While the LA Rams are two wins in two games, the fact is that the two games were completely different contests in many ways. In the first game, the team was surrounded by the cheering fans of SoFi Stadium. The stage was Sunday Night Football, the prime time game that boasts not only a national audience but rather also included the rest of the NFL tuning in to see what all the fuss was about.
It was the debut for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford in a Sean McVay offense. And yes, it delivered better than the brochure.
In stark contrast to the cozy prime-time season opener, the LA Rams had to travel on the road to Indianapolis, Indiana to take on the Colts. It was a game to be played in the Eastern Times Zone, which meant a 1:00 pm ET kickoff translated into a 10:00 am PT kickoff time, hardly past breakfast.
This one would not be easy, This was a game against a well-coached team that had been defeated by an offense that played a very similar style to that of the Rams just one week earlier. But most of all, this time the Rams would face a team that had a much better idea of what to expect.
The Rams were as far in the lead at one point in the game as 11 points and were as far behind as four points. But they came back. It was a gutsy performance from the Rams, a team that seemed to struggle to find a way to overtake adversity in the past, ran past and through it today.
It was a game where starting inside linebacker Kenny Young was ejected for making contact with the hat of a referee. It was a game where running back Darrell Henderson was injured and would not return. It was a game where outside linebacker Justin Lawler, called up from the practice squad for the second time, would break his hand. But it was a game that the LA Rams would win.
Rams stat No. 1: Rams offense improved, defense nearly the same
In some ways, this is a very familiar team. In other ways, this is a new team altogether. The Rams have been very efficient in the passing game. Matthew Stafford has completed 39 of 56 passes for 599 yards, five touchdowns, and just one interception.
The Rams offense has improved scoring to 30.5 points per game in 2021 from 23.3 points in 2020. That is better than a touchdown per game better. So how bad is the defense? The Rams defense has regressed from a league-leading 18.5 points per game allowed to allowing 19.0 points per game, only good enough for eighth place. That’s just one-half of one point worse. The LA Rams defense is better than many give them credit for.
Still, it’s two games. Just two games. The Rams have two wins now and need at least nine more to have a shot at a playoff berth. To win the NFC West Division, the Rams will likely need 11 more wins. It’s a good start to a very long journey. But patterns are beginning to form. Some are so uncanny that it is almost unbelievable.