Did LA Rams QB Wolford do enough to earn a second start?
By Bret Stuter
The production of a quarterback is the part we are all familiar with, the stats. The rote mathematical calculations of met expectations. Yardage, accuracy, points scored are all easily tracked at the game’s conclusion. While there is certainly room for improvement, the optics in this game were clearly outstanding for Wolford’s debut. After all, the Rams won the game, achieved 21 first downs, were effective on six out of 15 third down plays, many of which were third and long. And the team even managed to go one for one on a fourth down attempt.
Wolford was 22 of 38 for 223 yards passing, and rushed six times for 56 yards. To no true surprise, he was most effective when throwing the ball to his rookie teammates. He completed four of four passes to running back Cam Akers for 52 yards, and four of eight passes to wide receiver Van Jefferson for 50 yards.
The efficiency of a quarterback is the measure of how well he performed under duress. That includes third and fourth down efficiency, red zone efficiency, and other forms of measure of how well the Rams handled the pressure. This one was a mixed bag. When the Rams faced a third and long, there was no sense of panic either on the field or from viewing. The Rams seemed to have answers for what defenses were doing.
Of course, the offense needs to do a much better job of scoring touchdowns. Receivers, as we have pointed out in the past, struggled to catch balls that were in their hands. And perhaps it was due to a bum ankle, but running back Cam Akers was not effective in the running game. So had this game fallen completely upon Wolford’s shoulders, it may have ended badly for the Rams.
With a little help…
Thankfully, the defense would not let that happen. Thanks to an 84-yard touchdown off an interception, and a well timed safety, the LA Rams defense put up nine points, more than the Arizona Cardinals. In fact, that interception likely took at least three points off the board from the Cardinals. Even the special teams got into the act, blocking a field goal, covering punts extremely well, and scoring on three field goal attempts and an extra point.
Yes folks, the LA Rams are Stayin’ Alive. Jared Goff’s thumb is clearly going to be sore and make gripping a football difficult this Saturday. Wolford remained poised and lucid in this first NFL start. And for his efforts, John Wolford should remain the Rams starting quarterback.