LA Rams Sony Michel, my bell-cow, runs better the more he runs

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 3
LA Rams NewsDarrell Henderson
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Rams cannot rely on running Henderson

When the Rams established Darrell Henderson as the team’s featured running back, the offense unwittingly absorbed his workload limits. The Rams had to pick their spots to run the ball, and that inability to run a balanced offense was eventually deciphered by astute defensive coordinators who simply attacked Stafford with everything they had at their disposal.

The LA Rams managed Henderson’s workload to average about 15 carries per game. While that worked early, it was a weakness that would eventually hurt the Rams dearly. As teams began to detect the Rams’ reluctance to commit to the running game, they were more than happy to commit more resources to defend the pass. Eventually, the game of Russian Roulette that the Rams offense attempted blew up in the Rams’ face, leading to a three-game losing streak.

Just imagine if the LA Rams had rushed with the same commitment in Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans? The Rams rushed just 21 times to 48 passes. Stafford was sacked a bone-crushing five times in that loss. Oh, the Rams averaged 4.5 yards per rush. The following week, the Rams rushed 10 times to 41 passes for another loss, this time to the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams averaged 5.2 yards per rush in that one.

Must Read. LA Rams forecast for Week 16 vs. Vikings? Sony skies. light

Michel has recharged the Rams’ rushing

Finally, the Rams rushed 20 times to 38 passes in a loss to the Green Bay Packers. While the Rams only averaged 3.4 yards per rush, Sony Michel averaged 4.7 yards per rush.  But the team did not, would not, make the necessary changes to fix the problem. That is, not until the LA Rams had another injury to Darrell Henderson.  That forced the Rams to promote Sony Michel, and positive things began to happen.

Sony Michel’s production since his promotion to starter:

Week   4:  20 carries    67 yards
Week 13:  24 carries 121 yards 1 TD
Week 14:  20 carries   79 yards
Week 15:  18 carries   92 yards
Week 16:  27 carries 131 yards 1 TD

Totals:   109 carries  490 yards 2 TDs

That’s pretty good production for a running back. But it’s far far more for the LA Rams. The balance to the offense provided by an effective running game gives the Rams a multi-dimensional attack. The more things opposing offenses must stop, the more things will work for the Rams offense on game day.