Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams had several opportunities to get a win against a high-level opponent in the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night. They held a 9-6 lead midway through the third quarter and allowed one touchdown the entire night from one of football’s most explosive offenses.
Stafford had an uneven performance with 269 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. But where the Rams struggles appeared most apparent was in the red zone. Two of their first three drives stalled within the 11-yard line of the Bengals, leading to field goals.
Had those been touchdowns, things could have looked very different for the Rams. And that’s what Stafford diagnosed as a major issue after the game, according to Jacob Benge of Associated Press:
“I think the biggest thing for us tonight was missed opportunities early in the game in the red zone,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “If we can come away with some sevens there it’s probably a little bit of a different game later on.”
Stafford also spoke about some of the frustration surrounding the offense struggling when the defense is playing perhaps their best game of the season thus far:
“You definitely want to be out there (when the) defense is playing as good as they’re playing, we’re staying in the game, got a chance to win it, nobody’s happy-go-lucky sitting over there on the sideline,” Stafford said. “Even when we’re not executing the way that we can, it’s everybody just pulling the same direction, trying to be as good as we can, try to get better and go from there.”
The Rams are going to, by design, be a bit of a mixed bag this season. Some games — like Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks — things are going to click and the Rams will look formidable. Other weeks, the team’s youth and inexperience will come out and the team may fall flat.
Head coach Sean McVay has focused heavily on learning experiences in the early part of this season, and Monday’s loss is another opportunity for the Rams to assess what they have and how they can maximize it moving forward.
Stetson Bennett doing well
McVay talked about backup quarterback Stetson Bennett, who is on the Reserve/NFI list for an undisclosed reason. He spoke to the former Georgia quarterback recently and reported back.
“I have, yeah and he’s doing really well, which I was really encouraged to be able to hear. I’m not really sure on a timetable with anything and so that’s been the good thing. I got a chance to hear his voice and he sounds really good and that was really cool to hear.”