The LA Rams defense earned their Week 2 victory

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s never an easy task to clean up the mistakes of others, but when a player signs up to play for these LA Rams, that is part of the job description.  This LA Rams defense has created seven turnovers in just two weeks. Seven. The only problem? The LA Rams’ offense has turned the ball over six times.

Who is creating turnovers on the defense? In Week 2, defensive lineman Aaron Donald recovered a fumble to seal the win. Rookie defensive back Cobie Durant picked off one pass. Veteran defensive back Jalen Ramsey picked off another.

One week ago, it was OLB Justin Hollins and OLB Leonard Floyd who recovered fumbles. And it was OLB Terrell Lewis and DB Troy Hill who got interceptions.

Offsetting those gifts is Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who had thrown for 512 yards and four touchdowns in two games, but who has been sacked eight times and thrown five interceptions already. The other offensive turnover? WR Cooper Kupp’s ill-timed fumble nearly placed the Rams in an unenviable hole at 0-2.

Stafford is on a (wrong) record-setting pace

As it is, the LA Rams are currently on pace to record 60 turnovers in one season. On the other hand, Matthew Stafford is on pace to toss 43 interceptions this year. While that is a dubious honor, it would break the current NFL record of 42 intercepted passes thrown by Houston Oilers quarterback George Blanda.

What about the defense? The Rams’ current pace of 60 forced turnovers is enormous, but will still fall short of the 1961 Denver Broncos, who forced an incredible 68 turnovers in just 14 games. If the LA Rams continue their current rate of pilfering, this defense could wind up among the Top-3 NFL Defenses at forced turnovers.

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris is getting some incredible production out of the defense. Of the 58 points surrendered by the team so far, 17 points are directly attributable to offensive turnovers. Another eight points are a direct result of special teams allowing a blocked punt for a touchdown and a subsequent two-point conversion.

The LA Rams offense is addicted to throwing at Kupp/Higbee

The Rams’ defense had to take the field on their own 32-yard line with 3:32 remaining on the clock and clinging to a six-point lead thanks to a fumble. That series ended with the interception by Jalen Ramsey to put the ball back in the offense’s hands at the 23-yard line with just over a minute to play. The Rams worked the clock down and took a safety to prevent another blocked punt.

With six seconds left, Rams OLB Justin Hollins sacked Atlanta Falcons QB Marcus Mariota, forced a fumble, and DL Aaron Donald recovered the fumble to seal the win.

The Rams are nowhere near top form. Matthew Stafford has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. It’s no surprise because the Rams’ offense throws to the same receivers:

Player                                   Week 1  Tgts            Week 2 Tgts       Total
Cooper Kupp                         15                                  14                        29
Tyler Higbee                          11                                   9                         20
Ben Skowronek                       6                                   3                           9
Darrell Henderson Jr.             5                                    0                          5
Allen Robinson                        2                                    5                          7
Brandon Powell                      1                                    1                           2
Tutu Atwell                               1                                    0                           1
Cam Akers                                 0                                   3                           3

The Rams’ offense was much more creative in Week 2. The Rams used multiple backs in their offensive formations against the Falcons, which resulted not only in better protection for Stafford but in opening up the offense a bit more.  The Rams put up nearly 100 yards of additional offense in Week 2.

But the mistakes are sapping the winds of success right out of the Rams’ sails. Six turnovers in two weeks’ time are enough to bury the Rams at 0-2.

Thankfully, the opportunistic Rams defense found the way to shut the door in this one. But the Rams’ offense must fix things quickly because the team cannot rely upon the defense to bail them out every week.

Hot. Deja Vu? Did the LA Rams dismiss the wrong punter(s)?. light