Super Bowl hangovers are real and the 2022 LA Rams are experiencing a bad one. Through seven games this season they are 3-4, last year they were 6-1. The Rams’ failure to live up to expectations may seem confusing to some, but in reality, it is obvious.
The Rams had a weird offseason where they had to extend some guys while letting other talented guys walk. They wanted to keep their franchise guy, so they re-signed Matthew Stafford to a 4-year-$160 million deal. Stafford won them a Super Bowl, while he may have been tied for the league lead in interceptions, he played well in the playoffs to help them get that ring. They also gave Cooper Kupp, the triple crown winner, a 3-year-$80 million deal. While this may seem like a lot, it is definitely worth it for a guy who just lead the league in every receiving category. Kupp is a game-changer and it makes sense to give him that much money, he is a talent you do not want to lose out on.
The Rams also signed LB Bobby Wagner, WR Allen Robinson, and LT Joseph Noteboom to big deals hoping to add some more dynamic playmakers to the squad. All the moves they made this offseason will leave them with no money to play with in the future.
LA lost a bunch of key pieces as well. Von Miller, Darious Williams, and Odell Beckham left in Free Agency, Andrew Whitworth retired, and they traded Robert Woods to Tennesee. Von Miller was great in the playoffs, OBJ would have won Super Bowl MVP, and Williams and Woods were impact players. Clearly, losing all of these guys has meant more than we possibly could have imagined.
The Rams Lost Their Horns
The Rams have huge problems, some due to offseason losses, but others are just the players themselves. The first big issue is the offensive line. The Rams are currently thirtieth and seventeenth in pass and run blocking. Matthew Stafford has been pressured a lot, according to PFF, their offensive line has allowed 77 pressures in true pass sets. Stafford has the twenty-eighth-highest time to throw in the league at 2.56 seconds. This amount of pressure has made Stafford turn the ball over at horrific rates, in seven games he has eleven turnovers. Blocking is not the only reason for their passing struggles. Stafford has not been that great for them. He has the twenty-second-highest yards per attempt and is tied for ninth in turnover-worthy plays. Matthew has been dealing with an injury in his elbow for months so that might have to do with his drop-off, but either way, he is still bad right now.
Passing is not the team’s only issue. The Rams cannot run the ball to save their lives as they rank thirty-first in run grade and thirty-first in yards per game. Cam Akers and Darrel Henderson have not been doing anything to make the offense multi-dimensional and are current liabilities. The two backs have 3.0 and 3.9 YPC, which is just absolutely atrocious. Again though, the offensive line is not helping as the group ranks seventeenth in run block grade. The Rams’ offensive line really is their biggest problem on offense. The two backs have 1.3 and 2.6 yards before contact per attempt, Akers is fifty-third and Henderson is thirty-sixth.
Their offense is not the only issue, however. The Rams’ defense, which is supposed to be loaded, has not played up to expectations. The Rams are thirty-first in hurry percentage at 1.7% of plays & twenty-ninth in QB knockdown percentage at 4.9&. LA is also only middle of the pack in sack percentage at 6.8%. This pass rush, which features Hall of Famer Aaron Donald has not played well, nobody has over four sacks. Losing Von Miller really hurt the defense since he was such a game-changer last year. A team known for a good pass rush is falling off a cliff in that department, and it is a steep cliff.
Their pass defense has been good, and their grade is not great, but overall the stats are fine. They have the twelfth-best passing and seventh-best rushing defense in yards per game. Jalen Ramsey and Bobby Wagner have done their job leading the secondary and linebackers to stop the pass and run.
In reality, the Rams’ only real defensive issue is their terrible pass rush which is one of if not the most important aspects of defense. The pass rush sets up the secondary to cover down the field and the linebackers to read the quarterback in zone coverage. Not having that pass rush to set those things up will lead to teams just being able to grind out yards.
Moves That Have Not Worked Out
Some of their signings have not worked out for them so far. LT Joseph Noteboom tore his Achilles in mid-October and Allen Robinson has played horribly for the most part. Allen Robinson was supposed to replace Robert Woods and Odell but has only been able to get thirty-two yards per game. Bobby Wagner has been great though, he is the second-ranked linebacker on PFF at 83.0. C Brian Allen has not been great for the Rams either, who signed a 3-year deal this offseason. The moves that Les Snead made this offseason clearly have not worked out for the most part, and it is killing the team.
The Los Angeles Rams are not on the track to make the playoffs. The 49ers and Seahawks have looked a lot better than the Super Bowl Champions. The hangover is real and the Rams are suffering really badly from its consequences.
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