The LA Rams latest loss was not just their third loss, but rather was one more game proving that the Rams are not as good as we believed them to be
The LA Rams will lose games through the course of a season. All teams do. The plateau that the LA Rams find themselves among in the NFL is that of the three-loss teams right now. That places the Rams in the neighborhood of the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, and Las Vegas Raiders. Among this group are teams that will rise to the NFL Playoffs, and teams that will fall to the NFL limbo of 7 wins.
But the loss was not just a game, nor a spot in the standings. The LA Rams lost confidence in what they’ve accomplished this season. In one horrifying first half, the Rams faced a defense that did simple zero blitzes. Those are blitzes where the defense dictates to the offense what plays can work because the defense blitzes one more pass rusher than the offense has blockers. For a nice article on the topic, here is a Pro Football outsiders article that discusses the topic at length.
Zero-blitz = zero chance at a Super Bowl victory
The more-than-they-can-block blitz package is not something that is new to the NFL. It’s the defense that had Jets quarterback Sam Darnold ‘seeing ghosts’ in 2019. While Rams quarterback Jared Goff may or not have been seeing spirits, he was not seeing any open receivers. The Dolphins’ ability to confuse and blow up the Rams offense in one-quarter of football was not a wake-up call for the Rams offense, the quarterback, the offensive coordinator, nor for the head coach.
It was a failing grade. It was the “You shall not pass” statement to the LA Rams after a week of distractions about bringing home a third championship trophy to Los Angeles. Not only did this game reveal the answer to that request to be a definitive no, but it left little doubt in the viewer’s mind as to whether the LA Rams deserve to compete for the NFL’s best honor.
We’ve talked about turnovers. We talked about the fact that a team that casually protects the football will eventually lose games. If there is any statistic that is definitely an indication of success in the NFL, it’s the net turnover statistic. Right now, the LA Rams have turned the ball over two times more than they have taken the ball from their opponent.
Quarterback Jared Goff is the cause this year. With six interceptions and four fumbles, he is on track to cough up the ball 20 times this season. While that is on par for his career, it’s one of the reasons he is not considered among NFL elite quarterbacks. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has just one season with such loose ball security. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has only one season at that level of ball insecurity.
Rams need more from the quarterback position
The LA Rams were the better team in at least one loss this season. In some ways, they were the better team in all three losses. In other games, the Rams had shot themselves in the foot. But in this one, the Rams riddled themselves with four bullet holes. Ten turnovers, one in a key game where the Rams outplayed the opposition in every statistic except the final score and turnovers.
I’m not sure if the Rams are falling short of expectations or not. But the team is most certainly falling fall short of their potential. This was the year where the team and players were convinced that Jared Goff would play at a higher level. Well, yesterday was system quarterback Jared Goff. Whether or not Goff has the ability to audible out of plays sent onto the field, he needed to. This was a game that could have redefined the LA Rams offense and Jared Goff. Instead, the game merely fueled the perception that Goff is tied to his head coach and cannot overcome zero blitz packages on his own.
Will the real Jared Goff, please stand up?