Rams vs Cowboys |Week 5| Good, Bad, Meh

Rams offense struggles with efficiency

by Nikko Buenavidez
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In yet another disappointing loss, the Rams fell to the Cowboys and Cooper Rush 22-10. The Rams’ offense wasn’t very efficient in the red zone scoring only twice. However, the team’s Achilles heel this game was the offensive line, as they gave up pressure all game including the blocked punt. The Rams’ offensive line problems are not looking good and David Edwards exiting the game doesn’t make them much better. They face the Panthers at home next week in what should be a bounce-back week for the team. Let’s break down some areas of improvement and bright spots from the loss.


Front Seven

Despite the defense not doing well as a group, the front seven did a great job containing the Cowboys’ offense. The defense filled out almost every pressure stat including 3 sacks, 3 tfls, and 6 QB hits. Bobby Wagner has been a dominant force for the defense in the middle and does a great job showing off his versatility when blitzed. Aaron Donald was his usual self with two sacks as he absolutely dominated Tyler Smith. The front seven is definitely a strength of this defense right now and it helps the secondary which has struggled at times.

Big Plays

The Rams had lost the ability to make big plays, mostly due to the fact that the offensive line can’t hold up for too long. In this game, however, there were two of the biggest plays this season. Kupp had a 75-yard touchdown and Tutu Atwell finally showed up with a 54-yard grab. Most of Kupp’s yardage came after the catch, as Cooper Kupp isn’t going to be the one to burn you over the top. Tutu on the other hand broke off for a big gain and Stafford dropped it in the bucket pretty well. I think better play from the offensive line will eventually lead to bigger plays but this was a good start. Getting Tutu involved more often to get him reps could also increase the big plays.


Offensive Line

Something needs to be done up front. Whether that’s eating breakfast with Matthew Stafford or getting different guys in the rotation, the offensive line can’t stay the way it is. There are a couple of guys on the roster and practice squad that could step in and contribute more like Matt Skura or Oday Aboushi with more experience. One of the biggest things I noticed was how outside pass rushers are able to take advantage of Joe Noteboom. Noteboom was signed as the successor to Andrew Whitworth, but so far this year he hasn’t impressed at all. He currently ranks second to last in PFF tackle rankings compared to Havenstein at 10. The offensive scheme needs to change similarly to how it did in 2019 to accommodate the loss of Whitworth and Corbett.


For some reason, the defense at times cannot tackle defenders. It usually persists through the first couple of games most likely due to limited preseason snaps. This usually leads to huge plays from the opposition that could have been stopped for a short-yardage gain. What could be simple stops turn into huge chunk teams for other teams, usually resulting in Jalen Ramsey being used for run support. Part of this could be the fact that the defense is inexperienced in places and just needs to get more reps as a unit, but either way this is something they need to fix.

Cam Akers

At this point, I’m not sure why Sean McVay has a weird love for Cam Akers. It could be that they spent such a high pick on him back in 2020, but he hasn’t looked anywhere near as good. Somehow, Henderson out-snapped him, but didn’t receive any carries. With a measly 2.5 yards a carry, Akers rarely gains more than 5 yards on a rush. Henderson is the better back, but can’t carry a full workload, hence the Akers split. I’d like to see McVay promote Henderson to starter with a 70-30% snap share.


Special Teams

This year’s special teams unit is an interesting one. Last year, the special teams were at times the worst group of the team, but towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year, it has improved. Brandon Powell has done a good job returning kicks and punts, and I’ve yet to see a terrible rep from him this year. Riley Dixon has been underwhelming, to say the least, and at this point seems only like a cheaper Johnny Hekker. Whoever is blocking for the punting team definitely needs to be re-evaluated as two blocked punts is terrible.

Matthew Stafford

Stafford played an ok game, with his pick coming at the end when it was already decided. Stafford played like a quarterback you can win with, not a quarterback you win because of. Rams fans shouldn’t be surprised about the performance of the offense, as it’s pretty similar to last year, the only difference being Stafford hasn’t bailed the team out in the fourth quarter. His accuracy seems a bit off, which was mostly due to defenders being in the face, but was able to hit guys in the flats well. Carolina has a solid defense which has a good front seven, so Stafford might have problems with their front.

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