The Los Angeles Rams were oh-so close to tasting 7-6 but it was not meant to be as they fell 37-31 in overtime against the Baltimore Ravens. Following the heartbreaking loss, some fans were pointing out that the Rams were robbed once again by the refs on the game-winning punt return.
Here’s a closer look at the play in real time:
Hate to be one of those “ReFs” but a clear block in the back on that punt return. pic.twitter.com/0znvz0ePmm— Rams Tapes (@RamsTapes) December 10, 2023
While I agree the play by the Ravens’ special teamer appeared to be a block in the back, I’m not out to fault the refs for the final result. I’m afraid the officiating crew gets a slight pass this week, so you can breathe easy zebras! Don’t think you’ll get off so easy next week. Instead, this loss should be pinned on the coaching staff, at least on their communication issues on offense in the final minute of regulation.
On LA’s game-tying drive with the offense on Baltimore’s 18-yard line, the Rams needed to convert a 3rd-and-6 with 16 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Prior to the snap, Los Angeles was forced to use their final timeout which Sean McVay was not happy about.
“God damn it. How did that happen? Did you not hear me?” McVay said after blowing last timeout— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) December 10, 2023
Matthew Stafford threw an incompletion after the Ravens took a timeout of their own and LA was forced to settle for a 36-yard field goal.
All coaching staffs have blunders with time management every once in a while. What makes this mistake inexcusable and fairly avoidable is how McVay has been a head coach since 2017. These types of blunders should not be happening, especially in a game of this magnitude.
it's a shame one of the best coaching jobs of the season by the Rams finishes with the two killer cases of McVay taking too long getting play calls in— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) December 10, 2023
The Rams had Baltimore on their toes and instead of coming away with a signature win, the team is returning home with their heads down wondering WTF just happened. Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic took to social media after the game and said that technological issues were to blame for the critical miscommunication.
Sean McVay says (among many postgame comments) they were having issues with the headset through the game and on the last drive of regulation Stafford couldn’t hear him in the helmet - led to calling that third time out to communicate.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) December 10, 2023
Look, technology happens so not every issue that happens on the field is unavoidable. What McVay and the offense need to work on this week is how to get plays in faster to prepare for any unforeseen circumstances in the future. Again, I realize technology happens but it’s impossible to anticipate everything, unless you’re prime Bill Belichick. Yet that miscommunication sucked the air out of the Rams as it haunted them on their lone overtime drive.
here’s the rams last offensive drive:— Alexis Kraft (@TheAlexisKraft) December 10, 2023
1) run play on first down with kyren williams for positive yards
2) stafford overthrows kyren
3) delay of game - either on mcvay or stafford, who knows
4) wide open drop by davis allen
no one to blame but themselves.
That miscommunication, including penalties must be cleaned up if this team has any hopes of making the postseason.
As proven in Week 14, those errors regardless of size, go a long ways towards deciding the final outcome. It hurt the Rams against the Ravens and Sean McVay has his work cut out for him to stop the bleeding from getting worse.