How lightning struck twice on the LA Rams offense in 2023, and what it all means

Los Angeles Rams, Mike LaFleur
Los Angeles Rams, Mike LaFleur / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The LA Rams last season with a 1000+ rushing yards running back and a 1000+ receiving yards wide receiver was 2018. In that year, the LA Rams boasted RB Todd Gurley, who ran 256 times in 14 games for 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns. That same year, the Rams offense boasted two receivers with 1200+ receiving yards: WR Robert Woods caught 86 of 130 passes for 1,219 receiving yards and six touchdowns, as well as WR Brandin Cooks, who caught 80 of 117 passes for 1,204 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

The Rams would be able to gain yardage through the air each season. But churning out the rushing yards proved to be a far more difficult and elusive task. Well, until 2023 that is.

The LA Rams have a genetic need to run the football. It's obvious that if you look over the history of the Rams franchise, the team has a long line of elite running backs who churned out plenty of yards on the ground for the team. If you check out one of our All-Time historical articles about the Los Angeles Rams: 15 greatest running backs of all-time, you may be surprised at the names of running backs who made their fame in horns.

And we may be adding a new name to the list very shortly in the future:

The LA Rams have certainly found a keeper in second-year running back Kyren Williams. In just 12 games, Williams has rushed 228 times for 1,144 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Through it all, he also has added 32 receptions for 206 yards and three receiving touchdowns. That's not bad for a second-year player who struggled to stay on the football field in his rookie season. But the wonders do not stop there.

Rookie WR Puka Nacua has caught 101 of 154 targets in 2023 for 1,445 receiving yards and five touchdowns this year. That places Nacua just three receptions shy of the NFL All-Time Rookie Receptions Record held by Jaylen Waddle of 104 receptions set in 2021. He is also just 28 receiving yards shy of the NFL All-Time Rookie Receiving Yards Record set by Bill Groman in 1960 with the Houston Oilers of 1,473 receiving yards.

While he is not having a par season, LA Rams WR Cooper Kupp has racked up 737 receiving yards and five touchdowns in just 12 games this year.

So far, that only translates into numbers. But let's pivot to the LA Rams offense, and what challenges a full arsenal of offensive plays mean to opposing defenses. Since the Rams Week 10 BYE, the LA Rams are 6-1, and nearly 7-0 if not for a fluke punt return by the Baltimore Ravens in overtime. That is the impact of RB Kyren Williams and what he brings to the Rams offense.

The Rams offense sputtered through the first nine games of the season. But now, the Rams offense is the seventh-ranked group in terms of yards gained, and the eighth-ranked group in terms of points scored. Considering that the NFL Playoffs include the Top-14 NFL teams, the Rams offense is right in the thick of things.

But the most recent games from the Rams has found the offense scoring just under 30 points a game, and doing so against some of the stingiest defenses in the NFL. That is the result of the Rams offense discovering an ability to gain yards and score on the ground as easily and effectively as through the air.

The Rams need to do both to have any chance of success in postseason competition. Did lightning strike twice on the LA Rams offense in 2023? We are about to find out, as the NFL Playoffs are only a matter of days away.