At halftime in Week 6, the LA Rams had fallen into the same old pattern of dropping back to pass. And not very surprisingly, the Arizona Cardinals defense was well prepared for that strategy, limiting the Rams offense to just six points as the two teams appeared to be destined for a defensive struggle, one that I was not confident that the Rams would win by the final whistle.
It was so bad that I summarized the Rams' first-half offense in an article just to be sure that what I was seeing on the football field was how the statistics were playing out. It was pretty ugly at halftime. The Rams had only attempted three running plays for a total of five yards. And that paltry production has been used to rationalize why the Rams do not run the football.
But it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. It comes down to the Chicken versus the Egg Paradox. Do the Rams struggle to run with the football because the team cannot run effectively? Or does the fact that the team abandons the running game translate into an offense that is unable to run because they simply do not commit to run?
Rams loaded OL with club bouncers, then have them mopping the floors
Whether as a Rams fan, a blogger, or an amateur Rams football analyst, it is completely frustrating to wish beyond hope that the LA Rams would simply get mad enough to run the football down the defense's throat. For whatever reason, the Rams' front office committed to stockpiling big offensive linemen, added multiple blocking tight ends, and even grabbed a burly running back in the 2023 NFL Draft as well as a big-bodied runner in free agency.
And these are not small players. Rather, they are all big-bodied durable players who could be bouncers at nightclubs in the dodgiest parts of a city. But instead of using them to command a physical and dominating ground assault, the Rams have been content to run a dozen or so times, and hope that veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford can walk away from the carnage of opposing pass rushers teeing off on bringing him down.
It's a scenario that is best showcased from the 1984 popular movie Footloose. When Willard (played by Christopher Penn) is ambushed at the school prom, he doesn't fight back because he promised his date Rusty (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) that he wouldn't fight. After being knocked to the ground, the assailants attack Rusty. As she screams for Willard's help, he glares at her and implores:
"What do you want me to do, Rusty?"
To which she replies in a classic and memorable line:
"Kill the sonofabitch!"
I suppose that is how the LA Rams offensive linemen felt at halftime against the Arizona Cardinals. They were losing in the trenches, but were not given any chance to fight back.
Ah, but that is where this all gets fun. I don't know who stood up and spoke out, but if I know that answer I would be singing their praises. . The Rams were getting bullied throughout the first half of a very winnable football game, because the big burly bruising offensive linemen were trying to win a boxing match with one hand tied behind their backs. Just get up and kill somebody. Well, stay tuned, because that is exactly what the Rams did.