The opening five game stretch for the Los Angeles Rams always seemed daunting before the season kicked off. After starting the year off with three teams who were in the playoffs just last season—the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Cincinnati Bengals—LA probably had their Week 4 game against the Indianapolis Colts circled as a slight reprieve. They’ll also face the Philadelphia Eagles next week who are currently 3-0 and played in last year’s Super Bowl.
This week’s game against the Colts now looks much tougher than it did even a month ago. Anthony Richardson looks more inexperienced than he does raw, and his transition to the NFL has been much smoother than anticipated. Indianapolis will lean on his ability to contribute in the run game to help him get his legs under him, but he’s shown potential as a pocket passer—it will just time for him to become more effective in this facet.
ANTHONY RICHARDSON SHOWING OFF HIS LEGS FOR THE TOUCHDOWN— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) September 17, 2023
His second rushing TD of the season!!
Sure, the rookie needs to learn how to protect himself when running with the football. He was knocked out of his first two games with injury before missing Week 3 with a concussion. Sunday’s game against the Rams will show us what lessons he’s learned, if any.
On the defensive ball the Colts are no slouches either, and they’ll provide a tough test for a Rams offensive line that has struggled over the last two weeks.
DeForest Buckner is the star that cements the center of Indy’s defensive line, and Grover Stewart next to him is a force in his own right. The edges have been a weakness for the Colts in recent seasons, but Kwity Paye seems to be turning a corner with three sacks through three games. Samson Ebukam will look to make an impact against his former team, but we don’t quite know who will be blocking him yet.
LA’s left tackle, Alaric Jackson, suffered a lower body soft tissue injury last week against the Bengals and missed significant time in practice. He’s officially listed as questionable for the game and head coach Sean McVay called him a “game-time decision”. If Jackson is unavailable against the Colts, then the Rams could slide right guard Joe Noteboom back to left tackle—probably his more natural position—and slot in either Tremayne Anchrum or Kevin Dotson in at guard. Zack Thomas filled in for Jackson last week, but the Rams did not do much to help him against star edge rusher Trey Hendrickson and Stafford was under duress constantly.
Sean McVay said OL Alaric Jackson (hamstring) will be listed as questionable and likely be a game-time decision for Sunday's game against the Colts.— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) September 29, 2023
The Rams are 1-2 and are tied for last place in the NFC West division against the Arizona Cardinals, who pulled off a surprising win against a talented Dallas Cowboys team in Week 3. LA risks falling too far behind the 49ers and Seahawks should they come up short in Indy.
I wouldn’t call a Week 4 game against a middling or below average Colts team a “must win”; however, we may have to accept the Rams for what they find themselves on the losing end on the road this weekend. Losing to the Colts could put the playoffs out of reach for Los Angeles.