When the LA Rams acquired veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions in the 2021 NFL offseason, there were some expectations that the Rams have yet to deliver for the veteran quarterback. But rather than go over a litany of checklist items, there is only one item that matters. A ground game.
Before Matthew Stafford switched teams, the LA Rams were the 10th-ranked rushing offense in 2020 with 126.1 yards per game and 1.2 touchdowns per game. Conversely, the Detroit Lions held the 30th-ranked rushing offense, running for just 93.7 yards per game and 1.0 touchdowns per game.
In 2021, the teams flipped. The LA Rams were the 25th-ranked rushing offense with 99.0 yards per game and 0.59 touchdowns per game. Conversely, the Detroit Lions held the 19th-ranked rushing offense, running for just 110.9 yards per game and 0.71 touchdowns per game.
Rams like Lions? He has a point, you know
Fast forward to 2022, and the LA Rams are the 29th-ranked rushing offense with 72.3 yards per game and 1.0 touchdowns per game. Conversely, the Detroit Lions are the sixth-ranked rushing offense, running for 164.0 yards per game and 1.75 rushing touchdowns per game.
It’s no wonder Turf Show Times JB Scott compared the LA Rams to the Detroit Lions in a late September article. Since the trade, the Detroit Lions rushing attack has skyrocketed, and the LA Rams’ ground game has plummeted. At some point, unless this is corrected, success will follow along in the same manner.
I, for one, do not want to explain it to this guy:
He left the inept rushing offense from the Detroit Lions in 2020, only to find it happening to him all over again in 2021 and 2022.
Gotta gain yards via a ground game
The LA Rams have to do a better job of gaining yards on the ground. Not just for some ambiguous ‘balance’ to help out the feel for the team. This has gotten to the point where the Rams’ offense is truly out of balance, and that has affected the offense, defense, time of possession, and a host of other things that this team needs to accomplish to win on a regular basis.
Without a strong running game, the LA Rams’ passing options will be limited to short and intermediate routes. That takes away one of the Rams’ most dangerous offensive options, the long ball that can quickly put points on the scoreboard.
But without an explosive offense, the Rams will be forced to do the very thing that LA Rams head coach Sean McVay detests – dink and dunk and try to be patient by moving the chains. Steady short gains require a running game to execute, which the Rams have not found in the past two seasons with any regularity.
The LA Rams’ defense has been built to protect leads and cause turnovers. The Rams’ offense has been built to put points on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, neither will happen until the Rams force defenses to commit to stopping their run.
It’s not window dressing. It’s not a move to make Fantasy Football team owners happy. The LA Rams truly need to find some way to run the football and do so with regularity. That won’t be easy to do against the San Francisco 49ers. But if not now, then when?
Matthew Stafford can perform among the Top-3 NFL quarterbacks on an almost annual basis, but he has yet to enjoy a strong running game that would allow him to pick his spots. Instead, the Rams’ offense has piled far too much pressure on Stafford to make pinpoint throws week in and week out.
The LA Rams owe QB Matthew Stafford a running game. It’s time to pay up.