The Los Angeles Rams came into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals considered the best team in the NFL. The Rams had just beaten the defending Super Bowl champions by double-digits. On Sunday, the Rams left humbled. Outside of a garbage time touchdown, the Rams made a 37-13 loss, 37-20.
After the opening quarter and leading 10-7, nothing seemed to go right for the Rams. The Cardinals look their opening drive of the quarter and scored a touchdown to take a 14-10 lead. Sony Michel fumbled which resulted in another Cardinals touchdown. Just like that, the Rams went from leading by three to trailing by 11.
It didn’t get better.
The Cardinals scored a third quarter touchdown to go up 34-13 after McVay settled for a missed field goal at the other end. The Rams underestimated the Cardinals and it cost them.
In 2010, the New York Jets looked like one of the best teams in the NFL. However, at 9-2 and facing a 9-2 Patriots team, they got demolished 42-3. What do you do after a loss like that? That’s not the type of loss where you say, “if we would have done this better we would have had a chance.”
Head coach Rex Ryan gathered his players around a hole in the ground, just off a grass practice field, and placed a football into the hole. “We’re burying this game and all that happened Monday night,” said Ryan. With that, the Jets buried the memory of the lopsided loss.
Rex Ryan joined Pardon My Take last week and recounted the story:
“It was a horrible game plan which we thought was going to be a great game plan. So, I had all my team come in, and I’m like, meet me on the practice field. I had already dug a hole and I had the game ball and I’m like, “This is the game ball from this. I’m going to bury this mother-. I want every one of you to go home and in six weeks, we’re going to come back and play that team and kick their ass.”
“What were we going to do, watch the tape, I mean, after that ass whooping?”
Sunday was the type of loss that can shake a team’s confidence. It was the worst loss by a McVay-led Rams team since losing 45-6 to the Baltimore Ravens in 2019. It was the worst division loss in a game in which the Rams played all of their starters.
The Los Angeles Rams need to bury the football.
“You know, things aren’t going to go perfectly,” said Sean McVay. “Our guys are wired the right way. And those opportunities to be able to show your mental toughness, the resilience that I know exists in that locker room. And we’re going to get ourselves up, ready to roll, and be ready to compete on Thursday.”
The Rams will need to move on from Sunday and they’ll need to do it quickly. They don’t have a week to dwell on their poor performance.
Asked if he will put this one to bed tonight, Stafford responded, “Oh, yeah.”
It will require a quick turnaround as the Rams head to Seattle and will play the Seahawks on Thursday. Short weeks are tough, but it’s probably a good thing after a loss like Sunday’s.
It’s time to bury the football and we’re on to Seattle.
Los Angeles Rams Three Word Game Review: Not the Standard
The Los Angeles Rams clearly underestimated the Arizona Cardinals. It’s hard to say if the Rams bought into the headlines and the power rankings. After defeating the Cardinals in Week 17 last season with John Wolford, it’s possible that the Rams thought this would be the “same old Cardinals.”
Sunday was not the standard that this team has set. You don’t win or lose the Super Bowl in Week 4. However, a loss like that can either be humbling or shake your confidence. The Rams need to bounce back this week and show that they aren’t going to turn one loss into two.
The Turning Point
There are two main points in the game where it completely flipped in favor of the Cardinals. Leading 3-0, the Los Angeles Rams defense had forced the Cardinals offense to a quick three-and-out. With the ball at midfield, the Stafford tried to force a deep shot to DeSean Jackson that was intercepted. With a chance to take a 10-0 lead and put stress on Kliff Klingsbury, the Rams gave the ball right back. It was essentially a punt, however, it gave the Cardinals defense momentum.
However, where the game really changed was in the second quarter. With the Rams trailing 14-10, the offense needed to respond to the Cardinals touchdown drive. On the first play, Sony Michel fumbled and the Cardinals recovered. Five plays laster, Arizona was in the end zone on a third consecutive drive. Just like that the Rams went from being down four to being down 11.
3 Overreactions from the Loss
1. Matthew Stafford is Who We Thought He Was
There are some who were down on Matthew Stafford before he came to the Los Angeles Rams. He was someone who could never win the big game and the narrative that he had bad teams in Detroit was overblown. However, Stafford proved last week that he could win the big game.
It’s hard to fathom how you watch yesterday’s game in which the defense allowed touchdowns at will and blame Matthew Stafford. Stafford didn’t have his best game, but he had a passer-rating of 89.5. In games in which Goff had a 89.5 passer rating or better under Sean McVay, the Rams were 32-3. In games in which Goff had a 50.2 QBR or better, the Rams were 31-6.
2. The Los Angeles Rams Defense Is Bad and Raheem Morris is in Over His Head.
Raheem Morris hasn't had a defense rank in the top-10 in points allowed since 2010 and has never had a defense rank better than 17th in yards allowed.
Might be a good time to remind you of that.
— Sosa Kremenjas (@QBsMVP) October 3, 2021
This isn’t to call out Sosa or anything. It’s just a very misleading stat. Raheem Morris has spent exactly one year as a defensive coordinator in his career in the NFL. In that one year, the Falcons defense ranked 14th on DVOA despite finishing 4-12.
We currently have a four-game sample of the Los Angeles Rams defense. In games 1-3, they allowed 20 points just once and that came in garbage time against the Buccaneers. We’ll learn more about this season as we get more of a sample. However, as it stands, Sunday seems to be the anomaly.
3. The Cardinals Will Win The NFC West
It’s Week 4. The season isn’t won or lost in Week 4.
Coming up, the Cardinals have the Packers, Browns, and 49ers in three of the next four weeks. Not to mention, the Rams will get another crack at the Cardinals later in the season. Arizona looked good, but they also started 5-2 last season before missing the playoffs.
This Cardinals team looks different, but how do they handle success?
Looking Ahead to Next Week: Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
As mentioned, the Los Angeles Rams will have a quick turnaround on Thursday when they travel to Seattle to play a division opponent. The Rams can’t afford to lose two division games in a row. How the Rams respond to Sunday’s loss will say a lot about them. Can they move on and not turn one loss into two?
The Seahawks were staring 1-3 in the face, but got a win against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. However, that was after back-to-back losses to the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings. This will be Shane Waldron going up against his mentor. Seattle’s secondary is one of the worst in the league. If the defense can play better, the Rams should be able to get a win on the road.