The Rams fell to the division-rival Cardinals led by Colt McCoy. It was a battle of the backup quarterbacks at Sofi and McCoy’s experience trumped Wolford’s. Expectations were low for the offense, and they performed as expected, badly. This was supposed to be a get right game for the Rams even with Kyler Murray out, but even Sean McVay couldn’t scheme his way out of this one They’ll now face a Saints team next week that has had a pretty similar season. Let’s shine a light on what was good, bad and meh despite a loss.
Floyd had a pretty good game and seems to be picking up the pace recently. He was able to put pressure on the quarterback and took advantage of Aaron Donald plugging up the middle. He’s currently 8th on ESPN’s leaderboard of pass rush win rate with 23%, tied with guys like Nick Bosa and Rashan Gary. Floyd hasn’t really played up to his big contract a while ago and it brings up the topic again of pass rush aside from Donald. When Aaron Donald is being double and triple teamed in the middle, outside linebackers and edge rushers should have an easier time getting to the QB. These last few showings were decent, but as a season he’s been pretty mediocre. I could see Floyd taking the same path as Dante Fowler if he can’t take advantage.
The rookie running back made his much-awaited debut Sunday and was added to an already crowded running back room. Williams only got one carry that he took for 9 yards and got involved with the passing game catching 3 passes for 30 yards. He seemed to be doing pretty well in the offense and it’s unsure why he wasn’t involved more often. Some of his strengths coming out of the draft were quickness, pass protection and pass catching, all things the Rams could use on offense. A former NFL runningback coach even stated that “You look at how the Chargers use Austin Ekeler and I can see something similar like that for Kyren.”. It’ll be interesting to watch what the split between the runningbacks looks like going forward and how McVay utilizes him on third down.
After two good years in the preseason, it’s interesting to see that the coaching staff started Wolford. I think that you know what you’re getting with Wolford, an average pocket passer with limited upside. That definitely showed on Sunday and with the game in his hands, he couldn’t step up. I’m not sure why he was the choice or the fact that he’s been the definite QB2 ahead of Perkins. Arizona is bottom 10 in the league in both passing yards let up and passing touchdowns let up, so it’s not like the defense was great. In his limited time he hasn’t shown that he can throw the football well as many passes were off target. It’s very disappointing to see that neither of the Rams’ backups on the roster were capable of winning this game against the Cardinals. The Rams need to look for a different option at backup quarterback in the offseason, because as we’ve seen players like Cooper Rush, Tyler Huntley, and Taylor Heinicke are able to step in and keep their teams competitive.
The defense hasn’t been the main problem this year, but somehow couldn’t hold a backup quarterback. This was one of the worst defensive perofmances this year which says a lot going against a career backup. The defense on the stat sheet looks defense but when you watch them, the bend not break defense broke more often than bent. The biggest offender on defense was David Long, who gave up a lot of the Cardinals’ biggest plays. The Rams star defenders made an impact, but it wasn’t enough as the Cardinals decided to go after the more inexperienced players.
The run game as it’s been for many weeks now was terrible. Even with the addition of Williams no one was able to rush for more than 25 yards. The Rams have been the worst team running the ball in the league for a while now and have never had a 65 yard leading rusher in a game. That goes to show you the state of the running game and more importantly the offensive line. According to ESPN, the Rams ranked first in pass block win rate and now rank 23rd. It’s hard to run behind a solid foundation of linemen when they’re changing every single game.
The coaching staff overall this year has been pretty meh. There’s times that the Rams look like the reigning champs and more often times where they look like a bottom 10 team. McVay’s use of Bryce Perkins was questionable, as they think he’s good enough for a roster spot, but not good enough to play. He’s failed to adapt on offense when it matters and that will certainly be tested without his main source of production. Who knows, maybe the Rams will benefit from not having Kupp like the Chiefs and Tyreek Hill or maybe they’ll sink even lower. Either way, for a guy that’s meant to be an offensive minded head coach, his offense is what’s been making him lose games.