If you are anything like me, then the thrill of seeing the LA Rams run the ball decisively and effectively to open the second half against the Arizona Cardinals was enough to get you sitting on the edge of your seat. Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of watching the LA Rams is that belief that committing to the run game could cure what has afflicted this team in their three losses.
Whether it was stupid penalties, subjective interpretation of the rules by the officials, the inability of a fatigued defense to make a huge stop, turnovers, sacks, untimely injures, and more, the temptation to replace the reality of what is happening in the LA Rams games with what should have happened if the Rams had only run the football more is just too much to bear.
And yet, there on my television screen, my fondest hopes and my greatest fears were taking place at the same time. The LA Rams, the Coach Sean McVay iteration of the LA Rams, ran eight consecutive plays to open the second halve against their NFC West Division rivals, the Arizona Cardinals, in a game in which the LA Rams trailed by a score of 9-6.
The Rams would score on a touchdown pass to Rams veteran wide receiver Cooper Kupp to take the lead, and would never look back the rest of the way.
Oh, what might have been
So why was there such mixed emotions? Well, the excitement was simply the thrill of something I have been lobbying for since OTAs were finally happening. The 'Ground Chuck' chapter of the LA Rams offense was back, if only for a glorious series of plays, and it felt oh-so-good to be vindicated.
But there was also a blend of fear. Fear that in those previous 'Wudda, Cudda, Shudda,' scenarios where I wanted the Rams to run the football, that perhaps I was correct. Perhaps the 3-3 Rams may have stood on a record of 4-2, or even 5-1, if the Rams had trusted the run just a wee bit more.
Still, you have to take what life throws at you, and trust that the lessons learned are not just 'Aha!' moments, but that those lessons learned help to steer towards a purpose. Perhaps all of this is necessary to compel the LA Rams to trust running the football going forward.
We are not alone in wanted more Rams running
In the post-game wrap-ups, there is always something to learn about the Rams whether it's a win or a loss. But the post-game discussions held between D'Marco Farr, J.B. Long, and LA Rams head coach Sean McVay were by far some of the most interesting and entertaining discussions of the young season.
Apparently, the LA Rams were all too familiar with former veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth signalling to the sidelines with a spin of his finger (also used in theatrics by a director to signal actors to pick up the tempo) to indicate to the coaches that the offense needed to keep running the football.
We have argued that offensive linemen, especially when they get into a groove, prefer to run the ball because it gives them the edge of initiating contact with defenders to move them backwards and out of the way. While Andrew Whitworth is no longer in pads blocking for the LA Rams, his former teammate, right tackle Rob Havenstein still plays. And he made his intentions very clear to the Rams sideline that he wanted to keep running the football:
Was that the difference? Did RT Rob Havenstein's hand gestures to the sidelines prove to be the deciding factor that kept the Rams offensive drive committed to running the football? Of was that simply a sidebar detail that confirmed what the Rams coaches had already decided?
We may never know the answer. But we do know that the Rams' offense and defense leveled up in Week 6 after the Rams' offense began to run the football. Do the Rams need more proof? Or has the matter been settled? I suppose that we'll find out in Week 7.