The LA Rams love to pass
Defenses know that the LA Rams love to throw it. But come on? How realistic is it to expect a stitched-together offensive line that has third-string players facing off against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL to hold their blocks?
NFL analysts can see that QB Matthew Stafford has no time to throw, and is making passes under duress, and that has led to his getting sacked 21 times this year, seven interceptions, and two fumbles lost.
So why are the LA Rams passing two out of three plays? Why pass so often when the past two defenses excel at defending the pass and at sacking the quarterback? Is it that the LA Rams’ offense cannot change their offensive scheme? Or is it that the LA Rams won’t change their offensive scheme?
Reframing the Rams’ misdirected offensive strategy
Let’s place the LA Rams’ offensive strategy into focus. The Rams have played the Buffalo Bills (4th-ranked passing defense), the San Francisco 49ers (3rd-ranked passing defense), and the Dallas Cowboys (7th-ranked passing defense) this season. Against each defense, the Rams passed the football over 40 times.
So is it merely that the Rams love to pass the football? Against the Arizona Cardinals (21st-ranked passing defense) and the Atlanta Falcons (29th-ranked passing defense), the Rams passed the football 25 times and 36 times respectively.
Now, here’s the kicker. The Rams rushed 18 times against the Bills (2nd-ranked rushing defense), 26 times against the Falcons (17-ranked rushing defense), 20 times against the Cardinals (5th-ranked rushing defense), 18 times against the 49ers (1st-ranked rushing defense), and 15 times against the Cowboys (19th-ranked rushing defense). The Rams’ offensive strategy so far this season has been to emphasize what their opponent is best at defending. Hmm . . .
Rams have plenty of unused options gathering dust on the shelves
What about trying to run the football against weaker run defenses, and passing against weaker pass defenses? Seems like a sound tactic, doesn’t it? The Carolina Panthers’ defense is quite susceptible to a good rushing offense. So, in keeping with the Rams’ offensive strategy this week, is it safe to say that Matthew Stafford will pass 40+ attempts again, while the Rams will rush the football 15 times or less?
Some say that the Rams cannot run with the football. But evidence suggests that the team can run, but won’t do the work to turn it around. The Rams have plenty of options to commit to the run. And by running the football more, the number of quarterback sacks and pressures drops automatically.
The Rams could go with two tight ends and add more blocking. The Rams could change up the runners asked to carry the football. The Rams could task WR Ben Skowronek to serve as a blocking back.
I don’t know what the answer truly is, and I’m not sure that anyone can know at this point. But I do know that the Rams need to start attempting some of their untested options on offense. The blame game fixes nothing. The Rams have to accept that passing 40+ times and rushing fewer than 20 times in a game is not the answer. It’s time to try running the ball more and do so with a different running back until the team finds one who can gain yards consistently.
We all know that the LA Rams cannot win games this way. But if the goal is to run the football, isn’t it time to just run the football?