The LA Rams box stats for RB Cam Akers omitted called back plays. Let’s see what that game may have looked like just by re-adding those runs into the game
The LA Rams lost in an upset to the previously winless New York Jets. That’s the headliner that you likely had read after that fateful gameday Sunday, and likely throughout the day on the morning-after Monday as well. But in the game-within-a-game, the Rams missed what was a golden opportunity to shine at the running back position.
This is simply an exercise of what ‘should have been’ if the Rams had not committed three devastatingly horrific penalties to negate significant runs by rookie running back Cam Akers. Yes, the very same Cam Akers who was running on a taped-up ankle that later proved to be a rather significant high-ankle sprain.
What did the Rams miss out on with three plays that were called back? Well, the Rams had a 10-yard burst off left tackle, Joseph Noteboom, by Akers for 10 yards nullified in the first quarter. Eventually, the Rams would punt the ball. But later in the game, penalties played a far more sinister role in the outcome of the game.
These were Cam Akers’ fourth-quarter rushing plays before the 3rd-and-4:
18 yards (called back)
22 yards (called back)
— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) December 21, 2020
In three penalties, three running plays resulting in 50 yards and a touchdown were nullified. In an upset loss decided by three-points, the Rams left 50 yards and a touchdown on the table. Had the Rams not drawn penalty flags, they likely win the game against the Jets. Even more so, Cam Akers would have claimed his second consecutive game with over 100 yards.
This one is for Cam
The Rams flatlined an incredible opportunity to win a game, lock in for the playoffs, and propel their rookie running back to a significant achievement for the season. Instead, the Rams are still facing elimination from the playoffs, Cam Akers’ heroics of running on a sprained ankle was all for naught, and the Rams must now find a way to defeat one of their most dangerous division rivals.
A logical knee-jerk reaction would project the Rams to fire into a heavy passing game against the Seahawks. But I expect that the Rams will work the running game hard to keep the Seattle defense second-guessing the entire game. After all, the longer the Rams have the ball on offense, the more rest for their defense, and the fewer opportunities the Seahawks offense has to score.
No, neither I nor the LA Rams can go back and change a game already in the NFL’s history books. But the Rams can borrow a bit of the courage from rookie running back Cam Akers for inspiration for this week’s challenge. If he can score on a bum leg, then surely the Rams’ other offensive weapons can do so on two healthy legs.