In week 15 of the 2019 NFL season, the Los Angeles Rams lost to the San Francisco 49ers. LA would go on to finish that season beating the Cardinals in Week 16 to wind up with a 9-7 record (this was before the 17 game/18 Week regular season was incorporated). LA did finish with a winning record at the time, but it was not good enough to make the playoffs. Flash forward to now and LA clinched a playoff spot this past Sunday earning the right to play beyond Week 18.
As LA looks to close out the regular season against the 49ers, Sean Mcvay can rest a bit easier knowing his dear friend, Kyle Shanahan, won’t be eliminating McVay and his team from post season contention. That is starkly different from when LA took on the 49ers for the second time in the 2019 season, when LA needed the win to stay alive, and fell short.
This season so far, the Rams biggest game of the year may have been against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football. The reality for LA is that the past few weeks have all been functionally life or death. LA did drop one to the Baltimore Ravens, but they’ve won every other game since their bye week. They’ve had some help from other teams like the the New York Giants who beat the Green Bay Packers, and more recently the Pittsburgh Steelers who beat the Seattle Seahawks to sure things up for LA to make the playoffs. LA has been in do or die mode, and they survived (for now). They hopefully can take a moment to enjoy the accomplishment, however the reality is that in the NFL the feeling of success rarely lasts long. You’re only as good as your latest win, or your most recent loss.
In 2019 the Rams weren’t as fortunate, and maybe weren’t as skilled a team. LA had a chance to beat the 49ers in Week 15 and they didn’t. Their season ended. This year LA went through a guantlet after starting out 3-6. LA now sits at 9-7 with a game to play, and they can breathe. They don’t have to worry about being eliminated. They should be proud of what they have achieved.
They know they need to get ready for the games to come, and this Week 18 game will not be LA’s last game this season. They finally maybe can look beyond one week. We’ll find out if they can handle the adjustment.