Being the defending Super Bowl champions and attempting to repeat is not easy and the Los Angeles Rams are learning that the hard way. It puts a target on your back as you will receive every team’s best performance, as they want to knock off the champs. You have to be on your game and thus far, the Rams have not been.
Los Angeles has some major issues in a few key areas currently. Their offensive line has struggled, which has led to some putrid performances running the ball. Los Angeles is currently last in the NFL in rushing attempts and rushing yards, and second to last in yards per rush.
Their passing offense hasn’t been any better with Matthew Stafford leading the way. Having to limit his reps in the offseason to rest his elbow has carried over into the regular season as he has virtually no chemistry with any of his wide receivers other than Cooper Kupp. Tight end Tyler Higbee has been targeted a ton as well, but the Rams’ offense is struggling to push the ball down the field.
With Sean McVay as head coach, there is optimism that things will turn around. He is one of the best in the business and always seems to figure things out eventually. However, there is only so much he can do to help overcome poor performance from his players.
The Rams are currently 2-3 on the season, but that record could easily be flipped, possibly even 4-1, had Stafford been able to answer the call late in the game. Performing in crunch time is key and the Rams have come up woefully short in large part because of Stafford’s underwhelming performance.
Stafford currently leads the league with seven interceptions on the season, but it is when he throws them that has been a killer. According to StatMuse, four of the seven have come in the fourth quarter of the game. He has yet to throw a touchdown in the fourth quarter either.
That is certainly a concerning statistic. If the Rams cannot count on Stafford to take care of the ball and lead drives late in the game, they are going to rack up losses at a rapid pace. Against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5, Stafford also lost a fumble on a sack on the Rams’ final drive of the game.
While Stafford is the focus as the quarterback and has turned the ball over six times in the fourth quarter alone, he isn’t the only player with costly turnovers. Kupp and running back Cam Akers have also lost fumbles in the fourth quarter of games, as the Rams’ offense overall is a mess.
McVay has his hands full trying to get that unit back on track as they are coming up smallest when they are needed the most. There is a lot of talent on that side of the ball but something isn’t clicking currently for them.
This is as good of a time to figure things out as they host the Carolina Panthers, who just fired head coach Matt Rhule, before heading into their bye week. The Rams have a chance to get right and head into the bye week on a high note before shifting their focus to the San Francisco 49ers.