Where to duct tape the team after this loss?
The Rams will not have much time to like their wounds after this one. They play on Thursday Night Football on the road to take on the Seattle Seahawks (2-2). So what do the Rams need to do to have a chance of winning?
Fix those turnovers. An interception led to a touchdown. A fumble led to a touchdown. Those scores changed the entire complexion of this game. Had the Rams not turned the ball over and simply punted the ball away, 14 Cardinals points come off the board. That would have made the halftime score 13-10 in favor of the Rams, and kept this game within reach.
The second priority is to fix that run defense. Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson is having one helluva season, and the Seahawks are likely already scheming an offensive game plan to use tight ends Will Dissly and Gerald Everett as primary targets in the passing game, and use their blocking to run at will against this Rams shaky run defense. It’s an obvious game plan. Hopefully, the Rams are not too confident in their team to diagnose their own weaknesses and plan accordingly.
Finally, the Rams have got to reroute their passing game as soon as they witness what the defense is trying to do. But for goodness sakes, stick with what works. The Rams were running very effectively in this one, 13 times for 78 yards by halftime. They ended the game with 21 yards rushing for 121 yards. The Cardinals’ defense was as soft against the run as expected. But as was the case before, the Rams fail to stick with the run if it’s working.
As we feared in our Tread Carefully article, we pointed out the pitfall that the Rams fell into in this one:
"“Still, there is that ‘hype’ factor. The LA Rams are 3-0. The Arizona Cardinals are 3-0. And yet the media is beginning to ask those questions that always seem to be a precursor to a rude awakening. Is this the year of Matthew Stafford earning the MVP award? Is this the year that the LA Rams win a Super Bowl? Matthew Stafford has won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week twice in three games. Cooper Kupp has won the NFL Offensive Player of the Month. Earned awards? Yes. But they also serve to motivate divisional rivals who either feel slighted or who use those distinctions to measure themselves. No need to wave flags in front of a bull."
The flags waved feverishly in front of the bull in this one. Too much so it seems.
Put the enthusiasm back on the shelf, Lock the over-confidence back up in the hall closet. Find that intense urgency once more, and place it as the centerpiece where all can see it. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to 7-5 in 2020 before turning everything around and winning their last eight games to win Super Bowl LV. The Rams are 3-1.
There is still time. As long as the team finds that intense urgency once more.