The LA Rams knew that their Week 6 game against the Arizona Cardinals was fraught with perils. If they did not not that before the opening kickoff, they certainly learned in quickly enough. The Rams ran once, their first play from scrimmage, which resulted in a gain by RB Kyren Williams of five yards. That was all the Rams would try to run in their first 11 offensive plays of the football game.
The Rams would not run the football again until their third possession, on second down and six yards to go. RB Ronnie Rivers would gain one yard. The next play? Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked, forcing a second punt.
After three possessions, the Rams would have had the football just 6:19. The Arizona Cardinals held the football for 16:32, and had possession of the football five times. The Rams turned the ball over on a punt, fumbling the ball as soon as PR Austin Trammell hauled it in. The Rams held the Cardinals offense to two field goals,.
But the Rams really didn't trust the run, again. And it doing so, allowed the Cardinals defense to sense the rhythm of offense, and then the pass rush began to take over. Even when the Rams did gain five yards and a first down, the play was ultimately called back on a holding penalty.
Rams offense cannot continue like this and hope to win
Just for comparisons sake, and acknowledging that the Cardinals did not have the benefit of featured running back James Conner, the Cardinals had run 19 times in the first half. The Rams offense only had run 14 total offensive plays in the first half.
That's the strategic advantage of using the ground game as a key component of the offensive game planning. In the first half, here is how it all broke down:
- Time Of Possession: Cardinals- 20:548 Rams - 9:02
- # possessions: Cardinals - 7 Rams - 5
- # plays: Cardinals - 42 Rams - 20
- Offensive yards: Cardinals - 166 Rams - 123
- # runs: Cardinals - 24 Rams - 3
- Rushing yards: Cardinals - 103 Rams - 5
- Sacks surrendered: Cardinals 1 (-13) Rams 2 (-16)
If this holds, there will be plenty of fans who will be dissatisfied with the LA Rams' defensive effort. But the Rams' defense is doing all of the heavy lifting once more. The Rams have a very winnable game in Week 6, and the defense is doing the work. The Rams cannot take this game lightly, and so far the evidence suggests that the offense may have done exactly that.
The Rams do get the football to open up the second half. But the Rams continue to be ultra-predictable. There is no surprise when the Rams go empty backfield any longer. Defenses are all very well prepared for that.
There is a half to go in this one. Let's hope the Rams offense wakes up. Or at least, learns to run the football a bit more consistently