All the Los Angeles Rams Monday night had to win against the fighting San Francisco 49ers. Instead, they absolutely shit the bed 31-10 prime time loss on the road, missed a chance to gain ground on the division-leading Arizona Cardinals, who lost to the Panthers on Sunday. With the second consecutive defeat in front of a national crowd, the question arises whether the team should still be considered a Super Bowl contender.
Don’t confuse this with overreacting. This team obviously has the talent to be very special. It is clear, however, that the Rams could continue to trip over their own feet before their potential is reached. Think how disappointing it would be if Los Angeles didn’t get close to hosting the big game at their home stadium in February, especially given the all-in mentality the Front Office has shown in its recent moves.
Sean McVay’s Dreams quarterback in Matthew Stafford laid a dinosaur egg in the team’s biggest games this year. An example of this was the Rams’ first loss to the Cardinals, the first of Stafford’s three games that season in which he ended with a passer rating below 90. Against Arizona Staff went 26 of 41 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and ended with an 89.5 pass rating. Half of his eight interceptions came in the last two games. This was his statline against the Titans or 49ers:
Professional soccer reference
Note that on both losses, Stafford was kept on average below five yards per attempt. While Matthew has been playing badly in the past few weeks, I’m not going to sit here and put all the blame on him, especially with all of the many dropped passports his passport catchers had in San Fran:
Most of these passports appeared to be catchable by recipients. As I mentioned earlier, soccer is clearly a team sport and a quarterback can only do a limited amount. While this is a true statement, Stafford does not realize that either. In Stafford’s first interception of his favorite receiver of the night, 49ers Safety Jimmie Ward, he made a terrible decision when he apparently passed the ball to the newly acquired Odell Beckham Jr.
Stafford was clearly trying to force something that Beckham didn’t do with me, with my romantic ventures. Chemistry cannot be created instantly; it has to be given time to grow and eventually flourish. It seemed like Beckham got too much work in his first game and that’s unfair for any new player. What’s also unfair is Beckham stopping on the route and allowing Ward the easy choice, as Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning notes:
After the game, another Hall of Fame quarterback at Troy Aikman mentioned this Stafford might feel the pressure to bring Beckham on board immediately in the schedule. These are some of the comments he had to say on the subject:
Aikman seems to be making a fair point in forcing the ball to OBJ would put a lot of pressure on a player like Stafford because he has to stay happy with it. I totally disagree that the takeover would “shake the foundations of the team.” Odell has only been on the team for about a week so it’s far too early to question the move.
Last night’s game was horrible and almost made my eyeballs bleed from what I just saw, but I still love the moves the team made. Stafford was clearly an upgrade in signal caller over Jared Goff. That much has been proven. Odell will also have to grow into the role assigned to him. The chemistry with his quarterback will come soon enough as long as McVay plans the game carefully for him. I think it’s better if chemistry is late than not at all. At the moment the Rams are in waiting mode.
Then comes the question of defense, which has taken a huge step back after last season top ranking in total yards. The unit was expected to take a step back, but that much hasn’t been seen by the fan base. The Rams were knocked down with this overtaking attack last night:
Only three of Garoppolo’s 15 completions were over 10 yards. THREE. Two out of three went for touchdowns. Two out of three aren’t bad at all for these niners (thanks Meat Loaf). The 49ers were the first team to do this in three years:
The 49ers are the first team to open a game with two 90-yard TD drives since the Colts in 2018 (Week 17 vs Titans).
The 49ers are up to five TD drives from over 90 yards and overtake the Rams as most in the league. pic.twitter.com/BoRchRw4wz
– ESPN stats and info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 16, 2021
San Francisco had a great schedule throughout, allowing them to reach 156 yards with a ridiculous 44 carries against a unit that had allowed only 97.6 yards per game. Shanahan wasn’t afraid to attack Von Miller’s other new acquisition, who fought the run and became a pancake compliment from George Kittle:
Miller made his Rams debut similar to OBJ, so it clearly won’t be the smoothest transition. On the defensive, there’s clearly a lot to be figured out in what will be Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris’s job to be deciphered as LA moves into much-needed goodbye week.
Not to apologize for Rams D’s appearances, but Raheem Morris is essentially being forced to make a complete makeover, putting Ernest Jones and Von Miller in place, replacing Sebastian Joseph Day, and bringing Darius Williams back on the field.
Bye Week helps reset.
– ‘Mysterious’ Rams fan (@TheNathanTK) November 16, 2021
Sean McVay has expressed his frustration with the results of the past two weeks and has been very blunt in what he had to say:
“I choose to believe that these last few weeks are not what we are.” McVay said via ESPN. “I refuse to believe that, even though you are only as good as your last game.”
Los Angeles fans are about to find out who exactly this team is. With games against the NFC-leading Packers, a rematch with the Cardinals, and a trip to Baltimore after Goodbye Week, we all have an idea of the make-up of the Rams. They deserve every exam they can get until they are found to be able to handle alphas.
Green Bay would be the perfect place to reassert your place in the NFL’s elite.