Can the LA Rams win in Week 5 without HC Sean McVay embracing the run?

So far in 2023, when the LA Rams run, the Rams win. But can the Rams win in Week 5 while still ignoring the run?
LA Rams Sean McVay
LA Rams Sean McVay / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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LA Rams, Rams News, Rams roster, Kyren Williams, Ronnie Rivers
LA Rams, Kyren Williams, Ronnie Rivers / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

It's the Chicken vs the Egg Paradox: Rams can't run or won't run?

When it comes down to the matter of how often the LA Rams run with the football, there is a huge impact on how individual games pan out. In essence, the LA Rams appear to be a fair weather rushing offense. It seems that the games that end with the Rams rushing often depend almost entirely upon how the scoring develops during the game.

While the Rams have a bias to pass first, that trend is overly exaggerated in games in which the Rams fall behind on the scoreboard, even if by a margin that is as small as three points. That was not only evident when the LA Rams faced their NFC West Division nemesis, the San Francisco 49ers, in Week 2, but it was also on display the following week when the Rams played against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3.

Coach McVay cannot trust the Rams running game

Of course, there are more reasons behind the Rams unwillingness to stick with the running attack. The Rams have a huge portion of running plays that are simply stopped for no gain or worse yet, for a loss. In any closely competitive game, that is a hard risk to accept, knowing that an early bad play in any offensives possession can change the dynamics of that possession, and can lead to a change of momentum in the entire game.

How bad is it for the Rams? Pretty bad, it seems:

But even that does not tell the entire tale. If the LA Rams stop all attempts to run with the football after a bad play or two, then the Rams percentage of zero or fewer yards goes up. What do I mean? Well, if the Rams rush 12 times in a game, but are stopped for no gain four times, then the percentable of zero yards is 33 percent. But if the Rams commit to the run, and rush 30 times yet get stuffed six times, that percentage of zero yard drops to 20 percent.

That appears to be part of the reason that the Rams abort the run. If the Rams struggle in a handful of runs, the offense flips the switch to pass almost exclusively for the remainder of the game. And that lack of running plays hurts the Rams ability to get proficient at running with the football, and escalates the opportunities for defenses to sack Matthew Stafford. Once the Rams begin to spiral out of control, the decisions made by the coaching staff seem to escalate and accelerate the problems.