Did the LA Rams earn a moral victory in Buffalo?

(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams were back on the road once more to compete against the Buffalo Bills. Did the team earn a moral victory?

The LA Rams have just completed a grueling three-game stretch to open the 2020 NFL Season. September 2020 schedule did the LA Rams no favors. After opening against the Dallas Cowboys at home, the Rams were tasked with playing against the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, followed by playing against the Buffalo Bills on the road.  Many expected the Rams to lose three games.

The Rams certainly had no reason to be overconfident in this one. They were 2-0 but had earned wins against the very suspect NFC East.  If the Seattle Seahawks defeat the visiting Dallas Cowboys, that division may only have two wins in the entire division, and one came from Washington defeating the Philadelphia Eagles.

Are some losses better than others?

The turning point in the game was just after halftime. The Buffalo Bills put up their fourth touchdown of the game and the Rams offense had moved the ball but simply did not have any success scoring up to that point in time. The Rams began to drive the ball with huge gains on the ground, and huge games through the air. After the Rams scored a touchdown with a Jared Goff keeper, the team seemed to snap out of its funk.

The Rams proceeded to score 29 unanswered points to take a lead late in the game. In the end, the Rams missed the injured Jordan Fuller and could not overcome a suspect defensive pass interference call to seal the victory. In the end, the Rams allowed two touchdowns to Bills tight end Tyler Kroft, double his entire 2019 total with the team.  The second half opened with a Josh Allen four-yard scoring strike to Stefon Diggs and ended with the three-yard touchdown pass to Kroft. But does coming back from a 28-3 deficit mean anything?

Yes, this was a good loss

The LA Rams were not about to go undefeated this season. And in terms of playoff calculations, the loss in week three is probably the most harmless loss the Rams can experience. It was against an AFC opponent. The loss happened early enough this season to give the Rams a chance to recover.  And for all of the question marks, the Rams seemed to have positive answers to most of those questions.

The Rams will continue to fight the perception of a bad pass rush. The team has recorded seven sacks in three games, a notch behind their 50 sacks from 2019. But week four means rookie OLB Terrell Lewis will be eligible to return. And the Rams will host the NY Giants and then face Washington on the road once more. I believe that the Rams will climb to 4-1 before facing the San Francisco 49ers on the road.

Lessons learned

The Rams have a running game. For the third straight week, the LA Rams have put up solid yards on the ground. Today was 167 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground.  QB Jared Goff was pretty effective through the air as well, going 23 for 31 for 321 yards and two touchdowns.

The Rams defense needed the play of Jordan Fuller today. On several occasions, the LA Rams had the Buffalo Bills in a third down and long situation, and they allowed the Bills to convert.

Defense back to the drawing board?

The Rams defense proved to be less than we had hoped as the team entered week three.  However, the Rams offense proved to be more resilient than feared. Curiously, the Rams only inserted rookie WR Van Jefferson into the offense today on one pass play.  The Rams running backs accounted for four of Jared Goff’s nine incompletions today. Now at 2-1, the Rams have dropped out of the ranks of the undefeated teams and the top of the NFC West.

The season hinges on what happens next week. With a loss, all of the angst and vitriol will come roaring back to social media. This is a sold Rams team that got a good lesson in humility today. They have an offense that can score, and this team needs to work on the defense which still has a lot of good pieces.

Next. LA Rams halftime review: What is this team made of?. dark

Three games into the season. After a heartbreaking loss, it’s best to step back and take inventory of the team. The Rams have shown solid defense and offense this year. The team needs to improve on special teams and improve on turnovers. And after the first three games, this team is 2-1.  The Rams get a bye at week nine. With any luck and good play, they will enter the bye week with just this one loss.