Rams finale wrapup: Akers, Higbee hit targets, Bobby Wagner falls short

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

Before the final game of the 2022 NFL season, the LA Rams had a number of players who had performance incentives for the final game. Some were pride related, some were financial-related, some were record related, and some were merely to stake a claim to larger roles in 2023, whether for the LA Rams or some other NFL team.

The season is over. Whether you are glued to the latest NFL rumors, which right now are going bonkers over the future of Rams head coach Sean McVay, pondering which NFL teams will fire their head coaches on Monday after the NFL season ends – also known as Black Monday, or simply pivoting to the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, you have plenty of news, data, and information to sort through.

But even now, with the LA Rams season all over but the shouting, we have some business to review. Who performed well enough to achieve their goals in that overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and who fell short? Let’s review:

Who knew? 4 Rams with strong repercussions from the season finale

Player I – Tight end Tyler Higbee needed 13 receiving yards to trigger a $125,000 incentive for reaching 600 receiving yards. He eeked over the mark to end up the season with 620 receiving yards and three touchdowns, Statistically, this was his runner-up career high, with 620 yards falling second to his 2019 NFL season of 734 yards and three touchdowns.

Player II – Running back Cam Akers may not have had any financial incentives to finish the 2022 NFL season strong, but you can bet that he is very happy with the way he finished the season. Three consecutive games at 100+ yards have not happened for the LA Rams since prime Todd Gurley rushed for 100+ yards in four consecutive games. That all but cemented Akers in place as the featured rusher in 2023, and may modify the Rams draft plans to deemphasize adding an additional rusher before Day 3.

Cam Akers finishes the 2022 NFL season with 3 100+ yard games. light. Hot

Player III – Defensive lineman / outside linebacker Michael Hoecht needed to finish the 2022 NFL season strong, and he did. In the final game, Hoecht recorded five tackles, including one quarterback sack. That upped his annual total to 31 tackles and 4.5 quarterback sacks on the season, a very impressive mark for an outside linebacker who cross-trained mid-season and really played only seven games on the edge. He also has laid claim to a significant rotational role for the 2023 NFL season, if not an outright start on the edge opposite veteran Leonard Floyd.

Player IV – Inside linebacker Bobby Wagner needed 10 tackles to set the LA Rams All-Time Single Season tackle total held by James Laurinaitis in 2011, and tied in 2012, at 142. Wagner recorded seven tackles, which falls just shy of the mark of 140 tackles on the season. But pairing that with ILB Ernest Jones’s 114 tackles, the Rams have arguably one of the best ILB tandems in the NFL right now.

There are many other players who showed up in either positive or less-than-impressive ways to finish out the season for the LA Rams season, and we can discuss them over the next several days.

In the end, the LA Rams fell once more in a game that was winnable. If the Green Bay Packers win, all the game held was the Rams holding their draft position, and the Seattle Seahawks slipping with their draft position. If not, then the LA Rams failed to deny the Seahawks a berth in the NFL Playoffs.

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