The Rams got back on track with a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers. The Rams started off shaky but were able to close the game out right and finish strong. The defense had a solid performance against the Panthers in the second half to hold them to 0 points. The offense as a whole was balanced, with Stafford spreading the ball around well. Overall it was a good performance, but it was against a 1 win team. Going into the bye, the Rams need to focus on offensive efficiency, looking at what they did this game to improve for when they face the 49ers at home. Let’s get into what went well and what didn’t in the win.
Bobby Wagner is an underrated aspect of this defense and continued his good season this game. Him and Ernest Jones flew around the field on Sunday making tackles all over the field. Jones had a pivotal stop to keep the Panthers from advancing on 3rd down. Compared to last year’s linebacker room, this is a big improvement.
Allen Robinson had his best game as a Ram, contributing as the best receiver outside of Kupp. The receiver group as a whole looked great today, with much more balance in the passing game. Cooper Kupp was still the main target, but Stafford was able to find Robinson and Skowronek just as often. Aside from the interception, the passing game looks revitalized and the addition of Van Jefferson and possibly OBJ in the future would make it much better.
The Rams had over 100 rushing yards as a team for the first time this year and did so in an interesting way. Darrell Henderson led the bunch with 43, but most of the wide receivers got involved as well on jet sweeps. Watching how McVay schemed some runs to account for poor blocking was interesting. Henderson showed he is far superior to the other backs on the team, breaking tackles and proving that he can be the three-down guy if needed. For a team that ranked last in the NFL in rushing, this was a great performance from the team.
Bend Not Break
Over the past couple of weeks, the defense has been playing a lot of off-man coverage resulting in a lot of chunk plays. This game was no different, allowing many receptions to Christian McCaffrey with an average of 12.7 ypc. They’ve done a terrible job covering the quick routes with players like CMC and Deebo have gashed the defense. This is most likely due to the inexperience and skill of the secondary, as it’s much easier to play off coverage than to go one-on-one and get burnt for an even bigger play. The pass rush being ineffective has something to do with this as well, the more pressure they can get the less the secondary has to worry.
On paper, the offensive line did great with only 1 sack allowed. However, they weren’t the greatest, allowing pressure and 3 QB hits. One of the biggest things for the line going into the bye week is consistency. They mentioned on the broadcast that the Rams have yet to start a game with the same set of linemen. Even in this game, they lost Joe Noteboom to injury, believed to be an Achilles injury, but it’s never good when the cart comes out. Oday Aboushi stepped in and looked solid, possibly earning him a spot in the future. The focus during the bye should be getting healthy and focusing on more reps along the line.
The pass rush has been in an interesting spot for the first couple of weeks. The Rams as a whole rank 31st in pressure percentage and tied for 19th in sacks with 10th. Raheem Morris has done a great job getting guys involved that you wouldn’t normally expect like Jalen Ramsey with back-to-back sacks. Leonard Floyd hasn’t really played up to his contract, failing to record a sack so far. The problem has presented itself once again where there’s no one that can consistently rush the passer aside from Aaron Donald. Guys like Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis need to step up on the outside to make up for the loss of Von Miller.
Overall this was a solid win as well as the most put-together I’ve seen this team in the second half. Moving ahead to the bye, the team needs to get healthy as well as solidify a starting line for the rest of the season. This was the most consistent offensive performance as well as the most balanced, even if it was against a bad team. Hopefully, we’ll see the return of Van Jefferson soon and McVay will come hot out of the gates against the 49ers at home.