For the first eight games of the season, the LA Rams had done a fine job protecting veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. The offensive line allowed just four sacks, the best performance in the NFL to that point. Safe in the pocket meant that Stafford had the time to carve up defenses almost at will. And that is what he did.
But Stafford experienced back problems before the Week 9 contest hosting the Tennessee Titans and limited his ability to practice with the team to just Friday. And then, the Rams offense put on the worst performance of the season. To top that off, that Titans defensive line put tremendous pressure on Stafford, sacking him five times in just one game.
And then Stafford suffered an ankle sprain that punctuated the offensive woes with an exclamation point.
As much as the LA Rams have worked around ensuring other players remain healthy, they seem to have thrown all of that out the window in Week 9. The question now becomes, will they abandon countermeasures in their Week 10 contest with their NFC West nemesis the San Francisco 49ers.
One of the downsides of the entire quarterback exchange with the Detroit Lions was the fact that the Rams were acquiring a veteran quarterback with game-changing skills. While any replacement of former quarterback Jared Goff was not a steep drop in production, the Rams have nobody backing up Stafford who is even in the same neighborhood.
Until now, the Rams offensive line appeared to be up to the challenge. Now? There are reasons for doubt.