What McVay, Rams’ offense need to do to knock off Saints

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams come into this week as losers of three straight games. That means that the Rams have sunken to the bottom of the NFC West and have quite an uphill climb. After their week ten loss to the Arizona Cardinals 27-17, the Rams now have a 1-3 division record, and only have two divisional games remaining against the Seattle Seahawks.

These LA Rams (3-6) are three games under .500 for the first time in the six years under head coach Sean McVay. The season so far has been an absolute disappointment, and with losing their star wide receiver and reigning triple crown winner Cooper Kupp, it looks like things are going from bad to worse.

In week 11, the Rams take a trip to the Caesars Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints (3-7). This is the first time the Rams are visiting the Superdome since that unbelievable NFC Championship game in the 2018-19 season, where the Rams won in overtime 26-23 to advance to Super Bowl 53. The vast play every Rams and Saints fan remembers is the non-defensive pass interference call on then-Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman against then-Saints wide receiver TommyLee Lewis in the fourth quarter with under 2 minutes to play.

Some believe that the no-call changed history as the Rams faced the New England Patriots instead of the Saints. The call was so bad, and there was so much outrage from the city of New Orleans that the NFL put in a rule to have pass interference reviewable the following year.

Those turn of events add a little more to the showdown this Sunday, but the past is in the past, and this week the LA Rams need to find a way to win if they want any chance of making a run in the second half of the year. But what do the Rams and McVay’s offense need to do in this match-up to come out of New Orleans with a win? Well, I think it is a pretty simple question and answer.

McVay needs to establish the running game.

There is no secret that the Rams have the worst rushing attack in the NFL. As a whole, the LA offense is 31st in yards per game (282.7), 29th in points (16.4), and last in yards rushing (68.1) which is just not up to par. Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr. is the leading rusher on the team, with only a total of 274 rushing yards on the year, which is ranked 51st in the league.

LA Rams head coach Sean McVay is the one to look at as he has not gotten the running game going this season, only rushing the ball as a team191 total times for only 3.2 yards a carry.  Not only are the Rams last in rushing yards, but they have attempted the fewest rushing attempts with just 191 runs.  Making matters worse, only 155 rushes have been attempted by the team’s running backs. That means that the entire LA Rams running back room has rushed fewer than five individual NFL running backs.

And the Rams really need to run to keep pressure off returning Rams veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford:

Stafford is expected to play this week after returning from his concussion, per Ian Rapoport (above), which is good news for the Rams’ offense.

A Kupp of sobering facts

Still, he won’t have his number one target, Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, to throw to. This week, we learned that Kupp has been placed on the IR roster after having ankle surgery on Wednesday.

Without having Kupp, McVay needs to figure out how to establish the running game. Even if they get down in the game, or the rushing yards aren’t pilling up as McVay wants, he needs to keep the Saints’ defense honest. The Saints’ defense gave up 217 rushing yards in their week ten loss to Pittsburgh, so they are vulnerable to the run.

The Rams need to try and replicate that. Running back Cam Akers had six carries for 22 rushing yards last week. Added to that, Rams rookie RB Kyren Williams returned from injury to carry the football once for a nine-yard gain.

If Coach McVay can have a combination of the three running backs, including Henderson, maybe they will start having more success. From here on out, the Rams need to be a run-first offense, starting this week at New Orleans.

Trending. 3 Rams that need a bigger role in remaining games. light