The Los Angeles Rams didnt come out with the best of debuts Monday Night against the San Francisco 49ers. A 28-0 loss wasn’t necessarily the way many fans anticipated the season opener to go. Before the game we gave our keys to victory for the game, now it’s time to revisit those.
1. Stop Carlos Hyde
The Rams needed to stop Carlos Hyde on Monday Night and simply put, they failed to do so. Hyde scored two touchdowns and had 23 carries for 88 yards. While that is only an average of 3.8 yards per carry, a lot of that happened after the first half when the 49ers had basically put the game away.
The front seven got man handled by the 49ers offensive line which opened up giant holes for Hyde early on. Not only that, the Rams just couldnt wrap up and tackle the 49ers running back. If Jeff Fisher wants to salvage this season, they must get better with their run defense.
2. Get to Blaine Gabbert
Not only did the Rams fail to get to Gabbert once the entire game, they gave Steve Young the idea to call the 49ers quarterback a top five athlete at the position. ESPN’s QBR gave Gabbert the second highest rating in week one after he threw for 170 yards, a touchdown, and rushed for 43 yards on nine carries.
If the Rams want to succeed this season, the front four can’t start slow. The back end of the defense relies on them too much. Hopefully Donald getting ejected lights a fire in them for next week.
3. Get Tavon Austin and Todd Gurley Involved
The Rams tried to do this early on but it came to no avail. The 49ers defense was prepared and as the game went on the play calling of Rob Boras became predictable. Austin had just four receptions for 13 yards and one rushing attempt for two yards. Gurley on the other hand could not find a hole in the offensive line and had 17 carries for just 47 yards. Getting down by 14 points early didnt help Gurley’s case either.
4. Be Better On Third Down
This one is simple…the Rams weren’t. What became a constant theme last year stayed a theme in week one of 2016. The offense went 3/15 on third down which is simply inexcusable. They need to do better on first and second down, but that still doesnt give them any reason to be as bad as they have been. If the Rams dont want to end up the worst offense in the NFL once again, they absolutely must get better on third down.
5. Get Ahead Early
As I said in my keys to victory, getting down 14-0 was an absolute worst case scenario for the Rams and that’s exactly what happened. Two touchdowns in the first quarter basically took Todd Gurley out of the game and it spiraled down from there.
The Rams dont have the offensive weapons to play catchup and Case Keenum throwing 35 passes can’t happen every week. Keenum throwing the ball more than 20 times is asking for disaster and disaster is what we got.