Bad II: Rams fixate too much on one or two players
As soon as the LA Rams realized that Cooper Kupp was going to be smothered like a blanket in this game, they should have rerouted the offense through Van Jefferson or Robert Woods. Why was that so impossible to do? It seemed pretty obvious to me in our pregame analysis.
The Rams have done very well for themselves in the past by throwing to receivers that are less effectively covered in a game. Sometimes that means Cooper Kupp is the hero. Sometimes it means that Robert Woods is the hero. It could even mean that DeSean Jackson, Van Jefferson, or Tyler Higee are the hero. But so far this year? Robert Woods is not getting touches.
Robert Woods has been neglected in this offense. In four games, he has been targeted 25 times. Cooper Kupp has been thrown to nearly twice as often. That is good for padding Kupp’s stats. It’s not very good when trying to move the ball down the field effectively.
But when the opposing defense commits to taking Kupp out of the game as the Cardinals did in this one, it’s downright foolish. There were other options, other receivers. The Rams found Van Jefferson and Woods for touchdowns. The Rams failed to deploy much of their 12 man package. In the end, the LA Rams pretty much did exactly what the Arizona Cardinals expected them to do.
The disturbing part of all of this? Neither Sean McVay nor Matthew Stafford realized it or did anything about it until the game was lost.