LA Rams Coach Sean McVay’s play-calling dropped the ball. QB Jared Goff dropped two more as the Rams fall further in the NFC West
The LA Rams thought that they had their offense and defense back on track. It certainly appeared that way after the Rams outplayed the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. At 5-2, the LA Rams had just one more game standing in their way of a 6-2 midpoint. The Miami Dolphins, who had given the San Francisco 49ers such difficulty, were the last stop for the Rams.
The Dolphins inserted rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa into this game, declaring that they were ready to go on a playoff run. The mere fact of “Tua” in his first NFL game sent Dolphins fans into a feeding frenzy. Social media swelled with ever more outlandish claims for the NFL rookie in his first start, particularly against a stout Rams defense.
He finished the game with 12 of 22 passes completed for 93 yards and one touchdown, plus one sack while losing three yards. He also rushed twice for no yards.
Travel, heat, short week, etc.
The outcome for this one was written amongst the subplots. The Rams traveled to the East Coast once more. The team had to endure on-field temperatures that were about 60 degrees hotter on the visitor’s side than the home team side. And the Rams had a short week, coming off Monday Night Football. But perhaps the story of the game cannot be found in the statistics. After all, the LA Rams put up 456 yards of offense to the Miami Dolphins 145 yards of offense. The Rams moved the chains 30 times, while the Dolphins did so just eight times. The Rams defense even created the first turnover, a strip-sack that led to their first touchdown.
However, the story of this game was the intense pressure applied on Rams quarterback Jared Goff and the fact that the Rams continued to call the plays that would put Goff in harm’s way again and again. Running plays did very well, but the damn broke wide open as the LA Rams were up 7-0 and were driving for a second score. Instead, quarterback pressure and an opportunistic defense picked off Goff in Rams territory, leading to their only passing touchdown.
Jared Goff should get the Miami Dolphins game ball
A few plays later, the Rams recovered a fumble deep in Miami territory. After an unsuccessful running play, the Rams showed an empty backfield. The Dolphins countered with an all-out blitz and stripped Goff of the football. The defense picked up the ball and scored. That was all she wrote. The Dolphins never looked back.
When the smoke cleared, it was Jared Goff’s two interceptions and two fumbles that were the difference-makers in the game. The Rams continue to ignore the difficulties they will face with poor ball security, and the first loss of the season due to turnovers is now on the books. It was the worst game of the season, and the Rams now have the taste of this horrific loss in their mouth for the next two weeks.
Did the Rams lose another winnable game?
Of course, the Miami Dolphins defense played inspired football. But the Dolphins never truly stopped the Rams running game, the Rams simply stopped running it. And in a fashion very similar to the earlier loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Rams continued to pass far too frequently despite visible signs that the defense was keying on the Rams passing game.
By the end of the game, the Rams had passed the ball 61 times and rushed the ball just 29 times. While RB Darrell Henderson did leave the game with a bruised thigh, the Rams average carry generated nearly five yards. In stark contrast, the Rams passing plays only generated 5.8 yards per pass. It’s not the defense that needs help, but rather the offense. Can the Rams regroup in time for the second half of the season? Perhaps that’s the greatest disappointment after this game.
The LA Rams have more questions than answers now.