It’s not often that we talk about the safety position as a weak spot for the Los Angeles Rams, but this position group had what is probably their worst performance of the season in Week 14 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Fourth-year defensive back Jordan Fuller’s struggles were chief among the group. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Fuller was targeted seven times in Baltimore and allowed three receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns. This was good for an opposing passer rating of 122.0. Fuller wasn’t necessarily along in his troubles as second-year safety Russ Yeast also allowed catches on both of his targets for 66 yards, a touchdown, and a perfect passer rating of 158.3 according to PFF.
Fuller is one of the most important players for this Rams defense. When Ernest Jones was unavailable due to injury earlier this year, Fuller took up the “green dot” and defensive play calling just as he did full-time back in 2020 under then-defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. Was this game more of an isolated one-off or a sign that the veteran is struggling of late?
The last touchdown Fuller allowed this season goes all the way back to Week 4 versus the Indianapolis Colts and Anthony Richardson—a stylistically similar quarterback to Lamar Jackson. The safety has only allowed three touchdowns on the year, so there doesn’t seem to be much cause for concern at this point. Still, it’s interesting and notable that all three of Fuller’s touchdowns allowed have come against mobile quarterbacks who excel at buying time for deep shots down the field.
Jackson’s touchdown to former Ram Odell Beckham, Jr. seems to fit this mold. LA’s defense was able to get early pressure on Jackson, and he used his legs to evade and step up into the pocket to fire a pass to the end zone. Fuller bit on the underneath receiver and left OBJ uncovered for the score.
HOW WE CATCH EM‼️— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLFantasy) December 10, 2023
Lamar ➡️ OBJ 46-yard TD pic.twitter.com/dBZ9LV5pIb
The Rams will need Fuller to bounce back and play at the level he’s capable of in order to work their way back into the NFC playoff picture and secure a postseason berth. LA will face volatile but capable passers over the next few weeks in Sam Howell (Commanders), Derek Carr or Jameis Winston (Saints), and Tommy Devito (Giants).