Five ways the LA Rams strategy failed to deliver in 2020
By Jay Blucher
2. Ignoring the running game again
The LA Rams lost some games in the NFL season where the offense appeared to run well and pass poorly. And by the final score, the Rams had passed far more often than run the ball. In fact, the LA Rams dominated the New England Patriots by running the ball right at them, something many believed the Rams could do against opponents throughout the year.
Why did they abandon it so often, much to their detriment? Even as quarterback Jared Goff had games where he struggled, and yes he did struggle at times, the offense seemed determined to continue passing the ball. It was frustrating to watch a game that seemed to be filled with play-calling to another game. When running plays are getting first downs, why switch to a passing play?
The Rams seemed to learn a lot about themselves in December 2019, when they were forced to use a two tight-end offense. While that is not McVay’s ‘style’, the transformation was very effective. Tight end Tyler Higbee was on fire, catching 522 yards in just five games. And the Rams were able to run the ball behind the added blocking of two tight ends.
So when the Rams experienced similar games in 2020, their choice was to go with an empty backfield. Even after the Rams won decisively by running the ball down the belly of the New England Patriots, the Rams seemed to abandon the run at times. Was the McVay-Goff relationship fractured early in the 2020 season? Was he trying some version of NFL’s ‘tough love’? Otherwise, McVay simply was oblivious to what was happening on the field, and simply continued to call plays that he liked.