The Rams sucked out loud on Thursday night. Of course, you can do that by pointing out that Buffalo is a Super Bowl favorite, that the opener is one of Los Angeles’ biggest tests of the season, and saying it’s too early — all of which is true. But what you can’t do is pretend the Rams have done anything convincing to show that they can still be with the NFL’s elite. This is a team with serious systemic issues that they must fix as soon as possible.
It’s not all the offense’s fault, but it’s actually most of the problem with the Rams. Incredibly, Los Angeles had eight months to know that their offensive line was poor and didn’t do enough in that regard. The retiring of left tackle Andrew Whitworth has a far bigger impact than one might think, causing confusion when paired with rookie Logan Bruce, who tore his ACL in training camp. Instead of finding the answer, Los Angeles looked unprepared.
Matthew Stafford was under pressure for most of the night and he could never settle in his pockets. On offense, the Rams tried to mitigate the situation by getting him out of the gun, but the O-line wasn’t enough to protect one-on-one. Still, that shouldn’t make Stafford so miserable. Based on his reported elbow injury that has plagued him for much of the spring and summer, it’s too early to tell, but it’s not just Thursday night’s arm problem — it’s more serious.
Offensive line issues caused Stafford to gain tunnel vision due to pressure. With the exception of Cooper Cooper and Tyler Higby, Stafford practically ignored everyone on offense, targeting the pair 26 times in total, or 63 percent of his passes. Kupp is in production, so we can justify that – but Higbee is trying to make an impact all night and isn’t guaranteed to get as many chances as Stafford is trying to give him. The tight end had five catches for 39 yards on a staggering 11 targets.
Meanwhile, the Rams’ other four receivers combined for 10 targets. Stafford may have forgotten Alan Robinson’s presence as he has only targeted him twice in the game. By comparison, Josh Allen took aim at his favorite catcher Stephen Diggs nine times and passed the ball to other catchers for a total of 14. In short: Despite making 10 fewer passes than Stafford, Allen passes more and targets his deep players more often. It’s a balanced offense, and the lack of balance dooms the Rams.
The issue of balance is paramount and leads us to another key issue: running back. LA decides to have their top player Sonymi return starting in 2021 Sony Michel entered free agency, signing a paltry one-year, $2.1 million deal with the Dolphins. Los Angeles traded easily to possibly over or at least match, but the team decided to rely on the committee to run back — and the committee was rubbish. Darrell Henderson, who was promoted to the starter this offseason, doesn’t appear to be capable enough to carry the load of every guard, and the team is severely lacking at the two. When the Rams were forced to change their lineup, it really raised the focus of the offense and tried to win Stafford’s time with game action, but the problem was that Buffalo had no reason to believe they actually ran— — So the fakes haven’t fooled anyone.
That means, if you’re following along at home, here are the key differences on offense between the 2021 Rams and the 2022 Rams:
- Their running back is worse
The focus now is on offense, as it’s harder to read lly assess Thursday night’s defense. For the most part, it feels like a Ram D…good. Nothing incredible, but also far from scary. For most teams in the league, the receiving duo of Stephen Diggs and Gabriel Davis will be hard to cover, let alone where your quarterback throws 3 interceptions. on the short field.
There are some very real concerns about the Rams’ passing speed. Losing Von Miller in free agency is significant because, for now, the pressure on the Lions has to come from Aaron Donald alone, and the team has yet to find another reliable counterpoint to attack the pocket and relieve Donald The pressure is all on your own.
I don’t blame Rams fans for wanting to see a silver lining here and trying to find a reason it all works There’s clearly still time to reverse — but some of these problems are deep-seated systemic problems that won’t be rectified anytime soon. LA doesn’t need to hit the panic button, but it does need to lift the lid and have their hands hover over it.
We look forward to seeing a Rams team ready to fight back and compete for the Super Bowl. After Thursday night, it didn’t look like they were even ready to compete in the NFC West.
- Their offensive line is much worse
Team spends most of free agency money on receiver (Alan Robinson) that Matthew Stafford refuses to target