So long SoFi mystique
This game marked the LA Rams’ second loss of the season, but more importantly, second loss at home. That has plenty of playoff implications because the ultimate goal for the Rams this season is to compete in Super Bowl LVI and win in front of LA Rams fans at SoFi Stadium. Right now, the Rams are not showing anything close to home-field advantage.
The Tennessee Titans are clearly the best of the AFC right now. But as for the Rams? Well, they are certainly not the best of the NFC. Will that work to the team’s advantage? Well, for Titans’ head coach, Mike Vrabel, it certainly would. Vrabel has an uncanny ability to create the ‘Us versus the rest of the world’ mindset in his team for big games.
For LA Rams head coach Sean McVay, I saw a different side. There was the period of the game when the running game was very effective, and yet the team passed repeatedly in short yardage. It was a game where the defense dictated the Rams offense abandon the deep-threat, and stick to the short and intermediate routes. It was a game where the Rams offense did not have the right game plan for this one, and the team was unable to swap out a new effective game plan in time to salvage a badly needed win.
Before this one, the LA Rams were a fifth-seeded playoff team that happened to be a tie-breaker away from being considered the best team in the NFL. Now, the luster and shine are off, and the Rams are a fifth-seeded playoff team hoping to cling to a playoff spot. But take heart. At 7-5, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the 2020 NFL season by beating up on four bad teams. They used that positive momentum to win their next four games all the way through Super Bowl LV.
It’s not who you beat. It only matters that you win and advance. For the Rams, their final four games include hosting the Seattle Seahawks, at the Minnesota Vikings, at the Baltimore Ravens, and finally home to host the San Francisco 49ers. Even now, the Rams could win all four of those games and enter the playoffs with the same momentum that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers displayed a year ago.
Consider Week 9 a serious wake-up call. What matters now is whether the LA Rams wake up.