5 Takeaways from Rams’ Christmas day stampede of the Denver Broncos

Dec 25, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (3) celebrates his touchdown scored against the Denver Broncos during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 25, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (3) celebrates his touchdown scored against the Denver Broncos during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Oh, what fun it is to ride to an LA Rams victory on Christmas day, eh? Yesterday throughout the open-air SoFi Stadium, the Christmas spirit was apparent. The Denver Broncos were in a giving mood, and the Rams were gifting their fans with the best Christmas present they could ask for.

The LA Rams played the role of the grinch for Denver, spoiling the Broncos’ Christmas with a 51-14 beatdown. This was a complete team win in all phases of the game. Rams’ punter Riley Dixon didn’t punt the ball once, and the team rolled to 51 points thanks to four turnovers from the defense and excellent days from Rams RB Cam Akers and TE Tyler Higbee.

So what do you make of it? Some scrooges have already weighed in and discounted the Rams’ success by berating their competition. Sorry, Grinch, but the Broncos’ defense remains one of the most feared in the NFL. Did you notice the 50-burger on the scoreboard? Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Rams’ joyous Christmas day.

1.  Cam The Ram has a career day

Rams RB Cam Akers has quite the story this season. After seemingly falling from grace with this team and coaching staff and having “philosophical differences”, the writing was on the wall for Cam Akers’ departure from the Rams in late October.

After a three-game hiatus, however, Akers returned to the team and has looked good in action since doing so. Yesterday, Cam Akers had his best game as a Ram yet. Against a Denver Broncos defense that came into the match up top five in almost every statistical category, Akers simply had his way with them all day long. He carried the football 23 times for 118 yards while reaching paydirt a whopping three times.

This was the Rams’ first game this year with a 100-yard rusher which makes us wonder, where did this come from? Along with some better offensive line play down the stretch, Akers has shown off some improved vision and burst while it’s obvious that he is feeling a lot more confident in his game. He is seeing and hitting holes that he wasn’t earlier in the season, and as of late has been someone McVay can depend on to keep the offense rolling.

Akers’ early season struggles were certainly not a matter of talent. We will see if Cam can continue to roll and end his season off on a positive note. RB1 in 2023? Only time will tell.

2. Baker Mayfield’s efficient day

Rams QB Baker Mayfield has been nothing but impressive since arriving with the team three weeks ago. He has picked up the playbook quickly and even has a signature win under his belt. On Christmas day? Mayfield had perhaps the most efficient game of his career.

Baker went 24/28 with 230 yards and 2 touchdowns to Rams tight end Tyler Higbee. He showed tremendous poise all day, delivering timely strikes to eight different receivers during the game. He didn’t have to make any “wow” throws, but he did everything the Rams’ coaches needed of him.

Mayfield committed zero turnover-worthy plays on the day and cruised to the easiest win he’s had since leading the Oklahoma Sooners. He also finished second all-time in Rams single-game completion percentage, completing 85 percent of his passes on the afternoon.

Mayfield’s play so far has been impressive and encouraging, and you have to think he’s been happy with the way he’s played as well. Mayfield may be auditioning for a potential starting job in 2023, but the Rams would love it if he came back as the backup and potential successor to current Rams QB Matthew Stafford.

3. Rams LB Bobby Wagner has a big day against former QB

The biggest NFL Pro Bowl Games snub in 2022? Look no further than Rams MLB Bobby Wagner. Wagner has been nothing short of spectacular and elite this season. On Christmas day Wagner sacked and picked off his former teammate, Broncos QB Russell Wilson.

Wagner was a force on Sunday once again, picking up 8 tackles to go along with his interception and sack. He also had a tackle for loss on the day, making this a very merry Christmas for him. Wagner was flying around the field, seemingly swarming the Broncos and being near the ball on almost every snap.

Bobby eclipsed his career sack total, putting him at 6.0 so far on the year. This is Wagner’s first season with multiple sacks and interceptions since 2017 in Seattle. So, you tell me, think he’s still got it?

Wagner has been everything the Rams hoped for when they signed him in late March. He’s been a bonafide leader in the locker room, earning the captain patch his first year in horns. Rams HC Sean McVay recently said that Wagner is a player whom he learns from more than he teaches. He’s shown no signs of slowing up and you have to think the Rams will claw to get back into contention in ’23 so Wagner’s efforts get the recognition, and winning, he deserves.

4. Cobie Durant, budding star?

The LA Rams’ secondary has been in flux all season, with many different guys being inserted into the starting lineup. Rams rookie CB Derion Kendrick was inserted into the lineup earlier in the year, while fellow Rams rookie DB Cobie Durant was out nursing a hamstring injury.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article naming three Rams who needed a bigger role for the rest of the season, with Cobie Durant being one of them. For the foreseeable future, I don’t think we see a Rams defense without the talented rookie on the field.

Cobie Durant was bad Santa yesterday, stealing two of the Broncos’ gifts and taking the latter all the way back to the Rams’ house. He hauled in two interceptions and put the game away with his 85-yard pick-six off Broncos QB Brett Rypien, helping the Rams put up 51 points on the day.

Durant has seen limited action this season but has made his presence felt without a doubt. He has only been targeted 13 times this year but has 3 interceptions and leads the NFL in interception return yardage with 151. He’s good. Real good.

Cobie will almost certainly be featured as a starter for the rest of the season and heading into 2023. With current Rams CB Troy Hill an unrestricted free agent after the season, Durant could and should very well be CB2 next year.

5. A record-breaking day for Rams TE Tyler Higbee

Over the course of his career, Rams TE Tyler Higbee has been respectable and consistent. This year? It’s been up and down. However, there’s no better day to remind fans of your importance to this team than Christmas. The best Christmas present of all? Higbee may have just become the greatest tight end in Rams history.

Yesterday at SoFi stadium, Higbee had a monster day. He caught 9 balls on 11 targets, racking up 94 yards and seeing the end zone twice. With this performance, Higbee put himself above any tight end in the history of this franchise. He became the franchise leader in catches, yards, and touchdowns for the position.

Higbee’s record-breaking day helped propel the Rams to a big win as he had easily his best game of the season. Once again, Higbee has put up a 50+ catch, 500+ yard season. He doesn’t have all the accolades, but he has been reliable for this team during his tenure and Sunday’s game is no different. Higbee seems to be developing a rapport with Rams QB Baker Mayfield, and he will look to build on this performance for the last two games.

The Rams may need to extend Higbee at season’s end and make sure he finishes his career in horns.

Trending. Another December to remember for LA Rams TE Tyler Higbee?. light