Reviewing Loss Angeles Rams’ Week 1 Loss to San Francisco 49ers

Sep 12, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) reacts during the second half of an NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi
Sep 12, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) reacts during the second half of an NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi /

The Los Angeles Rams fell in their Monday Night opener to the San Francisco 49ers, and it was vastly underwhelming.

Remember those times your parents would say, “We’re not mad, we’re disappointed” whenver you would get in trouble? That’s exactly how I felt last night, simply because it didn’t seem the Rams would regress, and had made some semblance of improvement towards the end of last season.

Unfortunately, that was not the case.

It’s fair to say that Case Keenum underperformed on Monday, which, if all reports are accurate, says a lot more about Jared Goff. Granted, Goff’s position on the depth chart is likely more of a reflection of the learning curve, but it’s extremely difficult to believe Goff can’t best a 48 percent completion percentage with 130 yards and two interceptions against an inept defense.

Uniform Offensive Philosophy 

Rob Boras‘ questionable game plan featured seven passes and only one run on the Rams’ opening drive. He continued his sue of split-zone with Tavon Austin in “Ghost” motion behind, but there was many occurrences where he elected not to split the receivers and in turn, putting more defenders closer to the line and the hashes.

There were more uses of stack-release concepts and simplified reads for Keenum (such as his first completion to Kenny Britt), while the zone-read was incorporated on second-and-1 on the first drive, a great look against a six man box the Niners displayed. Keenum isn’t Alex Smith, but he possesses the requisite athleticism to succeed there while that holding that unblocked defender creates massive areas for Todd Gurley to thrive.

More from Rams News

The Offensive Line Still Needs Improvement 

The question marks were up front were a focal point this offseason as an area that possibly needed an overhaul. I personally advocated keeping the unit in tact due to their youth that plays a factor in their continuity and natural progression, but if they don’t accomplish either this season that overhaul could happen sooner rather than later.

Twists-like this one-and interior blitzes fractured their protection plans while their inability to hold blocks, and reach landmarks served as a catalyst for Gurley’s 2.8 yards per carry. An offensive production like such is also not ideal.

We’re well aware of the success the Rams’ defense has had in recent years, but they performed unusually uncharacteristically against the Niners. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams stuck to his guns by disguising coverages and rotating his fronts, but it’s clear that Rodney McLeod‘s departure as a quality deep-defender is going to effect their success with those disguises.

As for the front, they struggled to get pressure up the middle for the majority of the night, opening lanes for Blaine Gabbert to pull the ball down and extend plays; he finished the night with 43 rushing yards on nine carries and wasn’t sacked once.

First and foremost, the 49ers and Chip Kelly deserve loads of credit. He is a winner who out-coached Jiff Fisher (two penalties versus 10) and got his players to out-play the Rams with one of the NFL’s least talented rosters. Los Angeles is off to a terrible start that was capped by Aaron Donald’s ejection, and they better do show some sort of improvement soon to keep fans interested this season.