3 surprise discoveries revealed during the LA Rams opening win

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

II: Rams defense will face dink and dunk offenses

We know how NFL offenses will try to defeat the Rams in 2021. The same way that the Green Bay Packers defeated the LA Rams in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs a year ago.  That damnable dink and dunk offense. Fans were dismayed, disappointed, and some even shocked to watch Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery put up over 100 yards against this Rams defense.

Still, that was no different than the Green Bay Packers, who rushed 36 times for 188 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams. In that game, the Packers averaged 5.2 yards-per-carry. The Packers threw 23 of 36 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears followed that same offensive script, rushing 26 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns. In the Sunday Night Football game, the Bears averaged an identical 5.2 yards-per-carry.  Their passing game attempted a similar game plan, throwing 29 of 40 passes for 188 yards and one interception.

That strategy works to counter the Rams game plan in two ways. First and foremost, controlling the clock keeps the Rams’ offense off the field and therefore prevents their ability to strike suddenly. Secondly, running short-yard high-percentage offense chips away at the defense, and forces the Rams to take chances.  That in turn creates openings for the opposing offense to attempt the big play.

The Bears QB Andy Dalton is no Aaron Rodgers, and it showed in this one. But was it Dalton’s shortcomings or the Rams defense that held the Bears to 14 points in this one? We likely won’t know that until week three, when the LA Rams face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their quarterback Tom Brady.