The Los Angeles Rams finally snapped their three-game losing streak and did it in convincing fashion as they blew out the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-7 in Week 14.
The Rams looked much more like themselves as the defense was able to force turnovers while Matthew Stafford and the offense were able to move the ball almost at will. Stafford had a clean outing throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions, but the story of the game was the change in the backfield as Sony Michel held lead-back duties in place of a hobbled Darrell Henderson.
Michel had by far and away his best game for Los Angeles as he racked up 121 rushing yards and a touchdown on 24 carries to go along with three receptions for eight yards. According to MJ Hurley of Sports Illustrated, Henderson could have played if needed but McVay was more than happy to roll with Michel:
“You know, we had him up, if some circumstances presented themselves. Hopefully, he’ll take steps in the right direction,” McVay said following his team’s 37-7 victory. “But based on how the game unfolded, we didn’t feel like we really needed him, but I think it’s a really positive reflection on Darrell to be available for his teammates if that situation did come up.”
McVay also gave Michel a ton of praise for his big day, which resulted in a Rams running back rushing for more than 100 yards for the first time this season:
“Sony really carrying the load did an outstanding job just like I thought he would,” McVay said. “I thought it was good to be able to mix up a lot of different personnel groupings, really utilize all hands-on deck. It was good to get Joe Noteboom in there. Sony was great. That was exactly what we had talked about and it was good to see it come to life.”
Henderson has been banged up for most of the 2021 season, and those ailments could explain why he has struggled carrying the football in recent weeks. However, Michel was able to come in and keep the Rams on schedule by earning solid chunks of yardage on early-down situations.
The Jaguars are a subpar rushing defense, though it should not take away from the fact that McVay seemed intent on establishing the run game with Michel. Los Angeles spent a lot of time in 12-personnel and even ran a few jumbo sets with an extra lineman to assert themselves on the ground, another sign that McVay could be adjusting his offensive philosophy down the stretch.
It remains to be seen whether or not Michel will continue to operate as the lead back, though he should at least get one more week to truly take the role.