The Los Angeles Rams picked up a huge win against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, propelling them back into playoff contention. A lot of the success the Rams had against the vaunted Browns defensive line was in large part due to the stellar play of their offensive line, which has really seemed to come together as a unit in the past few weeks.
The Browns are currently ranked sixth in total defense, as well as just outside the top-10 in sacks with 34 total this season, however on Sunday the Rams offensive line was able to keep QB Matthew Stafford’s jersey clean, allowing zero sacks for the second week-in-a-row.
Stafford seemed very happy about his front five’s play in the game, saying:
I was going to say something if nobody asked me (about the offensive line). My guys were ballin’ today. I was so fired up.”
With the clean pocket, Stafford was able to throw for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Over the last two weeks Stafford has 508 yards, seven touchdowns and only one interception. The NFL’s eleventh all-time leader in passing yards is starting to look like his old All-Pro self again, and is peaking at just the right time for LA to make a playoff run.
"My guys were ballin' today, I was so fired up."— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) December 4, 2023
Matthew Stafford on the offensive line. pic.twitter.com/W9oup9iQuI
It was a particularly impressive game by left tackle Alaric Jackson, who was tasked with blocking perennial defensive player of the year nominee, Miles Garrett, all day long. Garrett is currently ranked fourth in the entire NFL for sacks - totaling 13 this season thus far.
The Browns defensive end gave the Rams credit on their game plan in stopping him. Garrett was playing through a shoulder injury sustained last week, and when asked if the injury affected him in the game, he said:
“Didn’t affect me that much,” He continued “Just had a great game plan for us up front.”
On top of keeping their QB upright, the offensive line helped lead a rushing attack that was able to go over 100 yards, with 120 total on the day. Last week, they helped RB Kyren Williams gain 143 yards vs Arizona as well, and have seemed to establish some grit and “nastiness” that was not there the first few weeks of the season.
Jackson is now starting to come into his own at left tackle, rookie LG Steve Avila looks to be a cornerstone player for years to come, and RG Kevin Dotson, who currently sports a fantastic PFF score of 88.9, may have been the best trade made by any team in the offseason. This rings even more true when you consider that LA only gave up swapping some mid-to-late round picks between 2024 and 2025 with Pittsburgh to acquire the right guard. In 2024, the Steelers get the Rams’ fourth and the Rams get the Steelers’ fifth, and in 2025, the Steelers get the Rams’ fifth rounder and the Rams get the Steelers’ sixth.
Los Angeles has a very tough game next week against the 9-3 Baltimore Ravens, but with the success of the offensive line, Stafford and the run game look completely rejuvenated. If the Rams can pull off the upset against the Ravens, talks of their playoff potential will only get louder from here.