At the end of the season we may be asking ourselves what could have been when we look back and remember the Los Angeles Rams’ 31-37 heartbreaking loss to the Baltimore Ravens. A Lucas Havrisik field goal forced overtime, but after trading punts the Ravens returned Ethan Evans’ kick for a touchdown—ending the back and forth contest and sending the Rams to 6-7 on the season,
What went wrong, and who is to blame on an individual level? Let’s dive into the “winners” and the “losers”:
Matthew Stafford, QB
Completing 23 of 41 passes (56%) for 294 yards and three touchdowns while competing against the elements was a good enough effort for the Rams to win this game. The Rams offense consistently cut through a tough Ravens defense for most of the day, and for the most part both the running and passing games were effective.
Stafford dropped touchdown dimes to Cooper Kupp and Demarcus Robinson. His other touchdown came on a screen pass to rookie TE Davis Allen.
Blitz Matthew Stafford at your own risk. He knows where Cooper Kupp is going to be. pic.twitter.com/71HBe4YnoG— Rams Brothers (@RamsBrothers) December 10, 2023
Cooper Kupp, WR
Puka Nacua, WR
Kupp caught eight catches for 115 yards and a score. Nacua hauled in five passes for 84 yards and added another six yards on the ground. While Kupp has seemingly been limited of late, this game shows what this duo is capable of when they are able to complement each other. Kupp seemed to step up often on third down as he’s known to do. Nacua is probably the team’s primary pass catching threat at this point,
Ahkello Witherspoon, CB
The Rams defense doesn’t tend to force a lot of turnovers, but when it happens it’s usually at the hands of veteran CB Witherspoon. He picked off Lamar Jackson deep down the field and then returned the ball past midfield to help give the Rams offense favorable field position.
Kyren Williams, RB
The Rams and Sean McVay started the game off with a physical nine-straight runs offensively, which seemed to have caught the Ravens off-guard and gave LA a red zone possession. At the goal line Los Angeles called multiple pass plays and was forced to settle for a field goal.
More impressive is the fact the Rams were able to consistently assert themselves on the ground, and Williams finished the game with 25 rushes for 114 yards. There wasn’t much for the second-year back to add through the air as he caught three passes for negative one yard total.
Lucas Havrisik, K
The Rams obviously don’t have full confidence in young kicker Lucas Havrisik. After a rough outing last week, Los Angeles signed veteran Mason Crosby to the practice squad but ultimately chose to roll with Havrisik for this game. He was good on all three of his attempts, including a late make that forced overtime. This was a high pressure situation and Havrisik came through for his team.
Davis Allen, TE
Scoring your first NFL touchdown is no small feat, and maybe even more impressive is his four-catch, 50-yard performance. Hunter Long was carted off fairly often due to injury. Regular starter Tyler Higbee was ruled out pregame. The Rams offense didn’t seem to miss a beat with Allen in the starting lineup, and Los Angeles could be looking at their next late-round gem in Davis.
Demarcus Robinson, WR
Safety John Johnson got revenge against his former team, the Cleveland Browns, last week with a pivotal interception that played a key role in LA’s victory. Robinson caught a late TD in this game, but his revenge would have been even sweeter if the Rams could have come out on top of this contest.
DEMARCUS ROBINSON TOUCHDOWN… BECAUSE OF COURSE!— Alexis Kraft (@TheAlexisKraft) December 10, 2023
glad i took that demarcus robinson anytime touchdown bet ✅ pic.twitter.com/77rvLwaRAt
The third unit has been a weak spot in this Rams roster all season, and the Ravens took a punt return back for a touchdown to seal the win in overtime. While rookie punter Ethan Evans has been stellar for most of the year, the rest of the Rams special teams unit is on shaky ground. While Havrisik had one of his better games, we know that the kicker position is overall unstable.
The Rams don’t seem to be heavily investing in special teams—at least to the degree they used to—and today it cost them.
Rams last place special teams DVOA strikes back.— Aaron Schatz (@ASchatzNFL) December 10, 2023
Austin Trammell, WR/PR
While both fumbles were fortunately recovered, Trammell put the ball into harm’s way twice today. You can’t control which way the oblong ball bounces, so as a matter of process he belongs on the “losers” list.
The Rams seemed to get pressure on dynamic QB Lamar Jackson often, but they rarely ever effected him in terms of sacks or hits. Jackson was seemingly able to scramble and churn positive plays even when the LA pass rush looked like it was hitting home. Jackson ran 11 times for 70 yards and routinely stayed ahead of the chains.