Although the Los Angeles Rams managed to sweep the entire NFC East within the first five weeks of the 2020 NFL season, they lost their first divisional matchup against the shorthanded San Francisco 49ers in Week 6.
The Rams came out flat on both sides of the ball and allowed the 49ers to control the first half. While they did position themselves for a potential comeback, a few costly plays ultimately came back to haunt them in the 24-16 loss.
The loss to San Francisco was a rude awakening for fans expecting this team to take that next step. It has become clear that before L.A. can worry about potentially competing for a championship, they must first make it out of the gauntlet in the NFC West.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff acknowledged that none of the remaining divisional games are going to be a cakewalk, per Gary Klein of the L.A. Times:
“We’re in the best division in football and there’s a reason for it,” Goff said. “These guys are good. Arizona’s good. Seattle’s obviously undefeated. We’re a great team. So every time you play in this division it’s going to be a tough game.”
Goff added that his poor performance is not going to cut it in these crucial matchups:
“Clearly wasn’t at my best,” said Goff, who completed 19 of 38 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception. “Just some uncharacteristic stuff — missing some guys open there early. Something that I’ve never done in my life.”
Perhaps the most notable aspect of Goff’s struggles was his inability to get on the same page as wide receiver Cooper Kupp after he hauled in just three catches for 11 yards on nine targets. While going against a formidable 49ers defense was never going to be an easy task, it is one that head coach Sean McVay must figure out if they hope to get back on track in this tough division.
There were few silver linings to gather on the offensive side of the ball outside of an efficient outing for running back Darrell Henderson, who rushed for 88 yards on 14 carries. Meanwhile, the defense also struggled against the run by allowing 122 yards on the day.
The Rams have now come up short against the two teams with legitimate playoff aspirations in the Buffalo Bills and 49ers. They will need to make a statement versus the 5-1 Chicago Bears in Week 7.