Crazy Claim III: The LA Rams will rush for over 120 yards and 1+ TDs
There are no bits of evidence to support this one, but that’s what makes this such a crazy claim, right? Well, let’s hold off on declaring this one as just shooting from the hip. For starters, the LA Rams’ biggest problem with the running backs has been the inability to keep them healthy.
Well, guess what? They are all healthy for Week 1. That means Jake Funk, Kyren Williams, Cam Akers, and Darrell Henderson Jr. are set for this one. While that may not mean much to many, it does to some fans who understand just how good healthy running backs can be in this offense. Let’s start with some basics.
In 2021, the LA Rams ground attack climbed to another level whenever athletic offensive lineman Coleman Shelton played. In 2020, with offensive lineman Joe Noteboom starting at left tackle, running back Cam Akers ripped off 171 rushing yards against the New England Patriots. Now, I’m not saying that Akers will gash the Bills’ defense for 170 yards. But the Rams’ offensive linemen, with less experience, were able to handle the task.
So what about the running backs? For Jake Funk, his role should be limited to special teams. For rookie Kyren Williams, I expect that the stage is a bit too big for his debut. Darrell Henderson, when healthy, is one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL. The Rams will simply need to figure out who the Rams will ask to carry the ball
That leaves just Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr. When the Rams faced the Bills in Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season, the Rams fell behind by a score of 21-3. But the team remained committed to running with the football, and Henderson delivered an inspiring 114 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries.
The Rams may distribute the workload between Akers and Henderson initially, but if either rusher gets hot, look for the Rams to direct the carries to the hot back. It may not be enough to force defenses to play eight in the box going forward, but the Rams will rush for better than 120 yards and will score at least one rushing touchdown.