Will LA Rams second-half curse foil any Week 5 comeback?

Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports /

A Tutu Atwell reception? A 75-yard touchdown strike by WR Cooper Kupp? A fake punt by punter Riley Dixon resulted in a 12-yard pass reception that succeeded in moving the chains. But after all the flashes, bells, and whistles, the LA Rams trail at halftime.

And now for the bad news. The Dallas Cowboys get the ball in the second half.  But even worse, the Rams have been anything but a second-half team this season.

The LA Rams have been outscored by their opponent 61-20 in just four games so far this season. But if you investigate further, the bogey so far is the LA Rams’ fourth quarter.  In four fourth-quarters so far this season, the LA Rams are getting blown out by a score of 44-3. To make matters worse, the Rams have been playing from behind in two of those games, and still managed to put up just three points.

What is making the team so . . . fatigued?

There are several theories as to why that is, and none of them are particularly too promising for the LA Rams’ chances in this one. Let’s run down the list

Rams not running the football

Once more, the Rams have passed 25 times and rushed 13 times, against a team that plays the pass well and struggles to defend the Rams.  As far as the Rams, the offense has once more surrendered a touchdown with a strip sack. A second blocked punt for Riley Dixon set up a Dallas Cowboys field goal.

The Rams needed to establish the run in this one, but they have not done so. Now, having fallen behind, the Rams’ offense is almost certain to abandon any vestige of running offense and pass almost exclusively to Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, and Ben Skowronek.

The Rams run too many plays through too few players

So far, in 38 offensive plays, the Rams have passed 25 times. Six passes have targetted TE Tyler Higbee, five passes have targetted WR Cooper Kupp, and five passes have targetted WR Ben Skowronek. The LA Rams have run the football 13 times in this one.

With no running game, the Rams’ defense gets tired quickly and the opponent’s offense has plenty of chances to regroup.

Meanwhile, the Rams’ coaching staff’s ability to adapt to their opponent’s efforts appears to be incredibly opaque. The Rams come out in the second half and just . . . nothing.  The Rams have yet to take possession of the football, but we can almost guess what they’ll do. Pass a lot and target Kupp, Higbee, and Skowronek.

Rams opponents pin their ears back and focus on rushing the passer

The Rams insist upon passing, and once more that strategy has come back to bite them. Even as everyone on the planet knew that the Cowboys’ defense would pin their ears back and come after quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Rams opted to pass three straight times in their first offensive series.

Pass one – Short completion to the left to Cooper Kupp for a three-yard gain.
Pass two – Another short completion to the left to Cooper Kupp for a six-yard gain.
Pass three – Quarterback Matthew Stafford dropped back to pass. Cowboys defensive end Dorance Armstrong beat Rams left tackle Joe Noteboom and recorded a strip sack of Stafford. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence scooped up the loose football and carried it in for a touchdown.

The Rams need to do more fake punts, run the football, and do anything that breaks their predictability. But that won’t happen. The chances of coming back in the second half feel a bit out of reach. The Rams insist upon doing the same things that got them here. And more than likely will emerge with the same disappointing results.

Early in the third quarter

19. 123. 10. 51.

6-step track to ensuring an LA Rams victory for Week 5. light. Must Read