LA Rams run defense is stout, but not enough against Raiders rushers
The LA Rams rush defense is an anomaly among the NFL defenses this year. While other defenses are getting gashed by rushing offenses for 100, 200, and sometimes 300 yards of rushing, the LA Rams continue to be one of the stingiest run defenses in the NFL. The Rams allow an average of just 96.7 yards on the ground per game, which is the fourth-best run defense in the NFL. This Rams defense not only plays well in total but allows fewer than 4.0 yards per carry.
The Las Vegas Raiders offense loves to run the football. And why not? The Raiders have averaged 5.2 yards per carry, good enough to be the second-best rushing offense in the NFL. So you would be correct to expect something to give on Thursday Night Football as these two teams clash in front of the nation on Amazon Prime.
So far, it’s been a stalemate. The Raiders have scored on the ground and did so with the powerful runs of RB Josh Jacobs. But early in this one, the Rams have held the Raiders to nine rushes for 25 yards, an average of just 2.8 yards per carry.
Of course, with the Rams falling behind by seven points, the Raiders’ offensive playbook is wide open now, early in the game. And with this defense suffering from injuries as well, including All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald out, and run defender DL A’Shawn Robinson, the Rams are already up against it.
With 9:40 in the first quarter, the Rams defense has allowed 19 runs for 84 yards and one touchdown. But 33 of those yards have come from WR Mack Hollins finding plenty of running room on two end-around plays. RB Josh Jacobs has only rushed 14 times for 40 yards.
This may fall on the deaf ears of those who have been screaming for the LA Rams to fire DC Raheem Morris for two seasons, but that is substantially less than the Raiders have averaged so far this year, despite the fact that the defense is playing without key starters.