Hobbled LA Rams secondary helps team break alarming trend

Mandatory Credit: Joe Rondone-Arizona RepublicNfl Rams At Cardinals
Mandatory Credit: Joe Rondone-Arizona RepublicNfl Rams At Cardinals /

The LA Rams had to fight against oppressive heat, dubious penalties, a determined opponent, and a rash of injuries that have impacted their offensive line, their wide receivers, their outside linebackers, and the secondary. The team faced all that in their Week 3 game. But the greatest challenge was beating themselves.

Rather, the Rams had to find a way to stop the madness of their first two games, while negating the momentum of the Arizona Cardinals. In the first two games this season, the LA Rams had been outscored 45-10 in the second half. Their opponent, the Cardinals, had the opposite experience, outscoring their opponents in the second half 36-21.

As the teams headed for the locker room at halftime in this one, the LA Rams were clinging to a 13-6 lead.  If the trend in the first two games held, the Rams had a good chance of coming out on the short end of the score in this one.

LA Rams roster upheaval sets the stage for a change of tactics

This was a brutal game for the LA Rams. Before the contest, the LA Rams had made a series of multiple roster transactions each day, removing injured and suspended players, and replacing them with healthy and new players. That alone placed the Rams in a very vulnerable position to compete in Week 3.

But this was a Rams team that has been cursed with an ineffective rushing attack in the first two games of the season. And entering Week 3, the Rams’ secondary was without starting DB Troy Hill (IR), backup DB Cobie Durant (inactive, groin), DB Jordan Fuller (Hamstring), and slot DB David Long Jr. (hamstring).

The Rams knew that the Arizona Cardinals’ defense would dedicate two defensive backs to stop LA Rams Cooper Kupp.  But this time, the Rams were ready for that strategy and unleashed Kupp in the running game to score the game’s first touchdown on a 20-yard jet sweep.

In the second half, it was RB Cam Akers’ turn to carry the football. Although he committed an ill-timed fumble on the one-yard line, he ran hard as he gained 61 yards on just 12 carries, including a rushing touchdown. It was the first game since his 2021 injury where he truly appeared to be explosive once more.

The LA Rams defense gave up 365 total yards of offense to the Arizona Cardinals, and 295 yards from their passing offense. But the LA Rams held on defense, holding the Cardinals’ high-octane offense to just four field goals on the day. The secondary was the most impressive, with the Rams holding Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray to 37 of 58 passing and getting two sacks on him for a loss of 19 yards.

The Rams allowed Murray to complete 14 of 17 passes to Marquise Brown for 140 yards in the game. But the Rams did not allow the Cardinals to score any touchdowns, a huge victory for a secondary that was stitched together just this week.

The Rams won a game that they needed to win. Now? The team has a chance to regroup, heal a little, and prepare to face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4.

20. 51. 12. 32. Final

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