Let’s give ’em something to talk about
The LA Rams came into this one with a solid game plan, as they frequently do. But much as we had discussed in the past, the plan cannot anticipate the adjustments that good defenses, like the Chicago Bears defense, will make on the fly. And you could see that unfold in this one. The early attempts to run the ball were ineffective. The Bears defense was crowding the line of scrimmage, forcing Stafford to take his shots.
Hoo boy. Did Stafford take his shots? You betcha’. He was able to throw deep for a touchdown, and then just deep enough to move the chains and place the LA Rams into field-goal range twice more. That ability to move the ball and score despite the defense’s stiff resistance to moving the ball downfield is a new and critical ingredient to this offense. By halftime, the team had reason to be pleased, but also reason enough to be concerned.
But in the second half, after the Rams coaches had a chance to catch their breath and adjust, the Rams put up three touchdowns, showed a much stronger ability to run with the ball, and the defense was able to stiffen up against both the run and the pass as well.
By games end, the Bears passed for just 188 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception, and Dalton was sacked three times for 28 yards lost. The Bears ran effectively, rushing 26 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Matthew Stafford passed 20 of 26 times for 321 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and was sacked once for nine yards.
The Rams involved six receivers in the passing game, getting a touchdown reception from three different receivers. Cooper Kupp led the Rams with 108 yards receiving in this one. In the running game, the Rams showed marked improvement in the second half, when running out the clock was crucial. The Rams rushed 23 times for 74 yards.
The LA Rams did what they needed to do. This offense had touchdown passes of 67 yards and 58 yards. Defenses that hope to keep this offense in check will now need to defend the length of the football field, as well as sideline to sideline. The talk of the NFL will no longer be about Sean McVay’s offense. Now, it will be how Matthew Stafford plays in Sean McVay’s offense. The Matthew Stafford era of the LA Rams history has begun. And this was just the first game. It will get better from here.