The Los Angeles Rams had a reality check on Sunday as they lost to the Green Bay Packers, 20-3. There were some performances that gave you hope for the future, while others left a lot to be desired. Let’s get into stock up, stock down!
Stock Down: Rams offense
Sunday’s loss wasn’t completely on McVay. However, he did make some decisions that led directly to the Rams’ loss. For starters, there’s the decision to start Brett Rypien and not have a better backup plan at quarterback. Rypien does limit what the offense is able to do. With that said, Rypien is also a guy that McVay almost certainly had a say in bringing in.
Aside from Rypien, McVay’s decision to punt from the 36-yard line was strange. It was a longer field goal, but a punt in that situation was odd. Later, he had a fourth-and-5 that was a clear ‘go’ situation going towards the same end zone. He opted to kick a field goal which was missed. The Rams offense finished with an EPA per play of -0.4 which ranked 24th out of 26 teams.
Stock Up: EDGE Byron Young
Young continues to be a bright spot for the Rams. Early in the game, Young made a play in the backfield on AJ Dillon to stop the Packers short on third-down. While Green Bay went for it, a pre-snap penalty forced them to punt.
The Rams third-round rookie finished with two sacks which marked his first multi-sack game of his career. Los Angeles found a good one with Young. If they can pair him with an elite pass rusher on the other side, it will only benefit him in year two.
Stock Down: Rams Running Backs
It’s fair to say that the Packers didn’t respect the Rams passing game which dialed them more into stopping the run. However, Henderson only faced eight or more in the box on 10 percent of his carries.
In a week where the Rams needed the run game to work, Darrell Henderson averaged -4.22 rushing yards over expected per attempt. That was the worst in the NFL in Week 9 and the worst mark for any running back in a single week this season by almost a full yard. That’s back-to-back weeks where Hendo has ranked inside the bottom-3 in RYOE. Freeman was average, but Henderson negatively impacted the offense in the running game.
Stock Up: S Quentin Lake
The Rams were without Ernest Jones on Sunday which threw Quentin Lake into a bigger role as the “money” linebacker in the defense. For the most part, he played well. Lake had a season-high 43 snaps and five tackles.
It will be interesting to see if the Rams continue utilizing Lake. Last week, McVay seemed to indicate that he would be getting more playing time. Lake’s impact was especially felt in the run game.
Stock Down: TE Tyler Higbee
Higbee has had a rough 2023 season after signing a contract extension. Drops have been an issue and he did have one against the Packers. However, he also completely whiffed on a “wham block” that led to Darrell Henderson getting tackled in the backfield.
Higbee hasn’t been good enough and as a veteran on the team, they need him to better. The Rams tight end may be tradeable this offseason. Given the status of the TE2 spot on the roster, the Rams really need Higbee to start playing up to his ability.