The LA Rams lost another winnable game in Week 5. Does losing a winnable game inspire you? Or does losing a winnable game frustrate you? If if frustrates you, then you are going to be frustrated this season.
After an ugly loss in week 5 to the Philadelphia Eagles, the LA Rams fell to a record of 2-3. That puts them in third place in the NFC West. By all accounts, that game appeared winnable for the LA Rams but a number of factors prevented the Rams from coming away with an upset victory.
Unfortunately, they are the same factors that will likely continue to cost the Rams wins moving forward this season unless some changes are made at the coaching and personnel level. Now, I do not want to end this article on a bad note, so I will start with the ugly and work towards the good.
Week 5 Takeaways
There was a lot to talk about here, and dividing the bad from the ugly was tough. There is no point in trying to sugar coat things, so let's just jump right into it:
Pass Rush, or lack thereof
Let's just call it like it is. The Rams pass rush is non-existent and has been throughout the majority of the season. Sure they have benefitted from a few pressures here and there and have logged a few sacks here and there, but it has been nothing short of a failure overall.
In fact, the Rams rank 27th in the league with only 8.0 total sacks, three sacks above last place. This failure to put pressure on the opposing teams' quarterbacks results in the Rams defensive backs tiring themselves out on extended plays. That leaves too many opportunities for opposing wide receivers to get open as was demonstrated this week.
That also allows opposing quarterbacks to sit back all day in the pocket. There were times when Eagles QB Jalen Hurts had between 5-7 seconds in the pocket to find his open receiver. That usually translated into a completion to Eagles TE Dallas Goedert or WR A.J. Brown. The Rams only logged two QB hits and one QB sack this week while the Eagles offense had their way through the air passing for 303 yards with a TD at an average of 8 yards per attempt.
Inability to contain Jalen Hurts
The Rams' inability to get pressure on Eagles QB Jalen Hurts was not the only issue they had, but the ability to contain him as well. Too many times, Hurts was able to scramble around for huge gains, oftentimes on third down and long scenarios. Hurts ran for a total of 72 yards and a TD while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. To put things in perspective, he had more yards per carry than both Eagles running back D'Andre Swift and Rams running back Kyren Williams.
Additionally, Hurts scrambled for not one, not two, but three first downs on third downs of 7 or greater yards to go. One of these 3rd and longs came at the hand of a designed QB Draw play. If the Rams can't pressure or contain opposing quarterbacks, they will be in for a very long season,
Opposing 3rd down conversions
I imagine you found yourselves yelling every time the Eagles converted a third down the same way I was towards the end of the game. Every time it seemed the Rams had the Eagles right where they wanted them, the Eagles found a way to keep the drive alive. The Eagles converted 13 out of 18 times on third down or 72 percent of the time.
They had an average of four yards to go on third down but don't let that fool you. The Eagles converted twice from a distance of 5 yards to go and 5 times from 5+ yards to go. As mentioned before, 3 of these conversions came from the legs of Jalen Hurts as well, as he converted a 3rd and 7 and two 3rd and 9's using only his legs. The Rams are in for a very long season if they continue this trend of failing to make stops on third down.
Abandoning the run
Once again we fell witness to LA Rams Head Coach Sean McVay abandoning the run game. The Rams had 14 total carries on the ground this week with eight of them coming in the first half. The remaining six carries came in the second half. But the Rams saved one of those carries for the last 60 seconds of the game on a 3rd down and 10 yards to go. What I continue to not understand is why Coach McVay does not like to run the ball. Rams running backs were averaging 4.1 yards per carry so it's not like he was being stuffed consistently. In fact, in a previous article before the game, it was mentioned that the Rams might not win without embracing the run.
This is starting to sound like a broken record, isn't it? The lack of depth on the line did not have much of an impact in this game overall, but it was once again demonstrated on the final play of the game. In the play prior, Rams RT Rob Havenstein had to exit the game for a play because his helmet came off during the current play.
The misstep came at a critical time because it led to a fourth down for the Rams, their last chance to potentially keep the possession and the game alive. What came next was a completely missed block and an immediate sack of Rams QB Matthew Stafford which put the dagger into the LA Rams' hopes of a comeback. While the chance of winning was already fading, I still felt it was worth mentioning the lack of depth in this area continues to exist.