How long has it been since an LA Rams running back put up a 100-yard game for a running back? Okay, I’ll give you a hint. It hasn’t happened yet before today in the 2021 NFL season. The last occasion was rookie running back Cam Akers putting up 131 rushing yards in the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks on January 9, 2021.
As far as the regular season? The last time the LA Rams enjoyed a 100-yard rushing effort was their December 10, 2020, thumping given to the New England Patriots, when rookie rusher Cam Akers put up 171 yards.
I’m not certain why it happens, but sometimes the coaching staff overthinks the basic fundamentals of football. If defenses target the quarterback and double up coverage, then it’s a simple matter to run the ball and make them pay the price. Today? The LA Rams rushed 27 times for 128 yards and a touchdown. While all that may not sound like much, it was huge.
Slow start offense again
The offense started slowly today. It was thanks to a kickoff return for 65 yards by Brandon Powell that set up the team’s first score, a 40-yard field goal. It was a forced fumble that gave the football back to the offense at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 27-yard line that set up the touchdown. Despite the LA Rams only generating 39 yards of offense, the team jumped out to a 10-0 lead.
The LA Rams offense sputtered at first. But thanks to the running game and getting out to a quick lead, it was enough to let the rest of the team catch up. By halftime, the Rams led by the score of 16-7.
Put the game on rewind and watch this one over and over. This was the LA Rams style of football that we’ve come to know and love under head coach Sean McVay. This was a team that played physical smash-mouth football. This team finally had answers to season-long questions. The offense controlled the clock. The defense remained rested. And the LA Rams won by a huge margin.
Lesson learned can be repeated next week too
Uh, wait a minute? This was the Jacksonville Jaguars. Can the LA Rams repeat this type of success by repeating a similar effort against the Arizona Cardinals? Why Not? The LA Rams committed two turnovers, lost the time of possession by a huge margin, but won penalties. The LA Rams rushed 23 times for 121 yards against the Cardinals, in spite of the fact that the offense could move the football easily on the ground, with a 5.3 yards per rush average.
If the Rams don’t turn over the football, but rather get two turnovers against the Arizona Cardinals? Then it’s the LA Rams who jump out to a 10 point lead, and the Arizona Cardinals that are forced to play from behind.
If you really want to throw the NFL Playoff projections into a tizzy, then root for an LA Rams win against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14. While that will do nothing to change playoff berths immediately, that will put both the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into the discussion for the top-seed in the NFC.
No, the LA Rams are not suddenly back on track. But they are running the football effectively, creating turnovers, and winning the time of possession. Perhaps most of all, this team finally looks like a team that will do what it takes to win once more.