The Los Angeles Rams saw their four-game winning streak come to an end in Week 9 when they lost to the Tennessee Titans, 28-16, at home on Sunday Night Football.
The game was never really close as the Rams struggled offensively throughout, allowing the Titans to get pressure on Matthew Stafford to force some bad throws.
L.A. also committed 12 penalties for 115 yards, which is the most in the Sean McVay era and something the head coach believes was ‘uncharacteristic’ of his team.
It’s worth noting that this is the first quality opponent the Rams have faced in a month coming off wins over the New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans. So maybe they had trouble getting up for this game.
Either way though, it was a lackluster and inexcusable performance for a team with Super Bowl aspirations and the Rams have now fallen further back in the standings at 7-2, behind the 8-1 Arizona Cardinals.
Too many mistakes
I’ll start with the mistakes that I already mentioned because that is the main reason the Rams lost this game. Stafford, who came into this game red-hot, had his worst game as a Ram by far, throwing two big interceptions in the first half, which accounted for 14 of Tennessee’s points and put the Rams in an early hole.
In addition to the turnovers, the 12 penalties were also back-breaking with many of them coming at rough times such as key third down plays. I will say that some of the calls were garbage, but I also think the Titans deserve a ton of credit for being the more physical team and forcing the Rams into those penalties.
I’ll cut the Rams a little bit of slack considering they came into this game as the least-penalized team in the NFL. Hopefully this is just a one-off and doesn’t become a trend because penalties and mistakes are not a recipe for winning against good teams in this league.
Offensive line falters for first time
While Stafford made some bad decisions and deserves criticism for it, I think it’s also worth pointing out that the Titans defensive line was in his face all night long.
The Rams’ offensive line came into this game as one of the most underrated units in the league with Stafford only being sacked seven times in the first seven weeks of the season. That total almost doubled in this game alone with him being sacked five times and hurried many more.
McVay made a bit of an adjustment to get Stafford rolling out of the pocket in the second half and it worked, but it was too little, too late with the Rams already trailing big.
It will be interesting to see if the Rams offensive line bounces back from this performance next week, but I’m not gonna lie, it was very worrisome considering the question marks we all had regarding the offensive line coming into this season.
Kupp continues historic pace
While Cooper Kupp had far from his best game, garbage time allowed him to finish with a statline of 11 receptions for 95 yards to continue his historic pace. Through nine games, Kupp has recorded 74 receptions for 1,019 yards and 10 touchdowns, all of which rank first in the league.
Defense played well
I guess the one positive to take away from this game was the play of the Rams’ defense as they were really solid and the only reason this wasn’t even more lopsided.
A few costly penalties turned a dominant performance by the Rams defense into a good one, but it’s still worth noting that they only allowed 16 first downs and 194 total yards on the night.
Jalen Ramsey was everywhere, recording another interception, while the Rams’ defensive line did a solid job of getting pressure on Ryan Tannehill to limit big plays.
With the potential addition of Von Miller as soon as next week, the Rams defense is in a really good spot right now.
Up next for Rams…
Speaking of next week, the Rams will not have time to sulk about this loss because they have a big game coming up when they travel to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.
The 49ers may not be that good this year, sitting at 3-5 after a Week 9 loss to the Kyler Murray-less Cardinals. But it’s no secret that they have had the Rams’ number, beating them four straight games, so L.A. should come into this one looking for revenge and looking to get back on track after the lackluster performance against the Titans.