LA Rams special teams digs first half hole, Stafford digs ’em out
Special teams can win games, and they can lose games. The LA Rams special teams have been more of the latter than the former. Of course, there are few teams that can expect to face both an onside kick and a fake punt in the first half. The problem of course is that the Rams failed in both, allowing the Detroit Lions to regain possession, move the chains, and ultimately score a field goal to extend the lead to 10-0.
It’s not just the obvious plays. The Rams kickoff return unit has been a bit mystifying, as rookie Ben Skowronek has returned two from the end zone, but both returns have fallen shy of the 25-yard line. Bad choices that have placed the Rams offense deep in their own territory.
The LA Rams have been down in this game by scores of 10-0 and 13-3. That lead has been a direct result of the Rams special teams’ performance. Little things like falling on an onside kick. Covering a receiver on a punt. The little things that the young Rams roster forgets so easily in the heat of a football game.
Offense and defense holding their own
The Rams surrendering points on defense will reinforce the perception that the defense is playing poorly. But they are not playing poorly. The Rams allowed one screenplay to score on an all-out blitz. Since then, despite the turnover and the fake punt, the defense has held the Lions to just six points.
Meanwhile, the Rams offense has not been in their quick-strike mode. The Rams are taking what the Lions’ defense is giving them, which is plenty of passing yards. The Rams have been moving the ball but in normal doses. Of course, the story is not complete until you mention the fact that Matthew Stafford is driving the Rams offense. He is 17 of 26 for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
The Rams took the lead on a gorgeous two-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp.
With less than two minutes, the Lions drove down the field put up a field goal. The Rams go into the locker room with a one-point lead. The Rams need to come out guns blazing in the second half. The Lions are down by one, but they have more tricks up their sleeve.
At halftime in Week 7, the score is: