportunities that I don’t think we’ll miss on as we move forward.”
It’s not that this team is lifeless and is getting blown out. In fact the team has shown all the right pieces, at times. An offense that can move the ball, a defense that can step up, a Special Teams unit that looks adequate. LA has shown all of that. They’ve also shown inconsistency and inconsistency of play has translated to losses.
There may be no more tangible an example of these highs and lows as when the Rams took a 14-10 lead with less than a minute to go in the half. Momentum seemed to be on LA’s side, but the defense made some mental errors and as shown above the Eagles capitalized by retaking the lead right before the half came to close. A turn of events similar to what happened to the Rams when they played the 49ers. It was clear the team was frustrated with how they closed out the opening half.
“That was tough and those are things we gotta be able to look at and it was almost identical to the way things played out against the 49ers. I mean it was in some instances deja vu. We gotta figure out, alright how can we be better in some of those situations. Like I said you gotta play four quarters.”
The fact that the team took a lead in this game is encouraging for the squad who still has at least 12 games in front of them. The team will have to lick it’s wounds, learn from what they can learn from and move on.
“We had some chances. I’m just...I’m excited about figuring out how the Hell we get some of this stuff fixed, and I’m not sitting up in here having to rationalize all the stuff that goes on throughout the course of a game cause I know we can get this stuff done.”
This isn’t a hot take, but if the Rams wants to take on the Eagles, the 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys and more this year, then they will need to play four quarters of football. The better teams will take advantage of LA’s lapses, and they have.
“How do we, all 11, put it together consistently? Do I expect perfection? No I don’t expect perfection, but more consistent execution? I think we’re capable of that and I’m looking forward to having that be shown on our film the way that we’re able to play as we move forward, but we’re five weeks in this season. There’s a lot of football left. I’m excited about attacking this with this team.”
The Rams did have Cooper Kupp back this game and that was great for the team to see him. Now the team has Kupp, Atwell, Puca Nacua, Kyren Williams and Tyler Higbee. There is still other skill position players for this team to use, so now it will up to LA to figure out how best to use all these pieces.
“I think it’ll be a good opportunity for us to be able to continue to figure out how do we utilize the whole personnel.”
As the Rams are figuring out how best to utilize their roster they will be preparing for Week 6 where the Rams will have to face a division opponent in the Arizona Cardinals. If the Rams can find a way to win that game they’d be 3-3 and 2-1 in the division. I think most would consider that an alright start.
“That’s what you love about the NFL. There’s great challenges every week and we’ll have one next week as well.”
LA will need to look at their team and figure out how to score more consistently. The defense gave up 24 points, but the defense is a lot of new faces. The offense has Stafford and Kupp is back. The Rams have to think they can put up more than 14 points. Even against a great Eagles defense. The Eagles seemed to control time of possession, and it’s up to LA to figure out how to make the most on offensive drives when they have them.
“Possession are just so important because you might punt the ball away and it might be seven or eight minutes until you get the ball back and then you’re looking up and you’re saying: Alright I can’t believe it’s already the fourth quarter. So, that was kinda what it felt like today.”
Towards the end of the interview McVay was asked about a particular play that didn’t go the Rams way, and his response seemed to sum up the game.
“That was really poor execution on our part and those are the things that make me very upset.”
This team had some opportunities, but in the end they didn’t do enough. The team is frustrated, the fans may be frustrated too. There still does seem to be a lot to look forward to and a lot to be excited about. This team does seem to have the right pieces to build around. Pieces that give this team a chance to win week in and week out. It will be up to the team to show real improvement as it goes forward. Otherwise, I have a feeling LA’s head coach will get very upset.