The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Chicago Bears, 34-14, on Sunday Night Football to kick off the 2021 season. As is the case with most things, there have been several overreactions from games around the league. Josh Allen is back to the old Josh Allen and the Green Bay Packers should have traded Aaron Rodgers in the offseason when they could.
The thing with the NFL season is that what we see in Week 1 likely is not the case by the time Week 17, now Week 18, comes around. Here are six overreactions for the Los Angeles Rams.
1. Matthew Stafford is in for a MVP season
Listen, Matthew Stafford could be in for an MVP season. That is certainly possibly and not outside the realm of possibilities. I’m not saying that won’t happen. However, let’s tamper expectations here. Not every team is the Chicago Bears. The Rams receivers and offense as a whole will be tested against better teams.
The Bears secondary was young and inexperienced and the defensive coordinator was calling his first game. McVay put that secondary on skates for most of the evening. Stafford isn’t going to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns every week. Stafford will have a lot of narratives in his favor when it comes to the MVP conversation, but the MVP is won over 17 weeks.
2. The Defense Isn’t Good Under Raheem Morris
I remember hearing these same things about Brandon Staley and the Los Angeles Rams defense this time last year. Staley’s defense would give up a lot of points in the first half and then completely shut teams down in the second half early on in the year. As the season went on, that lasted for four quarters.
The Rams defense gave up chunks to the the Bears offense. However, a lot of that was due to the flow of the game. The Rams were up 13 points early in the second half. The Bears followed that up with a 10-minute drive. It might be death by 1000 paper cuts. However, up by 13 points, you gladly take the other team killing the clock. At the end of the day, the Rams held the Bears to 14 points and not a single receiver eclipsed 100 yards.
3. Van Jefferson Has Taken the Next Step
Van Jefferson might have taken the next step in his career. That’s entirely possible. The second year player looked good on Sunday Night as he recorded his career high in yards. But again, it’s one week against a secondary that wasn’t very good coming in.
The Rams signed DeSean Jackson for a reason and he will get his opportunities. It also wouldnt be surprising to see TuTu Atwell in the mix at some point in the season as well. Most of Jefferson’s yardage came on the third offensive play of the game. We’ll see if he can keep it up through 17 Weeks.
4. The Rams are the Best Team in the NFC
As is the case with Stafford being in for an MVP season, the Rams very well might be the best team in the NFC. However, nothing really changed on Sunday. The Rams beat the Bears. The Rams were expected to beat the Bears.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked good and will still be considered the favorites. The Seahawks looked good in their new offense ran by Shane Waldron. The 49ers looked good until a late comeback attempt by the Detroit Lions. The Arizona Cardinals defensive line might be the best in the NFL.
That doesn’t mention the Saints who decimated the Green Bay Packers or the Green Bay Packers who will inevitably bounce back. Come back to me with this in Week 5 after three straight weeks of the Buccaneers, Cardinals, and Seahawks. At that point we’ll have a better understanding of where the Rams are in the NFC.
5. The Rams Don’t Have a Run Game
Through three quarters, the Los Angeles Rams run game was near non-existent. The offensive line simply was not opening up holes for Darrell Henderson. Then, the fourth quarter hit and Henderson had nine carries for 58 yards. It’s hard to say what the difference was, but the Rams found their run game when it mattered.
The Chicago Bears were the fourth best defense against the run last season and that defensive line is no joke. Akiem Hicks is seriously underrated and Khalil Mack is underrated as a run defender. The Colts will be stout against the run as will the Buccaneers. As long as the Rams can run the football when they need to, they’ll be fine.
6. The Rams were Wrong to Draft TuTu Atwell
I was very critical of the TuTu Atwell pick when it happened. I’m still not a huge fan of it. Creed Humphrey tied for the best pass block win rate among centers in Week 1. With the need at center this offseason, that is a tough pill to swallow. Add in the fact that Cooper Kupp was back returning punts against the Bears.
However, for this to be a take after one week is simply not fair to the rookie wide receiver. He started the offseason behind after missing time with COVID. It’s only a matter of time before he sees the field. We saw what he did in the preseason. It might take time, but he’ll get his shot on offense and special teams.