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Rams Lose Their Focus and Their Game

December 9th, 2018 · No Comments · Football, Los Angeles Rams, NFL

That was ugly.

Chicago Bears 15, Los Angeles Rams 6, and can anyone remember when, two weeks ago, seemingly rational NFL fans thought the Rams were headed for the Super Bowl?

That was after the 54-51 touchdown-a-thon victory by the Rams over the Kansas City Chiefs in a collision of the league’s only 9-1 teams. That shoot-out precipitated a sort of mindless enthusiasm not seen around the Los Angeles edition of this franchise since Super Bowl 14 in 1980.

In that K.C. game, Rams quarterback Jared Goff passed for 379 and and four touchdowns.

And two games later … Goff threw four interceptions and the Rams failed to score a touchdown.

What happened?

–The Rams started fast and clinched the NFC West division after 12 games, and we could predict a sag in their performance with that preliminary goal accomplished. Well, there it was.

–The Rams played a cold-weather game out of doors, in Chicago, and they brought back memories of the 1970s L.A. Rams teams that couldn’t nail down home-field advantage and lost in frigid weather in the playoffs.That is, they have a long history of failing out of doors in December.

–Goff has lost his edge. The guy who threw 27 touchdown passes and seven interceptions through Game 11, chucked four interceptions tonight, alone.

–The QB demonstrated, again, he doesn’t like pressure, doesn’t always feel it coming and stands in the pocket too long.

–The Rams seem to have abandoned a significant fraction of their offense the past season-plus — the “jet” sweep running plays by receivers and/or fakes off that motion.

–Todd Gurley barely looks like a competent running back after being the league’s offensive MVP a year ago. Is he hurt? Maybe so. But he is not making big plays as a carrier or as a catcher.

The Rams have three games left — home to Philadelphia, who beat them in the Coliseum a year ago, away to the Arizona Cardinals, home to the San Francisco 49ers.

Certainly, 32-year-old Rams coach Sean McVay has time to install some new wrinkles into the game plan, because the Bears (and the Detroit Lions, last week) seemed to be a step ahead of him all along. But has McVay already shown all his best moves? Has the league caught on to the team that was 4-12 in 2016?

Some slippage can be expected after a club clinches a playoffs berth early. The tricky part is regaining the initiative. The Rams have three weeks to do so.




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